Renewable Energy Becoming More Prevalent In California

Written By: Thatcher Michelsen June 4, 2013 0
The solar and wind energy industries are slowly becoming bigger contributors to electricity production in the United States.
The solar and wind energy industries are slowly becoming bigger contributors to electricity production in the United States.

Although there's still a way to go before Americans become entirely dependent on renewable energy sources, a lot of progress has been made to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and thereby limit carbon emissions. Reinforcing this point is the fact that recently, California set a record for solar electric generation from wholesale (utility-scale) sources.

KCET, a Los Angeles-based public broadcasting station, recently reported on new numbers from California ISO (CaISO), the agency that operates most of the power grid in the Golden State. On May 23, CaISO announced that solar energy had hit a generation peak of 1,872 megawatts (MW), a new record. Only a day later, they announced that an even higher record had been established of 1,892 MW. These are remarkable figures, considering that solar generation usually hovers around 1,600 MW.

In addition, on May 26, CaISO announced that wind generation hit a peak of 4,258 MW, well above the 3,100 MW that is typical. This figure represents 16 percent of the electricity in California's grid.

Although these numbers are peaks rather than average figures, it shows that energy consumption is gradually transitioning to cleaner technologies that mitigate the risks of anthropogenic climate change. Currently, 67 percent of electricity production in the United States comes from coal or natural gas, while another 20 percent comes from nuclear power plants. By contrast, only 12 percent is derived from renewable sources, but this number is steadily growing.

LifeIsGreen.com will continue to provide updates on the country's long path toward going green.

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