California approves goal for 100 percent renewable energy by 2045

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But Brown on Monday said moving toward a regional grid is essential to achieving California's new 100 percent clean energy goal without sending electric prices skyrocketing.

Calif., Gov. Jerry Brown, left, walks to a news conference where he signed SB100 an environmental bill authored by state Sen.

A new law in California sets a goal of phasing out all fossil fuels from the state's electricity system by the year 2045. Jerry Brown signed a bill Monday that aims to eliminate fossil fuel use for electricity by 2045 and serves as a rebuke to USA withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

This action comes days before grassroots activists, mayors, governors, heads of industry and worldwide leaders convene in San Francisco for the express objective of mobilizing climate action at the Global Climate Action Summit. "But it must be done", Brown said.

"This bill and the executive order put California on a path to meet the goals of Paris and beyond", Brown said at a signing ceremony in state capital Sacramento.

The Sierra Club, noting that California has the world's fifth largest economy, stated, "California is now the largest global economy to commit to 100 percent renewable energy". The summit aims to secure commitments from cities, states, provinces, countries and corporations to reduce greenhouse gases that the world's leading scientific organizations say are trapping heat in the atmosphere and warming the planet. Hawaii has adopted a similar goal.

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Under the newly signed bill, the state's RPS will be updated to require 50 percent renewables by 2026, increasing to 60 percent renewables by 2030.

Renewable energy experts have looked to batteries that can store solar energy generated in the afternoon as one solution, but the technology is not ready for wide-scale deployment.

"California must take a stand and tell the world we are, as always, undeterred by those who wish to stop our progress and move backwards", Schwarzenegger wrote.

"The state's other power plants, like natural gas and nuclear, aren't as flexible as they need to be to handle those ups and downs". Another potential solution is pumped storage, in which water is pumped uphill in the afternoon using solar energy and then released through hydroelectric generators after the sun sets. Kevin de León, a Los Angeles Democrat who carried SB 100, said. By 2045, all of the state's electricity must come from renewable or other zero-carbon sources.

The three largest investor-owned utilities collectively served 34.76 percent of their 2016 retail electricity sales with renewable power sources like wind, hydroelectricity, geothermal and bioenergy.

Emissions are falling. Since 2004, as renewable energy has boomed, California's greenhouse gas emissions have dropped by 13 percent, even as the economy has grown by 26 percent over the same time.

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