Boston – After a landmark vote by its state Assembly yesterday, California is poised to become the second state committed to generating 100 percent of its electricity from renewable and zero-carbon sources. Under Senate Bill 100, California will commit to a target of 100 percent clean electricity by 2045.
In 2015, Hawaii became the first state to pass a commitment to 100 percent renewable electricity. Similar legislation has been introduced in Massachusetts and other states.
“California is on the bright side of history, creating healthier communities today and a more livable future for our children,” said Ben Hellerstein, State Director for Environment Massachusetts. “We congratulate our colleagues at Environment California for leading the way on this legislation, and applaud California legislators for recognizing the crucial need to set a course for a future powered by clean renewable energy rather than dirty fossil fuels.”
Scientists agree that to forestall the worst impacts of climate change, we must stop burning virtually all fossil fuels by mid-century. SB100 takes that urgency into account, setting new goalposts for clean energy. SB 100’s interim goals include harnessing 50 percent of California’s electricity from renewable sources by 2026, and 60 percent by 2030.
The bill is awaiting approval by the California Senate, which passed similar legislation in 2017.
“We have an obligation to ourselves and to future generations to clean up the ecological mess we’ve gotten ourselves into. But we can never reach goals that we never set. That’s why SB 100 is an important step: it articulates the targets we need to hit, giving us a strong push in the right direction,” said Doug Phelps, the chairman of Environment America. Environment Massachusetts and Environment California are among the 29 state affiliates of Environment America.
“No matter what part of the country you live in or what your political affiliation is, renewable energy makes sense for the future — and now. That’s why cities from San Diego in the West, to Georgetown, Texas, to Orlando in the East are forging paths to go 100% renewable. California and Hawaii may be the first states to take this big step, but they won’t be the last,” Phelps said.
In Massachusetts, Senator Jamie Eldridge, Representative Sean Garballey, and Representative Marjorie Decker filed the 100% Renewable Energy Act, which would transition the Commonwealth to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035 and power other sectors, like heating and transportation, with renewable energy by 2050. During the 2017-2018 session, 56 legislators sponsored the 100% Renewable Energy Act.
Environment Massachusetts is the statewide, citizen-supported environmental advocacy organization working to protect clean air, clean water, and open space.