In this week’s Solar News Roundup, California votes to go carbon-free for electricity by 2045, and Facebook pledges to buy 100% renewable energy by 2020.
California becomes the first large state to mandate carbon-free electricity
This past week, California took a massive step towards a clean energy future by passing legislation that would require the state’s electricity to come from carbon-free generation sources by 2045. If Governor Jerry Brown signs the bill, utilities would be required to gradually transition their electrical generation capacity to sources like wind, solar, and nuclear.
The bill is even more ambitious than the current mandate, which requires utilities to reach 50% renewable electricity generation by 2030. Under this law, California would need to generate 100% of its electricity from carbon-free sources. The first step outlined in the bill is a target of 33% carbon-free power by the end of 2020, followed by a second intermediate step of 50% carbon-free electricity by the end of 2026.
California state senator Kevin de León, author of the bill, acknowledges the link between global climate change and the recent wildfire devastation in the state. “As fires rage up and down the state of California, costing our taxpayers billions of dollars and threatening our families’ health – the need for California to move to 100% clean, renewable energy could not be more urgent,” he stated. This clean energy initiative contributes to the larger trend of states increasingly taking actions to prevent the damages of climate change.
Facebook will go 100% renewable by 2020
Just like states, large corporations can make a splash by committing to a renewable energy future. Following in the footsteps of Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, Facebook made their own commitment to renewables this summer in the form of a 100% pledge by 2020. Practically speaking, their pledge means that Facebook will contract renewable electricity for all of their operations by 2020 – they will likely still receive electrons from fossil-fuel sources on the grid, but their usage will become completely offset by new and old, Facebook-sponsored renewable projects providing electricity to the grid.
Facebook is not the first tech giant to turn to renewables. Google currently has over 3 gigawatts contracted, Apple powers all of their operations with renewable electricity, and Amazon reached 50 percent renewables for their data centers in early 2018. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center, companies purchased 3.86 gigawatts of electricity in 2018.