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California senator’s latest proposal: 100% renewable energy by 2045

California senator’s latest proposal: 100% renewable energy by 2045

Yet, our state has neglected the dams that are critical for hydroelectric power.

The last time we checked in with the head of the California State Senate, Kevin de León, he was explaining that half his family would be subject to President Trump’s policy on the actual enforcement of immigration rules.

He is now proposing outlandish, energy-based legislation. Despite the limitations set by both technology and reality, he has submitted a bill that demands California be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2045.

The measure, SB 584, was introduced without fanfare before last week’s deadline for new proposals in the Capitol.

If approved, 100% of the state’s electricity would need to come from clean sources such as solar and wind by 2045. De León first suggested the idea in a conversation with The [Los Angeles} Times last month.

The measure would also accelerate the state’s goal of reaching 50% renewable energy. Legislation approved two years ago set a deadline of 2030 , but the new proposal would move that up to 2025.

This submission of this bill is completely laughable when one considers that hydroelectric power is one of the most effective of the renewable energy options. However, the Oroville Dam emergency underscores California’s politicians cannot be trusted with the maintenance of this type of critical energy infrastructure.

In the wake of evacuation, the root causes of the damage to the Oroville Dam’s main spillway that triggered the series of emergency actions are being determined. These issues must be addressed before next year’s rains.

The question facing the team of independent experts appointed by FERC in the immediate aftermath of the near-disaster is why, after all these years, did the Oroville Dam’s main spillway fail? The destruction of the unpaved emergency spillway was less of a surprise. The only question there was why no proper geological tests of the hillside’s bedrock had been done over the years, especially after concerns were raised in 2005. Core samples would have quickly revealed the dubious porosity of the rock. As far as the failure of the main spillway was concerned, cavitation was clearly the culprit. But what set of circumstances triggered it?

…Apart from carrying out a forensic analysis of both the main and the emergency spillways, the independent investigators will have to make recommendations in the light of their findings. That could well involve replacing the damaged main spillway completely and paving the hillside course of the emergency one. The cost of doing so could easily exceed $200m. Whatever the remedial action, the work will need to be completed before the next rainy season begins in just eight months’ time.

There has also been a review of the status of the remaining dams in the state. It paints a troubling picture of neglect.

…[T]he latest look at dam safety shows that 54 percent of the 1,250 dams regulated by the state are classified as “high-hazard” potential. That means if they failed or were operated wrongly, it would probably lead to loss of life.

That “high hazard” percentage is far higher than nearby states, and higher than the national average of 15 percent, according to data kept by the Association of State Dam Safety Officials.

In addition, 23 percent of California’s dams are in the “significant hazard” category, which means failure would cause an economic loss. And more than half of the dams were built before 1960, which increases the need for regular inspections. Many towns and cities were built or expanded downstream since.

Overall, the state is responsible for 79 percent of the 1,585 dams in California. The state’s dam safety program, with about 60 employees and an annual budget of $13.2 million, is praised nationally. But a report Sunday in the San Francisco Chronicle is the latest to raise some questions. It found that as of October 2015, a dozen high or significant hazard dams had gone more than two years without inspections.

I would suggest that our state’s politicians focus on taking care of the energy sources we currently have, instead of legislating based on political connections, poor science, and pipe dreams.


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“If approved, 100% of the state’s electricity would need to come from clean sources such as solar and wind by 2045.”

“So let it be written; so let it be done”

Yul Brynner

De León might be onto something really great. Just pass a law, and viola, any problem is automatically solved.

    Rick in reply to fscarn. | February 26, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Yes, now you understand the beauty and wisdom of California’s wise latino government.

      Tom Servo in reply to Rick. | February 26, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      At least this guy has figured out the biggest error made constantly by Al Gore and all of the other early climate alarmists – always set the date at which everything outrageous is going to happen for a time when the speaker will be LONG gone from the political scene. Then you’re guaranteed never to have to answer to anyone for being wrong.

Renewable drivers, not technology.

Artificial Green Blight.

2045, huh. So if Fusion power becomes viable around 2030, there’s a chance they could make it.

casualobserver | February 26, 2017 at 2:03 pm

To date I’m pretty sure CA has met the previously established renewable energy targets (RPS set values) through purchasing varying amounts from neighboring areas. They benefit from being tied (grid) to the Pacific NW which has even more hydropower (Bonneville). And some adjacent states have developed wind and especially solar farms, selling small to large portions of the output back to CA.

