California At 100% Renewables?

The new president of the California Public Utilities Commission thinks it’s possible:

Michael Picker, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, said the grid already is comfortably managing solar and wind energy that reached as much as 40 percent of the total a few days last year. In the years ahead, authorities can add the flexibility needed to manage power that flows only when the wind blows or the sun shines.

“We could get to 100 percent renewables,” Picker said at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance summit in New York on Tuesday. “Getting to 50 percent is not really a challenge.”

He notes that California is making cash selling excess renewables out-of-state. It’s definitely an answer to overgeneration during peak sun and wind times.

The article does not address, however, what happens in the evening when the wind isn’t blowing. We can import some renewable power from out of state, but ultimately we’ll need energy storage to capture overgeneration in-state for use at night or on cloudy or windless days. And we’ll need leaders like President Picker to push for policies that achieve that kind of energy storage deployment.


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