California Renewable Energy Percent
California Renewable Energy Percent – As several countries, 15 states and many US utilities strive to achieve a 100% clean power system, much depends on the engineers who manage the power grid. They have difficult challenges like rebuilding a flying plane. But real-world examples are showing how it can be done, from South Australia’s rooftop solar grid, to Europe’s avant-garde wind power, and more recently to sunny California.
California’s power grid reached a major milestone on April 3 when 97% of demand was met by renewable energy as of 3:39 p.m., according to the state’s grid operator CAISO. In fact, if you add hydropower, which CAISO doesn’t account for, and nuclear, another zero-energy source, there is enough clean energy to cover more than 100% of demand for three full hours of the day. .
California Renewable Energy Percent
At first glance, this seems like an important step towards California’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2045. If we can do it for three hours, can’t we do it all year? A deeper look at what happened that day reveals a more complex picture. While California’s progress has been significant, the state still has a long way to go to achieve 100 percent clean electricity.
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Understanding the full picture requires first uncovering how CAISO calculates the 97% figure. In California, renewable energy generation is calculated as a percentage of energy demand after accounting for transmission losses. This demand figure does not take into account the demand met by rooftop solar, which produces electricity for more than 1 million California customers. Since large hydropower does not meet the standards of the state’s renewable energy portfolio, it is not included in this indicator.
Another important caveat: this figure does not take into account all of the demand in California, even the demand met by rooftop solar. The CAISO system does not include areas served by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, two publicly owned utilities that account for about 10% of the state’s electricity sales.
The chart below shows CAISO data on the state’s renewable generation and electricity demand as of April 3. A high point of 97% represents an instantaneous maximum of non-renewable hydropower.
April 3 was a day of high winds and sunshine for California, and demand was relatively low due to mild spring weather. Throughout the day, wind accounted for 24% of demand and solar 22%, followed by 8% and geothermal 4%. We are making small contributions from biomass, biogas and small hydro projects and the total percentage of renewables is 61% per day. See the table below for the contribution of each type of renewable energy.
List Of U.s. States By Electricity Production From Renewable Sources
But even today, 39% of demand for renewable energy, CAISO, is met by non-renewable sources. Between 3:35 p.m. and 3:40 p.m., when CAISO reached 97 percent non-hydro renewable energy, the state’s other power plants, including gas, nuclear and hydroelectric, were operating.
At the peak of renewable energy, adding large hydro and nuclear power plants to the CAISO mix yields a maximum of 107% carbon-free energy on that day, as shown in the graph below. With three hours of net electricity generated in excess, California is exporting carbon-free energy to neighboring states to offset fossil fuels.
However, gas plants will never shut down on this renewable energy day – see the orange line in the next graph, CAISO’s April 3 energy supply chart. renewable energy reached 18 GW. That means California is still burning enough gas to meet 15% of demand, while it has non-hydro renewables to meet 97% of demand; Also, the surplus is exported to other countries.
On average, California imports far more energy than it exports from its neighbors. The red line in the graph above represents imports (and exports when it falls below zero). If the state imports about 30% of energy annually, as of April 3, 21% of its energy needs will be supplied by imports.
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On April 3, imports were a mirror image of total renewable production: they were highest at night, and during the brightest part of the day, the country exported energy instead of importing it. Imports are a mix of carbon-free resources, gas and coal, but it’s hard to track exactly what’s available in the Western open market. Imported energy is an important instrument of reliability and low cost, but has a mixed record as an emissions reduction strategy.
While California’s record of 97 percent renewable energy isn’t what it sounds like, it’s still an important milestone on the road to 100 percent clean electricity. Running a public grid with 18 GW of industrial-scale renewables and 8-9 GW of back-end solar is a major operational challenge, as it means most of the energy comes from inverter climate-dependent sources. Performance of Agrid under these conditions is a major research objective for the US National Laboratory.
As a 100% clean grid would need to rely more on these variable sources, CAISO’s success should give policymakers confidence that electricity can remain sustainable and reliable with the majority coming from wind, solar and batteries.
But the results also show that more needs to be done to achieve a truly clean grill. Policy will be key to building on this success. California policymakers should focus on three key areas to support decarbonization of the overall electricity grid: shutting down the gas plant, starting with the most polluted communities; acceleration and diversification of clean energy supply; and more effective coordination with other nations in the West.
California Green Innovation Index
Gas will remain in circulation because it is affordable and offers reliability to the grid. California keeps nearly 40 GW of gas in service to avoid power shortages during hot summer days. Gas also provides reliability services in local areas of the grid that are difficult (but possible) to replace with local clean energy sources. A key milestone for a 100% clean electric system is the hours or days when the gas system is off.
In addition to gas production challenges, California is losing its newest nuclear power plant — the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant is expected to close by 2025 — and hydroelectric reliability is deteriorating due to drought. 2015 was the lowest hydroelectricity on record in the state, when it supplied only 5.9% of the state’s electricity.
State regulators are working to coordinate the replacement of these sources. In February of this year, the California Public Utilities Commission approved a long-term energy plan that calls for nearly 24 GW of new renewable energy and more than 12 GW of new batteries by 2032. If California wants to accelerate its phase-out, it needs to get more. power from a variety of sources such as geothermal and offshore wind.
Gas overruns are also an environmental justice issue in California. Half of the state’s gas plants are located in disadvantaged communities, as determined by the CalEnviroScreen mapping tool, so cutting fossil fuel production would provide relief to the nation’s worst-polluted communities.
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California must continue to lean on its neighbors as it strives to reach the 100% goal. It is interconnected with other Western nations, which already have abundant clean energy resources, and the distribution of resources across national borders has great benefits.
California’s current imports include fossil fuels, but the West is getting cleaner. 85% of Western US demand is subject to 100% clean energy requirements or mandates, and Arizona and Idaho are also moving in that direction, with their largest utilities announcing voluntary goals to achieve 100% clean energy.
Greater regional coordination allows for more efficient planning at the lowest cost for highly interdependent Western systems. The California Legislature last discussed creating a regional grid in 2018, but those talks failed. With more regional alignment on decarbonization, it is time for California to reopen these discussions and develop a comprehensive regional network.
All in all, April 3rd was an important event for California, but the state still can’t prove that it can achieve 100% clean energy year-round. Rather, it shows that California is making rapid progress and must continue to develop its expertise in integrating renewable energy over the next decade.
California Bill Aims For 100 Percent Renewable Energy By 2045
Mike O’Boyle is director of electricity policy at Energy Innovation. He leads the company’s energy transformation program to uncover policy solutions for a clean, reliable and affordable US electricity system. Achieving 100% renewable energy in the US by 2050 is a widely held goal among the US public. Reports on how to achieve this goal have been written by many environmental organizations, including Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund. Following last year’s COP21 conference, momentum has grown to keep global temperatures below 1.5°C to avoid extreme climate change on Earth.
Now, another major report presents a picture of the United States getting 100% renewable energy by 2050.
Nellis Solar Plant, US Air Force Photovoltaic Plant in Nevada / Air Force 1st Class Photo by Nadine Y. Barclay via Wikicommons (Public Domain)
50 A roadmap for 100% clean, renewable wind, hydro and solar across the United States says it can be done within 35 years. This analysis shows that achieving 100% renewable energy in the United States will include:
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In a scenario based on 100% renewables
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