Renewable electricity met only 100% of California’s demand for the first time on Saturday, officials said, much of it from large amounts of solar energy produced along Interstate 10, an hour east of the Coachella Valley.
While partygoers celebrated in the scorching sunshine at the Stagecoach Music Festival, “at 2:50 pm (pm), we reached 99.87% of the cargo served by all renewable energy sources, which broke the previous record,” said Anna Gonzales, spokeswoman for the California Independent System Operator, a non-profit organization that oversees the state̵[ads1]7;s bulk electric power system and transmission lines. Solar energy provided two thirds of the required amount.
Environmentalists, who for years have been pushing for all the power in California to come from renewable energy, were jubilant as they watched the track reach 100% and a little more.
“California is getting past 100% on this historic day for clean energy!” Dan Jacobsonsenior advisor for Environment California, tweeted.
“When it reached 100%, we were very excited,” said Laura Deehan, CEO of Environment California. She said the organization and others have been working for 20 years to push Golden State to complete renewable energy through a series of increasingly tough mandates. “California photovoltaic systems play a very big role.”
But Gonzales said they double-checked the data on Monday, and had to adjust it a bit due to reserves and other resource needs.
The environmental group also pushed for 1 million solar cell roofs across the country, which has been achieved, adding that some say it is a more environmentally friendly form of solar energy than the solar farms, which eat up large parts of the Mojave Desert and fragile landscapes.
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Deehan said in a statement that more needs to be done, especially at the federal level. “Despite the incredible progress illustrated by the milestone this weekend, a confusing regulatory mistake by Biden administration attorneys has raised concerns about the reversal of California’s clean energy targets.”
Deehan said a Department of Commerce investigation into tariffs on imported solar panels is delaying thousands of megawatts of solar energy storage projects in California.
Still, Deehan said: “California has shown that we can do it in a short and shining moment! It’s time to move on to 100% clean energy, 100% of the time.”
Follow Janet Wilson on Twitter @ janetwilson66.