New legislation could boost solar energy and battery storage in California

New legislation could boost solar energy and battery storage in California

March 31, 2017 0 By Stephen Vagus

California continues to set impressive solar energy records

California has been setting many renewable energy records in recent months. In February, the state finally broke its all-time solar energy record, generating nearly 8,800 megawatts of electrical power on a single afternoon. The record was beaten the following week, with solar energy production surpassing 9,000 megawatts. Not even 24 hours after this new record was set, it was beaten again. There is no doubt that solar energy is on track to play a major role in the state’s future, but California may need to diversify its energy focus in order to achieve environmental goals.

Legislation seeks to require utilities to focus on renewable energy

New legislation has been introduced in California that aims to create a “clean peak energy standard.” The legislation would require utilities to derive no less than 40% of their electricity from renewable sources during hours of peak demand. The requirement could have major implications for the renewable energy space, particularly where power storage is involved. Those supporting the legislation believe that it will encourage the development of efficient battery storage systems, allowing the state to make better use of the solar energy it generates.

Solar energy will need to be supplemented in order for California to meet environmental goals

While solar energy is expected to benefit from the new legislation, other forms of renewable energy stand to gain as well. Notably, geothermal power plants and wind farms are not as susceptible to intermittency as solar energy is. Both geothermal and wind projects have the potential to generate electricity at all hours of the day, which would allow them to feed electricity into the state’s energy grid for storage and later use.

Focus on battery storage may not be the best option for California

While the legislation has gathered some support, it has also raised some concerns. California has committed itself to fighting climate change, but in order to do this effectively, the state will need to make aggressive efforts at reducing emissions and bolstering the use of renewable energy. Focusing heavily on battery storage solutions may not be the appropriate approach if the state wants to achieve its environmental goals, but this new legislation may simply be another step in helping the state become better prepared to use clean power.