Building a Clean Power System for California

California is moving fast to lead America on climate and clean energy. Now, for California to reach its goals affordably and equitably, more utilities need to integrate into a modern electricity market.

Fact #1

Renewables can meet demand and save money

Rather than turning to gas or coal for power when clean energy is not available, utilities around California and the region could share surplus clean energy with one another instead of letting it going to waste. For example, a utility could import wind and hydro to meet demand when solar is not available. Clean energy is often cheaper than fossil fuel now, so this will also save money.

Fact #2

A well-integrated electricity system is key

Many power companies continue to rely on gas and coal because they lack easy access to low-cost clean power generated elsewhere. With a modern, well-integrated energy market, utilities across California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and other states will be able to buy and sell clean energy and meet demand without gas and coal. Bringing together more utilities in a modern electricity system can efficiently move clean power when and where it’s needed.

Fact #2

A well-integrated electricity system is key

Many power companies continue to rely on gas and coal because they lack easy access to low-cost clean power generated elsewhere. With a modern, well-integrated energy market, utilities across California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and other states will be able to buy and sell clean energy and meet demand without gas and coal. Bringing together more utilities in a modern electricity system can efficiently move clean power when and where it’s needed.

Fact #3

We can address energy injustice

Gas power plants in California are more likely to be found near lower-income and communities of color. These plants are kept idling to enable a quick ramp up of electricity generation when demand is high and utilities cannot access enough renewable power sources, and their smokestack emissions are even worse when they’re idled and then fired up. Enabling better movement of clean energy across the grid can offset the need to idle and ramp fossil fuel plants, which will help reduce pollution in California communities.

“California can get to 50 percent renewables with our existing grid. To get to 100 percent, we need to reimagine our electrical system, and that means giving operators the tools and geographic reach to manage variability. If we do that, we can have a low-carbon grid that drives job creation and reduces greenhouse gas emissions and local pollutants.”

Sarah Webster, Vice President, Pattern Energy

Benefits of a modern,

integrated grid

Moving to a modern power system that integrates utilities across California — and with those in Oregon, Washington and other neighboring states — will enable some important benefits:

 

    • Job creation and economic activity. California clean energy companies will enjoy access to expanded markets, generating billions of dollars of economic activity and over 100,000 in-state full-time jobs by 2030.
    • Savings for bill-payers. Avoiding construction of new gas plants, greater use of lower-cost renewables, and other efficiencies can save Californians over a billion dollars a year.
    • Clean energy and climate leadership. California can affordably reduce its dependence on natural gas and coal, reach its clean energy and carbon reduction goals, and lead America at a time when energy and climate progress is especially at risk.
    • Environmental justice. Polluting gas plants, which are located disproportionately near low-income and communities of color, can be phased out.
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