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California Governor Jerry Brown appeared to be setting lofty energy goals for the State in late 2015, when he signed into law a set of mandates that would aim to see California get 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. At the signing ceremony Governor Brown had stressed the importance of moving away from fossil fuels and onto renewable energy sources, telling local news outlet SFGate, “We’ve got to realize that we are here today because of oil — oil and gas, [and] to a lesser extent, coal. What has been the source of our prosperity has become the source of our ultimate destruction, if we don’t get off of it.”

A recent report from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) shows that California’s three largest energy providers all met or surpassed the 25 percent requirement for 2016. Based on the consistent reduction of costs in moving to solar, wind, and other clean renewables, the CPUC believes that the State can hit its goal of 50 percent by as early as 2020. California is still looking for other methods to expedite the reduction in fossil fuels and help the State reach its climate goals, even considering a ban on the sale of non-electric cars.

In the past decade Governors in the Golden State have progressively raised the usage requirements for renewable energy sources, so that by 2008 the overall emissions began to decline and have only continued in that direction since. As new solar plants and wind farms began to populate the State the price of solar energy dropped dramatically, with the cost of solar energy reduced by 77 percent between 2010 and 2016 (with wind being reduced by 47 percent over the same period).

Since as early as 2002 California has been a trendsetter in the push for States to rely more on renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels. While 29 States in total have so far adopted renewable energy portfolio plans for the future, few have aspired to reach such high renewable energy targets as California. Only Hawaii has more aggressive renewable energy goals, aiming for all utilities to get 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2045.

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