Laura Wisland

Senior analyst, Clean Energy

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Laura Wisland is a senior energy analyst and an expert on California renewable energy policies. She holds a master’s degree in public policy. See Laura's full bio.

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Southern California Edison's Mountainview Gas Plant. Photo: David Danelski

How Can We Turn Down the Gas in California?

California’s deep commitment to addressing climate change and transitioning away from fossil fuels has helped establish the state as a worldwide hub for clean energy investment and innovation. Thanks in large part to the Renewables Portfolio Standard or “RPS”— a policy enacted first in 2002 and ramped up over time—renewables now meet about 30 percent of California’s electricity needs while the state is on track to reach its 50 percent renewable target by 2030.

But California also has a lot of natural gas-fired power plants that release greenhouse gas emissions and pollute our air. After the state deregulated its electricity market in 1998, a combination of market manipulation and price caps led to skyrocketing electricity prices and rolling blackouts in 2000 and 2001. To make sure the state would never be left in the dark again, utilities and independent power plant owners built more natural gas power plants.

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Photo: David Danelski
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California Takes Another Run at 100 Percent Clean Electricity

Last year, SB 100 passed the California State Senate, but stalled in the Assembly. The good news today is: it’s now scheduled for a hearing on July 3rd! Read more >

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The Glenarm natural gas plant in Pasadena, California. Source: Wikimedia

Hey California, Let’s Spare the Air and Turn Down the Gas

California still relies on fossil fuels to provide nearly 40 percent of annual electricity needs. We can do better. Read more >

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A grid operation control room. Photo: CAISO

Solar and Wind Need a Larger Electric Grid—and California Might Just Create One

Over the past decade, thousands of megawatts of clean renewable energy have been installed in the West thanks to the declining cost of wind and solar power and state policies like the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS). Since solar and wind power are by their nature intermittent, large quantities of weather-dependent generation require new solutions to maintain grid reliability while keeping costs low. Read more >

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An Unseasonably “Hot” February for California’s Clean Energy Landscape

Major policy action for California’s electricity sector mimics the seasons: winter is a relatively quiet, reflective time and major policy developments start to bud in the spring. But lately, the weather in California and electric sector policy developments seem unseasonably hot. For example, it’s currently 75 degrees outside my office in Oakland. And this post details some of the things happening in the policy world that also seem particularly “hot.” Read more >

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