RELEASE: Advocates, students celebrate data showing California’s clean energy progress

Media Contacts
Steven King

Clean Energy Advocate, Environment California Research & Policy Center

New, interactive ‘Renewables on the Rise’ dashboard allows users to explore growth of clean energy over past decade, identifies California as leader

LOS ANGELES — Students, advocates and leaders from business and academia gathered at the University of California, Los Angeles on Thursday to celebrate California’s growth of renewable energy technologies, as detailed in the Renewables on the Rise 2023 online dashboard released Wednesday by Environment California Research & Policy Center, a statewide non-profit environmental organization.

Watch the event recording here

Renewables on the Rise 2023, documents the growth across the United States over the past decade of six key clean energy technologies: solar power, wind power, battery storage, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging stations. California ranks #1 in the nation for growth in solar power generation since 2013. The Golden State has seen an 8-fold increase in the amount of electricity it gets from the sun since 2013, and battery storage is 789 times what it was a decade ago.

The City of Los Angeles leads the nation in total installed solar capacity, which helped California achieve it’s #1 ranking in solar capacity. California’s strong performance on this scorecard is likely to improve in coming years. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday signed several major climate- and clean energy-related bills.

“California is truly setting the standard for renewable energy deployment and setting the pace in the race toward 100% clean and renewable energy,” said Steven King, clean energy advocate with Environment California Research & Policy Center. “Californians can look forward to a greener, healthier future, thanks to our state’s leadership in solar power, electric vehicle adoption and the adoption of batteries that will enable us to better tap our renewable energy potential.”

Members of UCLA’s CALPIRG student chapter hosted the event on the top level of UCLA’s Parking Structure 9, which boasts solar panels and several electric vehicle charging stations. CALPIRG Students is a statewide student-run and student-funded grassroots advocacy group throughout the UC system. This fall, the students’ priority is organizing support for the UC system to transition sector-wide to 100% clean energy. This is following their successful 2018 campaign to get the UC system to purchase 100% clean electricity.

“Climate change is one of the biggest issues of our generation, and we’re already experiencing its impacts, from wildfires to extreme weather,” said Clara Castronovo, CALPIRG’s UCLA Chapter chair. “Young people are so excited for the future of climate action. We’re proud of the progress that UCLA and the UC system have made in transitioning to renewable energy and are excited for our schools to continue to show the state that a 100% clean energy future is possible.”  

UCLA exemplifies California and Los Angeles’ leadership on sustainability and the environment. The University of California system has committed to power its campuses with 100% clean purchased electricity by 2025, and UCLA Transportation just received a 2023 Green Fleet Award from the National Association of Fleet Administrators for excellence in environmental responsibility in vehicle operations. 

“I am so inspired every day by our student leaders and their passionate advocacy for climate action. They give me hope for the future. It’s encouraging to see in the data that California is a leader in renewable energy, and that UCLA and Los Angeles are such strong contributors to the state’s success,” said Nurit Katz, UCLA’s chief sustainability officer. “From purchasing more clean energy to adopting more electric vehicles, UCLA is proud to join in leading the charge towards a more sustainable world.”

The Inflation Reduction Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden in summer 2022, continues federal tax credits for renewable energy, such as wind and solar, through 2032. It also provides rebates for home efficiency upgrades and the purchase of heat pumps, electric induction stoves and other efficient electric appliances and equipment. In addition, the Inflation Reduction Act provides tax incentives to encourage individuals and businesses to buy electric vehicles.

“Millions of Americans and Californians are already reaping the benefits of the dramatic clean energy progress we’ve made so far,” King said. “With federal tax credits promising to turbocharge clean energy, now is the time for states to lean in on clean energy. It’s time for California to commit to reaching its 100% clean energy goal even sooner.”