Op-Ed: California is 100 percent ready for Clean Electricity

In Opinion

Take a moment to envision the year 2045, right here in California. Do you think we’ll still power our society with coal and gas and accelerating global warming, or will we have a cleaner economy, running on renewable energy sources? Will large oil companies scramble to drill and frack everywhere they can, or will skilled technicians manage a vast infrastructure of solar, wind and geothermal energy?

According to a recent Public Policy Institute of California poll, 76 percent of Californians believe it is time to phase out fossil fuels and move toward a clean, renewable-energy society. Now, we have the opportunity to do just that.

I am writing in support of Senate Bill 100, sponsored by State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León. This bill sets the goal of generating 100 percent of our electricity here in California from carbon-free sources.

The time for clean energy is now, as too much of our energy comes from fossil fuels that wreak havoc on our environment.

We have to dig, frack or drill into our land and oceans to get these fossil fuels. We have to transport them hundreds of miles on truck, rail or ship, which additionally poses great risks of spills, fires and explosions all along the way. We then have to refine them, which puts the health and safety of local communities at risk.

Finally, when they are burned, they pollute our air and water and cause global warming. Sadly, we are seeing the effects of global warming in our daily lives, from the fires and record heat waves ravaging Los Angeles, to the tragic destruction caused by flooding from warming waters.

This is clearly an urgent call for action.

Luckily, we have all the technology we need to generate our electricity from clean energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal. We also have a workforce ready to build a modern infrastructure.

Over the past 15 years, California has passed clean energy standards that have increased the amount of electricity the state generates from clean sources. Current law requires that we generate 50 percent of our electricity from clean energy sources by 2030.

SB 100 would speed up that timeline, so that we generate 50 percent of our electricity from clean sources by 2026, and 60 percent by 2030. It would require state agencies to plan to generate the last 40 percent of our energy from clean and carbon-free sources by 2045.

This is a great step for California, the country and the world. In the face of rollbacks to our environmental protections at the federal level, California is taking charge and moving confidently to 100 percent clean energy.

All of these voices are speaking loud and clear: “We are 100 percent ready for 100 percent clean energy.” Clean energy is good for our planet, good for our health and good for our economy. We must take action now to ensure a 100 percent clean energy future for California.

The bill is set to be voted on the California State Assembly floor this week. Please let your local Assemblymember know that you want a “YES” vote for a clean-running California.

Disclaimer: Bret Weinberger is a member of Environment California, a statewide citizen-based environmental advocacy organization.

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