By Julia Pyper
As 2017 comes to an end, California can boast that it’s making substantial progress toward reaching its ambitious renewable energy goals, which has renewed calls for the state to pass a 100 percent clean electricity target in 2018.
Setting aside the debate on whether or not 100 percent renewables is the optimal way to decarbonize the grid, there a number of very real challenges tied to executing on that goal that are worth addressing. For one thing, California’s investor-owned utilities may not be as close to their renewable energy goals as it may seem. Also, as Governor Brown pointed out in his talk, hitting 100 percent renewables hinges on two big unknowns: “It’ll depend on storage. It’ll depend on a regional grid,” he said.
Energy storage and regionalization are indeed major question marks. Without advancements on both fronts, California’s aspiration to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity could remain a pipe dream.