Renewable energy development in the California desert. (Image credit: Bureau of Land Management via Flickr)


California is on track to reach 50% of their renewable energy goal ten years ahead of schedule, according to the California Public Utilities Commission RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) report, released back in November. The state’s primary utilities have already met (or are about to exceed) their renewable energy target of 33% by 2020 and is on track to hit their 2030 goal of 50% by 2020, far surpassing any other state in the union.


The big three utilities- Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (SDG&E), all surpassed the 25% requirement to meet the 2016 goal. The breakdown is as follows:

    -PG&E accounted for 32.9% of renewable energy produced electricity.

    -SCE accounted for 28.2% of renewable energy produced electricity.

    -SDG&E accounted for the highest with 43.2% of renewable energy produced electricity.


According to the RPS, all three companies predict they will meet or exceed their 2020 compliance goals before the target date, which is impressive considering the RPS program has also reduced the cost of renewables with solar falling 77% (from 2008 to 2016) and wind dropping by 47% (from 2007 to 2015). The state began their endeavor to ‘go green,’ requiring energy utilities to increase their use of renewables back in 2002. Current Governor Brown and former Governator Schwarzenegger ramped-up the initiative for cleaner energy over time, which led to the RPS program, with Brown touting California’s ability to “boost renewable power and lower emissions while growing it’s economy,” according to a November article by San Francisco Chronicle.


That being said, California’s emissions have been declining since 2008 and are expected to continue over the next few decades before the state’s electrical production comes from 100% renewable energy by 2045.


More states are embracing green energy alternatives over continued fossil fuel use, even in Red (Republican) states such as Kansas, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska. With California meeting their target goals at an exceptional rate, it will be interesting to see how many other states will ramp up their efforts in switching entirely over to renewables. This is news I like to hear.


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