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California’s goal: an electricity grid moving only clean energy

California lawmakers are considering a future without the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity, a step that would boost the renewable energy industry and expand the scope of the state’s battle against global warming.

If approved at the end of the legislative session next month, the proposal would eventually ensure only clean energy moves through the state’s electricity grid, a goal nearly unmatched anywhere in the world.

It would accelerate the adoption of renewable energy by requiring utilities and other electricity providers to obtain 60% of their power from resources such as the sun and wind by 2030. Then it would task regulators with phasing out fossil fuels for the remaining 40% by 2045.

The goal: Less than three decades from now, no coal or natural gas would be burned when Californians charge their electric cars, run their air conditioners or flip on their lights.

New solar plants and wind turbines would need to be built in addition to massive batteries connected to the grid to store energy for when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.

The state would no longer be able to rely on natural gas — which can be turned on and off to match demand — to help balance a complex electricity grid that stretches across deserts, snow-capped mountain ranges, urban sprawl and rural farmland.

“It’s doable,” said Mike O’Boyle, who studies the power sector at Energy Innovation, a think tank in San Francisco. “But because we don’t really have a working example for a 100% renewable system, it’s going to be an ongoing experiment.” Read more…

Source: LA Times

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