100% Clean Energy (SB100)


Is 100 percent clean electricity by 2045 feasible?

Powering the most populous and prosperous state in the country on 100% carbon-free electricity is bold and achievable. SB 100 would accelerate the state’s current RPS program to 50% by 2025 and 60% by 2030. In addition, SB 100 sets a 100% clean, zero carbon, and renewable energy policy for California’s electricity system by 2045. It further requires state agencies regulating energy, clean air, and climate to implement the policy in all proceedings authorized under law.

The state is on track to exceed its current 50 percent Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirement, technology is already available to help the grid run on very large quantities of renewables, and the cost of investments needed to make this happen are coming down.

Besides reducing California’s greenhouse gas emissions, what are other benefits of 100 percent clean electricity for our people?

  • Jobs and economic growth throughout California
  • Reduced local pollution from reduced fossil fuel use
  • Cleaner, healthier air and less pollution in vulnerable communities where power plants are often located

How will SB 100 affect Californians’ utility bills?

Many factors affect utility bills. Costs associated with electricity generation is one key component; even now, clean renewable and zero-carbon energy like solar and wind energy are cheaper than natural gas, coal, nuclear, or almost any other option. So we know that at least that component of utility bills will go down as a result of SB 100.

Of course costs of transmission, distribution, and programs utilities run in the public interest such as energy research and low-income energy assistance, and other factors affect our utility bills as well.

Relying on larger amounts of carbon-free resources will reduce California electricity customer exposure to the price volatility of natural gas.

  • Utilities spend millions on financial instruments to hedge themselves from fossil fuel price uncertainties; utilities and their ratepayers don’t have to do this for renewable energy. Instead, long-term renewable energy contracts provide a known price for electricity, which is very valuable for utilities.

Due to California’s low electricity consumption per capita (because of strong energy efficiency policies), the state’s monthly electric bills are among the lowest in the nation.

  • In 2015, California ranked #39 out of 50 states for average monthly electricity bills.
  • The average monthly residential electricity bill in California in 2015 was $95, compared to the national average, $114.

Most importantly, SB 100 includes language that allows the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission to waive certain compliance requirements for the state’s utilities under a narrow set of circumstances, such as, for example, if meeting those requirements is not technically feasible or is too costly.

How will SB 100 affect the price of natural gas?

The price of natural gas is affected by supply, demand, the cost of acquiring electricity from outside California, and other factors. As noted above, clean energy is now cheaper than gas – and will ultimately replace natural gas generation as a source of electricity.

Will achieving 100 percent clean electricity increase the demand to use nuclear in California?

Existing nuclear power in CA has been shuttered (San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in San Diego County) or is being phased out (Diablo Canyon Nuclear Generating Facility in San Luis Obispo County). No new nuclear power plants are proposed in the state at this time.

What about hydropower from dams – will that count?

California already gets about 10% of its electricity from large hydropower, and to the extent EXISTING hydroelectric power is zero-carbon and does not result in resource shuffling or increases in greenhouse gas emissions, it counts towards the 100% clean, zero carbon energy requirement. This is primarily because existing hydro that is already used to serve California electricity needs is cheaper for ratepayers, and is already built with costs accounted for in electric bills.

Will the electrical grid have to be reconfigured before we can get to 100 percent clean electricity?

In general, SB 100 will help make the grid more efficient and less expensive by ensuring the cheapest/cleanest resources are used for generation and the grid is expanded to accommodate them efficiently.

The grid is constantly changing to accommodate the retirement of older generation resources that are past their useful life and investment in new technologies such as rooftop solar, energy storage, and devices that help us save more energy and shift it to time periods when more clean energy supplies are abundant.

Is SB 100 a 100% renewable requirement or carbon-free requirement? What is the difference?

SB 100 requires that at least 60% of electricity be generated for CA by 2030 from “eligible renewable energy resources (solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, small hydro, renewable methane, ocean wave or thermal, or fuel cells using renewable fuels).

The remaining 40% can come from any of those resources, plus existing large hydro and any other zero-carbon polluting resources. This latter provision leaves the door open to new technologies we may not know about today that could meet future state needs while protecting the environment.

What is the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS)?

The Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) is a law (Public Utilities Code Article 15 (commencing with Section 399.11 et seq)) that requires retail sellers of electricity (Investor–owned utilities or IOUs, Publicly owned utilities or POUs, Community Choice Aggregation programs or CCAs, and Electric Service Providers or ESPs) to procure increasing amounts of renewable energy over time in order to displace fossil fuels or other generation, and to increase jobs, investment, and clean energy used by CA customers. RPS-eligible resources are: solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, renewable methane, small hydro, ocean wave or tidal, or fuel cells using renewable fuels.

SB 100 updates the RPS to ensure that by 2030, at least 60 percent of purchased electricity in California will be from renewable sources. Between 2030 and 2045, at least 60 percent must be from renewable sources, but other carbon-free sources, such as large hydroelectric dams (power considered clean but not “renewable”) may also count toward achieving 100 percent clean electricity.

What are some of the technical advances that will make 100 percent clean electricity possible by 2045?

  • Better weather forecasting technology is making it much easier for grid operators to precisely predict how much wind or solar generation we can depend on at any given time.
  • The cost of zero-carbon generation sources like wind and solar have dramatically decreased in the past decade and continue to decline. (see FAQ 1 for more info).
  • The cost of energy storage technologies, which will help us be able to use renewables when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining, also continues to decline.
  • New advancements in the ability of large and small electricity users to shift usage towards times when electricity is cheaper and when the supply of renewables is most abundant are helping to make the grid more flexible and able to accommodate very high levels of renewable energy.
  • Grid operators around the western United States are coordinating to gain access to larger markets for renewables and other carbon-free flexible grid resources.
  • Targeting energy efficiency during times of the day when renewables are less abundant (like after the sun sets) will also help the grid operate more efficiently.


350 Bay Area
350 Sacramento
Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments
American Academy of Pediatrics, California
American College of Physicians – California Services Chapter
American Lung Association in California
American Wind Energy Association California Caucus
Asian Pacific Environmental Network
Audubon California
Berkshire Hathaway Energy
California Biomass Energy Alliance
California Black Health Network
California Coastal Protection Network
California Community Choice Association
California Compost Coalition
California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health
California Environmental Justice Alliance
California Interfaith Power & Light
California League of Conservation Voters
California Low Carbon Fuel and Energy Coalition
California Public Health Association – North
California ReLeaf
California Thoracic Society
California Wind Energy Association
Carbon Cycle Institute
Center for Climate Change and Health, Public Health Institute
Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice
Center for Sustainable Energy
Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment
City of Santa Monica
Clean Power Campaign
Clean Water Action
Climate Action Campaign
Controlled Thermal Resources
Dignity Health
Earth Justice
EDF Renewable Energy
Environment California
Environmental Defense Center
Environmental Defense Fund
First Solar, Inc.
Fix the Grid Coalition
Fossil Free California
Fresno Madera Medical Society
Friends of the Earth – US
Greenlining Institute
Health Care Without Harm
Health Group
Human Impact Partners
Office of Ratepayer Advocates
Imperial Irrigation District
Large-scale Solar Association
Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California
Merced Mariposa Asthma Coalition
Natural Resources Defense Council
NextGen California
Pesticide Action Network
Prevention Institute
Public Health Institute
Regional Asthma Management and Prevention
San Francisco Asthma Task Force
San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, Physicians for Social
Seventh Generation Advisors
Sierra Club California
Solar Energy Industries Association
Southern California Public Power Authority
The Trust for Public Land
U.S. Green Building Council
Union of Concerned Scientists
Vote Solar
Westlands Solar Park
Wholly H2O


Agricultural Council of California
Agricultural Energy Consumers Association
Almond Alliance
Association of California Egg Farmers
California Association of Wheat Growers
California Bean Shippers Association
California Blueberry Association
California Chamber of Commerce
California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association
California Dairies Inc.
California Farm Bureau Federation
California Fresh Fruit Association
California Grain and Feed Association
California Manufacturers & Technology Association
California Pear Grower Association
California Seed Association
California Warehouse Association
Milk Producers Council
Pacific Egg & Poultry Association
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Southern California Edison
Western Agricultural Processors Association
Western Growers Association