As Earth Month draws to a close, the California region has recently produced almost all of its energy needs from renewable energy sources for the first time.
In early April, the state achieved a new record of 97.6% renewable energy; on May 2, they reached 99.9%. On May 8, the paper was broken again, with 103% of state power meeting renewable demand within a few hours.
This momentous occasion highlights the renewable energy efficiency of the planet, proving that governments of all sizes have the potential to Invest in Our Planet. If it were an independent nation, California’s $ 3.14 trillion economy would be the fifth-largest in the world.
While national leadership has played a vital role in this achievement, local governments have significantly contributed to California’s success this spring. The city’s renewable energy leadership peaked last year, doubling the number of clean electricity agreements reached in the previous year.
Keeping our eyes on the future without carbon, however, there is still work to be done to ensure that clean energy is always available; when the sun is not shining, and the wind is not blowing, California still has to rely on fossil fuels to meet its energy needs.
Larger battery projects are essential for providing day-to-day clean energy, allowing everyday solar energy to be stored and used after sunset. The state has invested in significant efforts to increase grid storage capacity to address this need, and California’s battery storage has increased 20-fold since 2019. These efforts have helped reduce 97% of battery production costs, and for the past 30 years, the trend has been steadily rising. The US is also home to a large amount of lithium (an essential mineral in battery production), of which only 1% is currently used; continuous release of this service will be required to achieve the speed and scale necessary for the US to meet its climate targets.
For California to gain 24/7 carbon-free power by 2045, solar and wind projects will need to be built three times faster, and battery expansion will need to be upgraded eight times more quickly. In addition to the trends in battery production described above, the renewable energy industry is improving to achieve this goal more effectively. California’s clean energy production has tripled since 2005 due to rising renewable energy costs. Over the past decade, renewable energy prices have dropped: the wind has reached three times, and the sun has bought ten times more, making it less expensive than any other fossil fuel.