Cal­i­for­nia’s so­lar man­date means more re­li­able grid

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

EDITOR, TIMES-DIS­PATCH:

In re­sponse to your ed­i­to­rial, “If so­lar en­ergy’s so great, why is Cal­i­for­nia forc­ing it on new home­own­ers?”: I take ex­cep­tion to many as­ser­tions you make that might have been true in 1995 but are not true in 2017.

State law re­quires that at least 50 per­cent of Cal­i­for­nia’s elec­tric­ity come from non­car­bon-pro­duc­ing sources by 2030. The man­date, ap­proved unan­i­mously by the Cal­i­for­nia Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion, will take ef­fect two years from now.

A 2014 McKin­sey study says: “These cost re­duc­tions will put so­lar within strik­ing dis­tance, in eco­nomic terms, of new con­struc­tion for tra­di­tional power-gen­er­a­tion tech­nolo­gies, such as coal, nat­u­ral gas, and nu­clear en­ergy. That’s true not just for res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial seg­ments, where it is al­ready cost com­pet­i­tive in many (though not all) ge­ogra­phies, but also, even­tu­ally, for in­dus­trial and whole­sale markets.”

Since 2014, re­new­able en­ergy, pri­mar­ily so­lar and wind, was 50 per­cent or more of all newly built U.S. elec­tri­cal gen­er­a­tion, so it is at cost par­ity. While most of our elec­tric­ity is used mid­day, ob­vi­ously the sun does not shine fully ev­ery day, nor at night — but Cal­i­for­nia has a 1.3 gi­gawatt man­date for elec­tri­cal en­ergy stor­age which has been fol­lowed by sev­eral other states such as Hawaii, Illi­nois, Mas­sachusetts, and New York.

Con­trary to your ed­i­to­rial, the monthly costs of power gen­er­a­tion as added to the monthly mort­gage costs will be less than the monthly elec­tric costs from the elec­tric util­ity. Elec­tric rate in­creases will be re­duced be­cause util­ity com­pa­nies will not have to fi­nance new elec­tric gen­er­a­tion. It makes eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal sense and will en­sure that the Cal­i­for­nia grid is more re­silient and re­li­able. ADJUNCT PRO­FES­SOR SCOTT SKLAR,

EN­ERGY DI­REC­TOR, EN­VI­RON­MENT & EN­ERGY MAN­AGE­MENT IN­STI­TUTE,

THE GE­ORGE WASH­ING­TON UNIVER­SITY.

ARLINGTON.

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