California to boost solar and wind capacity to meet renewable goals


The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) region plans to increase its solar and wind power capacity in 2021 to help meet the state’s target of 50% renewable generation by 2025, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). To learn more, read, “California to boost solar and wind capacity to meet renewable goals.”

Key Takeaways:

  • The CAISO plans to add an additional 1.6 gigawatts (GW) of utility-scale solar capacity, 0.4 GW of onshore wind turbine capacity and 2.5 GW of battery storage capacity this year, the EIA said.
    • These batteries could be charged using renewable power generation that would otherwise have been curtailed.
  • Additionally, two projects are being developed to facilitate hydrogen production and hydrogen-based energy storage, which could also help reduce curtailments of excess solar output.
  • Excess supply from renewable sources has prompted the grid to increasingly curtail solar and wind generation at times, even as it struggles to balance its clean energy push with the need to boost tight power supplies and avoid rolling blackouts amid heatwaves.

Path to 100% Perspective: 

California can reach its goal of serving 100% of retail load with renewable energy. However, this cannot be achieved with its current portfolio of resources. The rolling blackouts in summer 2020 show that California needs additional resources to supplement the tools already in place. More specifically, California needs new resources that complement the wind, solar, and hydro needed for a shift to a 100% renewable electricity system. Slow ramping, long start, baseload resources must be replaced by faster, more flexible resources that are capable of running on sustainable fuels. Sustainable fuels produced by excess wind and solar energy, plus storage resources, can enable California to cleanly and reliably shift energy from low-net loads to high-net loads.


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