Technology and market trends of this moment are laying the groundwork for a clean, affordable, reliable, equitable and safe electricity grid in California. Unfortunately, our laws are sabotaging us.
The failings of our archaic electrical system, which ignited many of California’s recent wildfires, are causing homeowners, businesses, hospitals, firefighters, and others to buy fossil fuel-powered back-up generators– increasing emissions that drive climate change and making fires worse.
Right now California regulators are considering new contracts for fossil fuel-powered plants in response to last summer’s blackouts. This is a big step in the wrong direction.
Instead, California policy should help local governments and stakeholders develop clean energy resilience plans that address climate change while prioritizing our most vulnerable communities.
Senate Bill 99, introduced by Senator Bill Dodd and sponsored by The Climate Center, will help local governments do just that by providing them with the technical tools and support to develop their own community energy resilience plans, rather than relying on investor-owned utilities.
While many wealthier communities have access to clean energy and energy storage, California can and must prioritize equitable access to clean energy resilience for communities that suffer most from air pollution and power outages. Senate Bill 99 prioritizes support for these communities.
The technology needed to create this new decentralized energy future is available now. The energy storage industry is booming with microgrid projects proliferating and an accelerated transition to electric vehicles globally.
General Motors’ recent announcement committing to selling only zero-emissions vehicles by 2035 and President Biden’s plan for an all-electric federal fleet present the possibility of quickly scaling up electric vehicle adoption and thus, battery storage for energy resilience.
Automakers and charging infrastructure manufacturers are already developing vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology which could be used by utilities to minimize power outages and effectively capture, store and send solar energy back to the grid during peak demand hours.
For example, if all of California’s 24,000 school buses were electric and able to discharge energy to the electric grid during peak hours, we could substantially reduce chances of blackouts, help fight climate change, and avoid local air pollution, all at the same time.
To achieve widespread adoption of clean energy microgrids, our state’s broken regulations must be fixed. New forward-thinking policies can ensure that every community can install renewables and storage where they need it most.
The Climate Center is working with diverse partners across the state to secure the needed policies for equitable access to resilient clean energy.
Ellie Cohen, CEO