California’s Bold, Unapologetic 100% Clean Energy Target: 4 Things to Know
Simply put I’m proud of California progress, especially in the light of rude and crude shade thrown by red hat / Trump people. I freely admit it’s a mixed bag, change always is. It sucked to need to buy a truck when you already had a horse drawn cart. Or pay for internet when phones had been good enough. Where I work a gas furnace is literally ruled out in 2020. A big one. The replacement would be an induction machine that is to say electric furnace. Big investment, and we may just reduce batch size and do certain things differently, perhaps less efficiently as a cost.
Despite what the fossil fuel industry would tell you, the targets have never been super ambitious. They’ve actually been quite conservative, just an increment above the trajectory utilities are already on. That’s why they’ve been so easy to meet.
But people who take this as a criticism of the program miss the point. California is steadily raising its floor, looking higher, moving in a consistent direction. That provides a stable, predictable long-term business environment, which draws innovators and market risk-takers. Market dynamism eats targets for breakfast.
In California, you can be quite confident that if you invent or design something that helps decarbonize electricity, it will find a market. That is the “regulatory certainty” Republicans claim to support (and are now destroying at the federal level). The way California got it is by electing lots and lots of Democrats.
It’s the beyond-60-percent target that’s interesting: It must be met with “zero-carbon resources.” Those include renewables (along with “baseload” renewables like geothermal and some biomass), but they also include large hydro, nuclear power, or natural gas with carbon capture and storage (CCS).