SACRAMENTO – California is shining a light on the future of energy. After a landmark vote by its state Assembly, California is poised to join Hawaii and become the second state committed to generating 100 percent of its electricity from renewable and zero-carbon sources. If the state Senate votes in favor of the current version of Senate Bill 100, which has only minor changes to a bill the Senate already passed, and then Gov. Jerry Brown signs it, California will commit to a clear target of 100 percent clean electricity by 2045.
“This is a huge win for California, the planet, and our generation,” said Sophie Haddad, Chair of CALPIRG Students. “We’re thrilled that once again, California is on the (b)right side of history, creating healthier communities today and a more livable future for our generation.”
“We applaud Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and all our Assemblymembers for passing this historic legislation that will cement our state’s position as a world leader in clean energy and bring us all closer to a future where we no longer rely on burning fossil fuels to power society, continue Haddad.”
Because scientists agree that we must stop burning virtually all fossil fuels by mid-century to tackle climate change, CALPIRG Students made this issue a top priority.
CALPIRG Students chapters across the state mobilized their peers in support of SB 100 and to show the legislature that students care about the future of their state and planet. Over the course of the last year, they collected 20,000 petitions and generated phone calls in support of SB 100, signed on 200 student organizations and leaders in support, held educational events like solar-powered concerts to build a buzz on campus, and brought over 100 students to Sacramento several times to lobby elected officials. CALPIRG Students worked at 8 UC campuses.
Senate Bill 100, authored by State Senate President pro Tempore Emeritus Kevin de León, will accelerate California’s current mandate to achieve 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources from 2030 to 2026; it will also establish that California will generate 60 percent renewable electricity by 2030 and 100 percent zero carbon and renewable electricity by 2045.
California passed its first clean energy standard in 2002 (Sher). That first law required California energy providers to generate 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2017. With California utilities progressing ahead of the current clean energy goals that are enshrined in law, subsequent bills have ramped up the clean energy standard. SB 350, also proposed by De León, (De León) was the last clean energy bill to pass three years ago, requiring that California energy providers generate 50 percent renewable electricity by 2030.
Especially as California gets ready to host the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco in September, CALPIRG Students urges Gov. Jerry Brown to sign Senate Bill 100 into law, raising the bar for clean electricity in California and setting a strong example for states across the country to follow.
“This is a tremendous step forward on the road to a comprehensive clean energy future,” said Haddad. “Now, we need to keep up the momentum to leave a dirty, fossil-fueled past behind.
We’re excited for actions our state is taking to lead the way towards a clean energy future, and look forward to working together to make that happen.
CALPIRG Students is a statewide student-directed and student-funded organization at eight UC campuses working a greener, healthier, and more meaningful future.