California Steps Up Clean Energy Push

A package of legislation aims to ensure that utilities supply 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2045.
The California State Capitol, Sacramento (Photo: California Department of Parks and Recreation)

In California’s latest initiative to battle climate change, lawmakers have enacted a package of legislation touching on emissions, electrification and the state’s carbon footprint.  Governor Jerry Brown signed the package, which is intended to further advance California’s clean energy transformation.

The centerpiece of the new laws mandates that the state procure its power entirely from carbon-free sources by 2045. Besides committing to make California’s state government carbon-neutral over the next 27 years, while also ensuring that utilities provide customers with 100 percent carbon-free energy by the same date, the legislation expands electrification incentives to steer property operators away from fossil fuels.

Brown also requested an analysis of the emissions-reduction potential from existing buildings. Last but not least, the package includes updated accounting standards to fully track the footprint of natural gas emissions in the state. 

“California’s new commitments raise yet another call for other states and countries to join in. States can’t wait for direction from Washington; they need to take the future of clean energy development into their own hands,” said Lauren Navarro, a senior policy at Environmental Defense Fund, in a  statement.

“Governor Brown concluded his final legislative session with a clean energy tour de force. The governor and legislature have ensured the state will continue to lead in protecting current and future generations from climate change,” Navarro added. 

Hawaii made a similar carbon-free energy commitment in 2015. Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C., are following suit.