California recently broke a renewable energy record when its sources met almost 100 percent of the state’s electricity demand.
At 2:50 p.m. on April 30, California reached 99.87 percent of load reserved by all renewables, which broke the previous record, according to California Independent System Operator.
CAISO is a nonprofit that oversees the state’s bulk electric power system and transmission lines.
Two-thirds of the renewable electricity came from solar power, most of which is generated along Interstate 10.
That meant 12,391 megawatts out of 18,000 megawatts needed was provided by solar power. The rest was from wind, geothermal, and other sources.
The supply tracker actually hit over 100 percent, but CAISO had to adjust the figure due to reserves and other resource needs.
The milestone lasted about 15 minutes before dropping back down to around 97 percent renewable energy.
Most of California’s solar power comes from large solar facilities, many of which are located in the Mojave Desert.
“California has shown that, for one brief and shining moment, we could do it,” Environment California state director Laura Deehan said in a statement.
“Now we need to get our state running on 100 percent clean energy for the whole day, the whole week, and the whole year. It’s time to move to 100 percent clean energy, 100 percent of the time.”
Deehan said more needs to be done at the federal level to achieve these goals.
Environmental experts agree that federal support is needed to achieve renewable energy goals not just in California, but across the nation.
In addition to widespread solar facilities, California also requires new homes and new commercial buildings to be built with solar power.
The state has a mandated clean energy target of 100 percent by 2045.
Most of the nation’s total solar generation is in California, followed by Texas, Florida, and Arizona, according to Choose Energy.
Solar experts call solar panels “contagious,” citing studies that have found if one home installs solar, their neighbors are more likely to do it, too.
The findings suggest that if solar suppliers target certain areas, it can potentially transform a community, experts say.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects utility-scale solar generating capacity to grow by 21.5 gigawatts this year, which would surpass last year’s 15.5 gigawatts of solar capacity additions.
Most planned solar additions will be in Texas, followed by California.The push for renewable energy is continuing to gain momentum, but experts say federal support and targeting the right communities first will be a strong step in the right direction.
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