California Looks to Double Green Energy Capacity, Cut Emissions by 2030
New solar and storage facilities—and no new gas plant approvals—are the cornerstones of California’s recently-released plan to drastically reduce emissions to just 46 megatonnes by 2030, and hit a 100% renewable energy target by 2045.
“California’s green energy fleet is to undergo a deep-reaching transformation in the space of a decade” under the new targets released late last month by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), reports PV-Tech.
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CPUC’s roadmap calls for 11 gigawatts of new utility-scale solar, “leading to a cumulative 25.9 GW,” while “storage battery systems must add a fresh 8.87 GW to reach a cumulative 12 GW” by 2030.
“The achievement of CPUC’s 25-GW target—effectively more than doubling California’s current installed green energy capacity—will rest on power providers, including investor-owned utilities such as the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), community choice aggregators, and others,” writes PV-Tech. These firms are being asked to draw up plans for how they will contribute to the move to zero-carbon, and the quality of their submissions will determine whether “California will work toward a green energy portfolio able to deliver the 46-megatonne target, or an even stricter 38-megatonne goal.”
This “new, decade-long renewable vision comes after years of turmoil in its energy sector,” writes PV-Tech—turmoil that came to a tragic head during the wildfires of late 2018, which left more than 100 people dead and PG&E filing for bankruptcy. The resulting “outage-driven ‘disaffection’ toward utilities has boosted citizen uptake of solar-plus-storage in California,” it adds. In 2019, the state “accounted for 49% of nationwide residential PV additions and installed more solar of any kind—at 3.12 GWdc—than any other U.S. state.”