Adobe Stock/Simon Kraus

Last week, the state senate in California voted to pass SB100, a bill that speeds up the current goals for renewable energy. The bill will aim to hit 50% renewable electricity by 2026 in the state, and 60% by 2030–and then targets 100% carbon-free production in 27 years, reports Fast Company's Adele Peters. Peters writes:

The first goals that states set for renewable electricity over a decade ago were small–10%, 15%–and even then critics questioned whether it would be feasible to use so much clean power. More recently, Hawaii set an ambitious goal to move to 100% renewable electricity by 2045, and a commitment to become carbon neutral. But, as an island, Hawaii has a unique situation, and a much smaller population. California is the fifth largest economy in the world. Even some other countries with ambitious goals are working at smaller scales; Denmark, which aims to run on 100% renewable electricity by 2035, has a population about eight times smaller than California.

Now the state has committed to figuring out how an economy so large will eventually run on 100% clean electricity. “There are some important technical pieces that have to be put together over the next 25 years,” Bruce Nilles, a senior fellow at the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute, says. “But we now have this amazing track record of showing we can do this much faster and quicker and cheaper than anyone thought was possible.”

California met a major goal to cut emissions four years early, and is likely to also hit its interim goal to reach 50% renewable electricity early. (Even the goal of the Clean Power Plan, despite Trump’s attempts to roll it back, is happening ahead of schedule.) The price of solar and wind power has dropped dramatically and will be cheaper than fossil fuels everywhere by 2020. The cost of battery technology, to store electricity when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing, is also dropping. New technology can help the grid charge homes and electric cars when renewable energy is most abundant.

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