In a press release last Friday, Newsom’s office boasted that he had signed “some of the nation’s most aggressive climate measures in history … ” to cut pollution, protect Californians from big polluters, and accelerate the state’s transition to clean energy.” The major points to emerge from more than three dozen new laws are a commitment to achieve “carbon neutrality” in the state’s energy consumption by 2045, and 90% “clean” energy sources– primarily wind and solar energy — by 2035.
In 2021, total “thermal and non-renewable” energy sources accounted for nearly two-thirds of the state’s energy supply, with the largest portion — nearly 38% — coming from natural gas. Nuclear energy and energy from large hydroelectric dams made up just over 9% each, while coal — probably the most easily replaced fossil fuel — made up just 3%. Wind and solar energy together made up just over 25% of the state’s power, with geothermal, biomass, and “small hydroelectric” adding to the mix.
The new climate measures argue that renewable energy sources can be expanded from one-third of the state’s power input to 90% in just over a decade, partly by spending $54 billion that California has allocated to the task of fighting climate change.