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.