California commits to 100% renewables & carbon-neutrality by 2045

California State Capitol, Sacramento (source: flickr/ David Fulmer, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 12 Sep 2018

If the new 100% renewable energy goal of the State of California will have an effect on geothermal energy development in the state will have to be seen, but it clearly provides an opportunity.

The state of California and its Governor, Jerry Brown have signed legislation, that will push the State to 100% renewable energy based electricity and carbon neutrality by 2045.

Senate Bill 100 is raising the states already ambitious renewable energy targets pushing for greenhouse gas emissions low enough so they can be absorbed by forests, oceans, soil and other natural systems.

While there are at least 20 countries and twice as many large cities having made similar pledges, California – the fifth largest economy in the world – is by far the biggest jurisdiction to do so to date.

“This bill and the executive order put California on a path to meet the goals of Paris and beyond,” Brown said at a signing ceremony in state capital Sacramento.

“It will not be easy. It will not be immediate. But it must be done.”

The energy sector represents around 16% of California’s greenhouse gas emissions and the state has set ambitious goals to slash greenhouse gas emissions 40 % by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

The new bill mandates that least 60% of electricity will have to come from renewable energy, especially solar and wind.

In 2017, the geothermal power generation capacity in California stood at 2,694 MW or about 3.4% of installed power generation capacity, producing 11,700 GWh of electricity or around 5.7% of all electricity generated in California.

This leaves the door open to carbon-neutral power generated by nuclear reactors, geothermal sources or even natural gas, if CO2 emissions are converted into fuel or syphoned off into secure storage underground, a technology known as carbon capture and storage.

How this will effect geothermal development in the country is so far unclear. A bill that would have supported geothermal development did not make it through the legislative process in this context.

Source: NBC News, the News

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