Solar farms are blooming across California’s deserts, wind turbines are climbing the Sierra and photovoltaic roofs are shimmering over suburbs. A clean energy rush is transforming the Golden State so quickly that nearly a quarter of its electricity now comes from renewable sources.
Last year, California became the first state to get more than 5 percent of its electricity from the sun. With its goal of 33 percent renewable energy by 2020 now within reach, Governor Jerry Brown recently raised California’s bar, ordering the state to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below the 1990 level within the next 15 years, the most ambitious target in North America.
To meet the new directive, planners say Californians will need to step up their energy transition even more: doubling energy efficiency, boosting electric transportation, and getting at least twice as much of their electricity from renewables. Energy experts caution that it will take effort, but they say it’s doable.