California is on the threshold of using 100 percent renewable power

We're talking one million solar rooftops.
Ameya Paleja
A solar farm in CaliforniaGaryKavanagh/iStock

Renewable sources of energy provided close to 100 percent of energy demands in the state of California on Saturday, Desert Sun reported.

Naturally, environmentalists celebrated this achievement, which was first reported as over 100 percent by an online energy tracker. 

California just shy of the 100 mark

California Independent System Operator (CAISO), a non-profit organization that tracks the state's bulk electric power system and electricity generated and transmitted by its utilities, had previously disclosed the state had achieved 101 percent of its power from renewables, the little excess being exported to neighboring states, per Desert Sun's report.

However, power officials in the state double-checked the data and adjusted it slightly due to battery charging and reserve levels, taking the number to 99.87 percent of the 18,672 megawatts load on Saturday. The number still beats the state's previous record of 97.58 percent, a spokesperson for CAISO confirmed to Desert Sun. The milestone lasted for a period of 15 minutes, after which renewables contribution dropped to 97 percent. 

The renewables break-up

12,391 MW or about two-thirds of the energy supplied came from the solar panels connected to the state's electrical grid while the rest came from wind, geothermal, and other renewable sources.  

Environmentalists in the state pushed for a law that mandates the state meet its entire energy demand with clean sources by 2045. This recent milestone is a big achievement for the environmentalists who also pushed for a million solar rooftops in the state rather than setting up solar farms. 

Hydropower in the state is less reliable due to the severe droughts the region has seen, while the state has also decided to shut down the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant by 2025, Electrek reported.  

California is still far away from being entirely independent of fossil fuels. It still runs its power plants that use natural gas but diverts the energy generated to other states when it has excess. 

However, Saturday's brief moment in the sun is a shot in the arm for the government and the environmentalists who want the state to be powered by 100 percent clean energy, 100 percent of the time. 

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