California Urged to Speed Up or Risk Missing Green Grid Targets

California has pushed harder than most states to adopt renewable power. But a new government report suggests it’s not moving fast enough to meet one of its own key goals: a carbon-free electricity grid by 2045.

The report, issued Monday by three California agencies that regulate energy and climate issues, finds the state will need to triple the pace of wind and solar installations if it hopes to hit the 2045 target. And it could need to plug enough batteries into the grid to supply as much electricity as 48 nuclear reactors.

The report comes as President Joe Biden has called for a nationwide carbon-free grid by 2035, and many electric utilities have issued their own plans for eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century.

The report -- from California’s Air Resources Board, Energy Commission and Public Utilities Commission -- illustrates the mix of technologies that California could use to reach its goal, illustrated in the table below. A gigawatt is roughly the capacity of a commercial nuclear reactor.

2019 CapacityAdditions Needed by 2045
Solar Power Plants12.5 GW69.4 GW
Rooftop Solar8 GW28.2 GW
Onshore Wind6 GW12.6 GW
Offshore Wind0 GW10 GW
Battery Storage0.2 GW48.8 GW

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