California and Nevada have established ambitious sustainability goals, and solar energy is set to play a big part in their move toward a greener future. With this in mind, both California and Nevada have embarked upon partnerships with 8minute Solar Energy, the largest solar and storage developer in the U.S.
- California and Nevada are working with 8minute to develop huge solar farms.
- The farm being developed in Nevada is expected to be the largest solar and battery energy storage project ever built in that state.
- The California farm is expected to the the largest solar and battery energy storage facility in the nation.
The solar farms will allow both states to deliver clean power at prices that are well below the cost of energy generated by fossil fuels. The Los Angeles Times reports that the California farm is expected to offer solar power and energy storage at 3.3 cents per kilowatt-hour. That represents a record low for a contract like this. These deals will help both these states meet goals that have been signed into law.
Both California and Nevada are turning to solar energy in an effort to generate cleaner electricity. (Photo: 8minute)
Following the law
In California, a bill was signed that requires the state to get its energy from sources that are 100 percent renewable by 2045. In Los Angeles, 31 percent of the energy generated already comes from clean sources. This new farm would boost than number to about 38 percent. Back in April of this year, Nevada passed a bill that requires the state to get 50 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2030, with this number rising to 100 percent by 2050.
Both California and Nevada join a growing number of states that are bumping up their mandated targets when it comes to sustainable energy generation.
Activism to the rescue
In California, the deal reflects the power of activism to shape the choices made by our government. The deal’s approval had initially been delayed. This came in response to concerns raised by the union representing workers at the Department of Water and Power (DWP), Los Angeles’ city-run utility.
Climate change activists took up the cause. Protestors from environmental groups such as the Sunrise Movement, Food & Water Watch and Democratic Socialists of America rallied in front of the DWP’s downtown headquarters. They also showed up in large numbers at the board meeting in an effort to push the deal forward, pointing out that California’s tragic wildfires are evidence of how much the state has suffered due to climate change. They noted that Los Angeles could set a powerful example for the rest of the nation by taking steps to quickly transition away from fossil fuels. After approving the contract, California’s state commissioners noted that they were partially motivated by climate change activists.
Natural gas is often seen as being a more eco-friendly alternative to oil. But it comes with certain risks, as is evidenced by events that have played out in California. In L.A.’s Porter Ranch neighborhood, there was a huge methane leak a few years ago from Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon storage field. PBS reports that the leak was officially the worst in our nation’s history, and it caused residents living nearby to suffer a host of health issues. Activists point out that clean solar energy is free of these potential pollution hazards.
Solar power can help generate the electricity needed to fuel EVs. (Photo:Chad Russell/Pexels)
Solar energy and mobility
The move toward solar energy supports efforts made by California and Nevada to grow EV infrastructure. The Nevada Public Utilities Commission approved the state’s first electric vehicle infrastructure program back mid-2018. The program authorizes $15 million to incentivize the development of public charging stations. And California recently completed a project called Drive the ARC (Advanced Recharging Corridor). This project placed 57 high-speed chargers along 26 locations on the state’s major roadways. The network of chargers covers about 300 miles, linking Monterey on the Central Coast to Lake Tahoe on the state’s northeast edge.
As EV popularity grows in both California and Nevada, more demands will be placed on their electrical grids. Solar energy can help ensure that both these states have the resources necessary to rise to this challenge.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Many people who own electric cars make the purchase to do something good for the environment. But for electricity to be clean, it needs to be generated in a sustainable way, and sustainability depends entirely on state legislation. In Nevada, for example, natural gas makes up almost 70 percent of the state’s net electricity generation. Nine percent of Nevada’s electric power is generated by the state’s last remaining coal plant, which is set to close in 2025. If you live in either California or Nevada, these deals help ensure that the energy used to power your efficient EV is being generated in a clean and green way.