Of course, some of the most “ardent” environmentalists/greenies want hydropower removed from the “renewable” list. Those poor fish….

But I wonder how the state might need to expand their cross-border purchases to make this happen. For sure, they are already experimenting with large scale, localized energy storage. So perhaps they will find some breakthrough there…..(??)

Already CA competes with the Northeast for some of the highest residential electricity costs. (No states are as high as the remote ones – HI or AK). We can now all sit back and observe how these policies will affect those costs. The selling point for renewable is no fuel costs. But as CA’s renewable portion goes up prices have not come down much. Let’s watch!

I have solar power in my home. As the number of homes with solar power increases, so does the cost of electricity. The utility needs to make a profit.

    casualobserver in reply to Valerie. | February 26, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    It isn’t that binary. Increasing locations with solar (distributed energy as it is said) does not inherently increase the cost of electricity. It depends a lot on how it is integrated, where on the earth you are (Toronto very different than Tucson, for example), and whether or not the utilities and grid owners (those who deliver the power) are designing for it.

    The truth is many states (most?) did not plan to accommodate it so the cost of electricity for those who still buy all they need from the utility typically has gone up.

His is simply proposed legislation as a signal of virtue for the voters’sake. He could care less if the bill’s goals are viable, particularly with a deadline 28 years in the future. Might as well go whole hog and introduce a bill to end all poverty, racism, and disease by 2050.

Bitterlyclinging | February 26, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Its whatever turns the Left Coast’s anal fornicators and fellators on.

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has two coal-fired power plants — Intermountain Power Plant in Utah and the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona.

Does Senator de Leon’s bill close Intermountain Power Plant and the Navajo Generating Station or don’t they count because they are located outside of California?

Don’t forget that 90% of the power and water that SoCal uses comes from Lake Mead. Yes, the greenies want to tear out Hoover Dam too, because of some extinct bait fish that used to live in the Colorado river delta

    Tom Servo in reply to Stan25. | February 26, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    I recall reading that when Glen Canyon Dam (the one at the beginniing of the canyon; Hoover is at the end) was proposed the early environmental movement was against it, since it did hide forever some beautiful landscapes. But one of the ecologist at the time (cannot remember his name for the life of me) annoyed his fellows by point out “hey, in 100 or 200 years the thing is going to be silted up, and then it’s going to turn into nothing more than a really spectacular waterfall. And within 1,000 years it will all be worn down and everything will be back the way it was.”

    Nobody ever really likes to take the long view, even if there is no arguing with it.

Subotai Bahadur | February 26, 2017 at 4:54 pm

1) By 2045, California may formally no longer be part of America, just as they are in reality now not part of America. Which means those stream flows and that electricity may not be available for sale at any price. What are they going to do, invade?


2) In fact, by that time 100% of their electrical power used may in fact by from officially sanctioned renewable sources. But the total amount produced may not be enough to support the population, economy, or society of California.

    It’s far worse than that. 100% reliability on solar and wind power is not only going to damage the economy of California, but the economies and actual power generation systems of its surrounding states. Google “German renewable energy problems” to see what happens when you have only 35% energy supplied from renewables. The shortfall and excess electricity in Germany has to be dealt with by surrounding countries like Poland’s generating and distribution systems, and Poland is already experiencing problems with German power fluctuations. 100% renewables in California would make its surrounding states power just as unreliable and unstable as in California itself.

    Shortfall fluctuations in wind and solar cannot be easily met by nuclear or coal-fired generators as they require too much time to get more energy online. Even gas-fired generators require lead times. You can’t run smelters (or any industry that requires consistent amounts of stable power) on wind or solar exclusively.

    The goal of 100% is crazy without a scientific breakthrough in energy storage that can make up immediate shortfalls and soak up excess energy. It would also require this energy storage to be engineeringly feasible and cost-effective.

Since I don’t live there, this could be fun to watch!

They’re gonna need more rainbow unicorns to hit the mark.

Sufferfortribe | February 26, 2017 at 6:33 pm

Kevin de Leon? Why am I not surprised?

In California, they think that Federal Funds ARE renewable