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Posts Tagged ‘California’

Will California Go Green or Go Gas?

When one of California’s two nuclear plants–the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station (SONGS)–unexpectedly closed last year because of damage to its steam tubes, many clean energy advocates including UCS hoped that the state would replace much of that electricity with generation from renewable resources, as well as increased investments in other carbon-free energy resources, such as energy efficiency, demand response, and energy storage devices. Unfortunately, plans are now in the works to replace most of the SONGS electricity with a new natural gas plant, without a process that gives clean energy resources a chance to compete. Read More

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Basking in the Rays of the Summer Solstice, California Positioned to Break Solar Generation Record

Since we are approaching the summer solstice (June 21), the longest day of the year and the official start of summer, I thought it was a good time to look at how longer days and more sunshine are translating into more clean electricity. The bottom line: solar is starting to pull its weight on the grid. Read More

Categories: Energy  

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Court Protects California’s Largest Program for Clean Energy Research and Development

California’s track record as a leader for developing cutting-edge clean energy and energy savings technologies was not created overnight.  For over a decade, a nominal charge on monthly electricity bills has funded research and development efforts to bring technologies to the marketplace that have helped Californians save electricity (and money on our electricity bills) and improve the ways in which we generate electricity from renewable energy resources to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Read More

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Which Electricity Source Will Best Weather the Drought in California?

The late-March storms in California gave the Sierra snowpack a belated boost, but the state is still bracing for dry times ahead. This was confirmed by the Department of Water Resource’s April 1 snow survey, one of the closest watched of the year because it marks the expected end of the wet season. Read More

Categories: Energy  

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Will Tesla be a Game-Changer for Battery Energy Storage?

Last week Tesla, an electric car manufacturer based in Palo Alto, made national news by announcing it intends to launch a “Gigafactory” to produce lithium-ion batteries for at least 500,000 vehicles by 2020. This is no small potatoes. The level of battery production Tesla envisions is equivalent to the lithium ion batteries produced worldwide last year. Read More

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“Courage, Creativity, and Boldness” — A 2030 Target for California Climate Action

Midway through 2014’s very weird winter it might be easy for those of us who understand the need for urgent action on climate change to feel discouraged. A do-nothing Congress is virtually certain not to make progress on climate policy (or much else) any time soon, and international progress also seems chronically stalled. But there has been some good news recently out of the west. Read More

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Powering California with 50% Renewable Energy by 2030: New Analysis Shows It Can Be Done

Last week, a new analysis was released that explored the technical, environmental, and economic implications of raising California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) from 33 percent by 2020 to 50 percent by 2030. I’m excited to report that although the study illuminates the challenges of installing unprecedented amounts of renewables on the grid, it is technically possible. Moreover, California has tools in hand today to scale up renewables, and is developing programs and policies that will continue to lower the cost and technical challenges of doing so. Read More

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Water Woes: Dramatic Increase of Droughts in California Is a Bellwether of Future Climate Impacts

It’s now well known that California is facing an unprecedented drought emergency. Governor Brown declared a state of emergency to address the drought last week, and in his annual State of the State message today indicated that the situation we face may be a harbinger of things to come due to climate change. Our California climate scientist Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith shares her thoughts below on what this really means and the kinds of measures the state needs to be exploring to truly address this problem: Read More

Categories: Global Warming  

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How Should California Design its Renewable Energy Future?

California’s landmark renewable energy policy, the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS), establishes a clear blueprint for clean energy investment in the short-run: by 2020, all utilities are required to source 33 percent of their retail electricity sales from renewables. The big question now is what happens after that? What role should renewables play in California’s long-term goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050? Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels  

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California Jumpstarts Energy Storage

One of the biggest challenges of relying on large quantities of renewable energy has to do with the fact that we can’t control when renewables actually generate electricity. When the wind blows, we get electricity, period. When the sun sets, our solar panels cannot provide the electricity we need at night. That is, of course, unless we capture the energy and store it for later use. Read More

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