Op-Ed: California’s giant new batteries kept the lights on during the heat wave
Editor’s Note: The following op-ed was originally published by The Los Angeles Times on Thursday, July 6, 2017.
By Matt Lee
There are at least two, maybe three, good reasons to be glad we’re here in California when it comes to solar and other forms of energy generation. First, like all of California, the state has its own renewable energy mix, thanks to a combination of federal policy and good policymaking by local leaders.
Second, we love it here. To paraphrase a longtime local resident, we’re lucky to live here, and lucky to have a place so close to the beach, so close to wine country and so close to mountains. While others may be able to commute to work via freeway or train or even by car, we’re able to walk or bike to work and back, and to ride our bikes to the ocean. We can travel to Mexico, New England, Japan, or parts of Scotland and Europe without a vehicle. We have a thriving technology industry here, and even more tech companies going offshore or even outside the state to cheaper locations or countries. For many of us, the San Francisco Bay Area is our home, and we love the coast and mountains.
But when it comes to renewable energy and green electricity, things are changing.
This year, California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) — which mandates that 10% of the state’s power must come from renewable sources, such as solar, wind, and hydropower — passed a milestone: It hit its target of 10% by October, which is a first in the country’s history. And the RPS could make its second decade without reaching that mark. The policy has an additional year to reach 11% in 2025. California’s goal is 20%, which would require 1.4 gigawatts of new solar power, enough to power 12,000 households and generate about 250