On Wednesday, Oct 7th, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law bill that will require 50 percent of California’s electricity to come from renewable sources like solar and wind by the year 2030.
“California, through this bill, is taking a major step,” Brown said. “Other people are going to follow. But it’s not going to be easy.”
Nationwide Leader in Renewable Energy
The state currently receives 25 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources. Brown’s act aims to double that with a 15-year green energy goal for California- on a scale which is larger than anything any state has ever attempted. However, California already has an impressive track record for increasing renewable energy.
“This is an achievable target,” said David Hochschild, a member of the California Energy Commission. “In 2008, California only had 12 percent renewable energy. We’ve doubled that in six years.”
During those six years, he added, the price of renewable energy has fallen considerably. Currently the price for solar and wind energy is roughly the same as for natural gas. In addition, he added, fossil fuel costs are expected to continue rising, while at the same time improvements in technology will continue to bring down the cost of solar and wind.
A Necessary Conversion to Geothermal, Wind, and Solar Energy
Brown had tried for an even stronger measure that also would have enforced a 50 percent drop in petroleum use by 2030, however it was defeated by oil interests. He called that a short-term setback, and insisted that the world needs to wean itself off fossil fuels as quickly as possible.
“What has been the source of our prosperity now becomes the source of our ultimate destruction, if we don’t get off it. And that is so difficult,” Brown said at a signing ceremony Wednesday at the hilltop Griffith Observatory, overlooking the haze of downtown Los Angeles.
More Energy Efficient Buildings
The new law also requires the doubling of energy efficiency in buildings by 2030. This is expected to lead to building codes requiring more energy-efficient windows, duct work and insulation, along with the implementation of state programs which will offer incentives to homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient.