Despite overwhelming support from 76 percent of its constituents, the California State Assembly today deferred a vote on the landmark Senate Bill 100, which would have committed the state to generating 100 percent of its electricity from renewable and zero-carbon sources by 2045. Defying both what’s best for the Golden State and the will of the people, utility companies and electrical unions succeeded in their last-minute ploy to push the bill to next year’s legislative session.
“We’re disappointed that special interests short-circuited the opportunity to pass SB 100 today,” said Michelle Kinman, clean energy advocate with Environment California, one of Environment America’s 29 state affiliates. “Californians — and all Americans — are demanding a cleaner, healthier future. We thank Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León for authoring SB 100 and we’ll keep building the momentum needed to pass the bill in January.”
Senate Bill 100 would accelerate California’s current mandate to achieve 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources from 2030 to 2026. It would also establish that California would generate 60 percent renewable electricity by 2030 and 100 percent zero-carbon and renewable electricity by 2045. Scientists agree that we must transition fully off of fossil fuels by mid-century to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.
“By setting our sights on a goal of 100 percent clean, renewable energy, we create the will to achieve it,” said Rob Sargent, clean energy program director for Environment America. “California’s leaders might have kicked the can down the road a bit, but the rapid rise of clean energy, along with the tremendous public support, should make California’s leaders confident they can can forge a path toward a future without fossil fuels. With the sixth-largest economy in the world, California’s decision will have an impact far beyond its borders.”
Building on two decades of organizing and advocacy, Environment California supported SB 100 with an 11-city press conference tour, face-to-face conversations with hundreds of thousands of regular citizens, and social media outreach that raised awareness among the public, the media and our elected officials. We helped lead a broad coalition in support of the legislation, working arm-in-arm with leaders from the environmental, public health, labor, faith, environmental justice and business communities.
Over the last three decades, California has adopted a number of pivotal clean energy measures and climate solutions, backed first by the advocacy and organizing of CALPIRG and more recently by Environment California, which has housed CALPIRG’s environmental program since 2003. Among those initiatives have been appliance energy efficiency standards, emissions standards for automobiles, electric vehicle commitments, renewable energy requirements in the state’s power supply, and caps on carbon for industrial pollution.
Throughout this past legislative session, Senate Bill 100 gained momentum, and it nearly became the latest groundbreaking clean energy solution in the U.S. When the next session begins in January, the undeniable movement toward renewable and zero carbon energy will begin anew, stronger than ever.