Editor’s note: This has been excerpted with permission from the Pacific Research Institute. To read the entire report, click here.
Can California transition to a portfolio of 100% renewable energy sources and still generate enough electricity to meet the state’s future needs, including the addition of millions of electric cars on the road? Using the state’s historical trends to project forward, the answer to these questions is no. Californians will face acute electricity shortages soon if policymakers insist on implementing its current suite of policies.
California is already incapable of generating enough electricity, importing 30% of its current electricity needs from other states. With respect to current generation sources, nearly 60% of California’s in-state electricity generation is produced by natural gas and nuclear power plants. Including conventional hydroelectric generation, which does not count as a renewable source for purposes of California’s policies, nearly two-thirds of the state’s current electricity comes from disfavored generation sources.
It is doubtful that California will be able to generate sufficient electricity to meet future energy needs using only the favored generation sources; and it is not even close.
Overall, total electricity generated will be 21.1% below the amount of electricity demanded — and this does not even account for the impacts from all the likely future mandates. Beyond the electric vehicle mandates evaluated above, officials are rapidly prohibiting connections for stoves, furnaces, hot water heaters, and dryers in new construction projects.
There are reasons to be exceptionally skeptical that California’s current energy policy environment is achievable. Either the policies will cause extreme energy shortages and jeopardize quality of life or the state’s political leaders will need to repeal the current suite of mandates.
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