California Demand Matches Renewable Energy Generation for the First Time

On April 30, photovoltaics and other renewable energy sources met 100% of California's energy needs for about 15 minutes.

solar renewable energy electricity generation

The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) said the U.S. state reached a major milestone by briefly reaching 100 percent renewable energy on April 30. In about 15 minutes, the state's energy needs were matched by 101 percent of its renewable (mostly solar) supply.

It's a glimpse into California's march toward a zero-emissions future, and a huge achievement—if California were considered a sovereign state, it would be the fifth-largest economy in the world, surpassing even Germany.

At around 2:45 pm (GMT-7) on Saturday, CAISO reported that 12.4 GW of California's 18 GW of demand came from solar. The rest is met through wind, geothermal and other sources of electricity generation. After a 15-minute peak in solar radiation, the proportion of renewable energy supply dropped sharply to around 97%. This peak in renewable energy generation broke the previous record of 96.4%.

"Twenty years ago, no one would have thought we could be 100 percent renewable," said Dan Jacobson, senior advisor to the California EPA. "But we're doing it bit by bit."

Jacobson and his colleagues are watching the CAISO tracker closely and expect the milestone to be reached today. Jacobson played a key role in facilitating and passing California Senate Bill 100 (SB 100 bill) in 2018, which requires 100% of retail electricity for end consumers to come from zero-carbon energy sources by 2045.

Environmentalists and solar developers, while excited about Saturday's milestone, have been disappointed by recent federal action that contrasts with states' cleaner energy procurement targets. Of particular concern is the anti-dumping investigation launched by the U.S. Department of Commerce, which has cut off most U.S. supplies of solar modules.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote to the U.S. Commerce Department saying the tariff probe has delayed at least 4.4 GW of solar and storage projects. That has led him to reconsider closing the Deablo Canyon nuclear power plant, which has about half the capacity of the delayed solar project. In the letter, he encouraged the Commerce Department to "take immediate action to resolve this issue as quickly as possible."

Newsom told the New York Times editorial board: "The Commerce Department's tariffs are the headlines in the United States."

Despite these headwinds, the solar industry is working harder to advance the state's procurement mandate to decarbonize the grid. Environmentally conscious people are eagerly looking forward to the day when economic growth will no longer come at the expense of increasing carbon emissions.

“California has proven that, in brief, shining moments, we can do it. Now, we need to make California 100% clean energy for the entire day, the week, and the year. It’s time for us to have 100% clean energy 24/7. ” said Laura Deehan, executive director of the California EPA.

SOEASY (Xiamen)Photovoltaic Technology Co., Ltd. is a high-tech enterprise focusing on the R&D, production and sales of solar products. The main products include solar ground mounting system, solar roof bracket, and floating solar structure. SOEASY will continue to work hard and continue provides high-quality products and high-quality services to global market.

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