Dedicated to the balanced discussion of global warming
Sacramento Business Journal – August 4, 2008
Mr. Al Gore recently challenged the US to a goal of 100% renewable energy in 10 years. His lofty goals cited the need for domestic energy independence and his concern that the world would end due to global warming. Many people have questioned the feasibility of this goal and now it appears that California is going to even miss a much more reasonable goal.
The Public Utilities Commission has reported that California is not likely to hit its goal of 20% renewable sources by 2010. They may be able to get there by 2013 but that seems to depend on enough rainwater coming down to keep the dams working. There is also a goal that California his 30% by 2020 (just a few more years from now then Mr. Gore’s 10 years) and this goal doesn’t seem to be attainable.
It should be noted that Mr. Gore didn’t stress hydroelectric power in his challenge speech and that much of California’s effort lies in that area. Without hydroelectric power, California is even farther from its goals.
Electricity demand outpaced the growth of renewable energy production in California from 2003 to last year, … utilities will not meet the goal of receiving 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2010.
The report also questions whether the utilities can meet an unregulated goal of the PUC and the state Energy Commission to provide 33 percent of electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020.
From 2003 to 2007, the percentage of PG&E’s electricity sales that came from renewable energy sources dropped from 12.4 percent to 11.4 percent.
The figures include power from sources affected by weather, such as wind, solar and small hydroelectric systems. Low rainfall in 2007 led to a 60 percent drop in power contracted by the utilities from small hydroelectric systems, and 2008 may also be a “dry hydro year,” the report said.
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