California reaches 2020 renewable energy goal ahead of schedule

California reaches 2020 renewable energy goal ahead of schedule

By Liam Taylor  March 11th, 2019

The United States' biggest state in terms of population and economy is exceeding even its own lofty renewable energy targets.


The United States’ biggest state in terms of population and economy is exceeding even its own lofty renewable energy targets. Last month the California Energy Commission found that 34 percent of the state’s retail electricity was provided by renewable energy sources in 2018, passing the 33 percent target two years before the 2020 deadline.

The largest portion of renewable energy came from solar generation at almost 12 percent of all electricity, with other sources including wind, geothermal and biomass energy generators. Large hydroelectric facilities, which represent almost 15 percent of total electricity generation in the state, are not included in the calculation, making the result even more impressive. 

California is one of the most vulnerable states to climate change in the United States and has been assaulted by frequent extreme weather events in recent years. Between 2012 and 2016 the 'Golden State' experienced its worst drought in over a millennium, which only ended in 2017 with torrential rains that broke precipitation records.

The swift transition from drought resulted in numerous destructive mudslides while also creating the conditions that led to destructive and costly wildfires in both 2017 and 2018. Climate change is viewed as a primary contributor to the increasing frequency and intensity of these extreme weather events, with the past five years being the hottest recorded in the state’s history.

Last year State Senator Kevin de León’s SB 100 bill, which stipulates targets of 50% renewables by 2026, 60% by 2030, and 100% from “renewable energy resources and zero-carbon resources” by 2045, was passed by the senate. The bill built on previous policies that also set ambitious targets such as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2008 executive order and Governor Jerry Brown’s 2015 bill.


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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


By Liam Taylor

Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia. Joining the communications team at Planet Ark, he hopes to inspire positive environmental behaviour through effective and positive messaging.

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