Curbing Climate Change With Renewable Energy
In 2003, more than 20% of California’s power came from coal, and less than 2% from wind and solar resources. California’s governor and legislature argued that this approach was negatively impacting the environment and leading to climate change. As a result, California took a bold step by calling for an increase in renewable energy sources and the elimination of the use of coal power.
California’s energy industry adapted to meet the state’s changing needs. Over the past 15 years, California coal-fired power plants were either retired or converted to more environmentally friendly sources for fuel, such as wood waste. This push has reduced the state’s dependence on coal by more than 80%. In fact, California coal plants are virtually nonexistent, and imported coal power will be eliminated in the coming years.
Since 2004, California has transitioned from coal power to renewable energy, which now accounts for one-third of all of the state’s electricity needs. Energy companies invested heavily in wind and solar projects, and as a result, almost a quarter of California’s energy needs comes from wind and solar.
The energy industry also turned to battery storage to address the intermittency of wind and solar power. While the technology is still developing, California is the industry leader with more than double the battery storage of any other state.
While technological advancements for renewable and storage solutions continue, some traditional forms of energy production are needed. California companies are implementing the best available control technology to capture harmful emissions and reduce pollution. These companies are also working with biofuels, fuel cells, and other technologies to continue to strive toward a carbon-neutral world.
It is through these steps that California has already reached its goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels. California continues to do its part to curb climate change and build a green future. Now it’s time for the rest of the world to follow suit.