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All-renewable power is a reachable goal for California

By in Press Enterprise on October 10, 2017

By Thomas D. Elias

Back in 2002, when California set its first statewide renewable energy goals, the petroleum industry and others said it would be impossible for 20 percent of all electricity to come from solar, wind, hydro power and other forms of green energy by 2017 — now. But that goal was achieved long ago, with the state now getting well over 25 percent of its energy from renewables, and far more on many days.

Then the goal was upped under former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to 33 percent by 2020, a mark that will easily be surpassed well in advance of the deadline. Again, that’s after industry said it would be impossible.

Now those same natural gas and oil interests claim a legislative bill setting a goal of 100 percent renewables by 2045 is unattainable. The bill was held up in committee last summer, but seems certain to be back in January’s new session.

This whole scenario is reminiscent of resistance steadily provided by carmakers as California gradually cut its automotive emission standards over the decades starting in the 1970s. Each time a new standard was proposed, General Motors, Ford, Toyota and others resisted, claiming they just couldn’t do it.

But they did it somehow, and in the process California and the world acquired a huge fleet of hybrid, electric and plug-in hybrid cars, cutting gasoline consumption and cleaning many thousands of tons of smog from the air.

There’s absolutely no reason to believe things will be any different in electricity generating than they have been with cars. Rather, there’s room for a lot of optimism.

For example, long before the deadline for 50 percent of power to come from green sources, California in May experienced several days when more than 60 percent of its electricity came from such places. This figure did not even include energy from […]    

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