California Governor Gavin Newsom on May 25 released an update on the state’s clean energy progress and an implementation plan to reach future targets.
The original plan was released in July 2021. California established a policy in 2018 requiring 100% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable energy and zero-carbon resources by 2045. The plan released on May 25 marks the state’s progress toward that ultimate goal and identifies what is needed to reach 100% clean electricity by 2045.
California’s energy transition is well underway, with nearly 35,000 megawatts of renewable resources already serving the grid, and 9,000 MW of that capacity coming online in the last three years, the plan noted. To provide 100% clean electricity, current studies show California will need to build an additional 148,000 MW of clean energy resources by 2045.
The report notes that last year, California passed important regulatory reforms that will make it easier to build thousands of new MWs of clean electric generation. “The state has a comprehensive electric generation and energy storage procurement planning process and is making it easier to fast-track new clean energy projects.”
Energy efficiency and technology will also be critical, the plan said. Customers will have increased ability to voluntarily and automatically reduce electricity use to provide power back to the grid when demand is high. State incentives to harness the ‘smart’ capabilities of cars, household appliances, and other equipment will reduce strain on our electric grid and help customers reduce their electric costs.”
“Building a clean electric grid that supports widespread electrification of California’s economy starts with planning for future electricity demand that is growing and increasingly responsive to real-time electric supply conditions,” the plan said.
The California Public Utilities Commission implements programs designed to ensure the more than 40 electric retail sellers that serve 75% of the state’s electricity demand procure enough electricity generation resources to meet their share of the forecasted electricity demand.
These planning programs include the Integrated Resource Planning process, which identifies the optimal mix of new electric resources needed to meet the state’s clean electricity goals. These resources include energy storage.
Since 2019, the IRP process has resulted in the procurement of 18,800 MW of new, clean electricity generation and energy storage resources expected to come online through mid-decade.
The more than 40 publicly owned electric utilities also adhere to a similar IRP process that is managed by the California Energy Commission, the plan noted. “Through this process, the electric POUs outline strategies for achieving state goals at the least cost to customers, while maintaining electric service reliability. These IRPs are adopted by each utility’s governing board and submitted to the CEC every five years.”
Newsom in May also announced a new executive order and legislative package to streamline permitting and other regulations to ensure the state can build more clean energy projects faster.