By 2045, California could get 100% of its electricity from zero-carbon sources. On Wednesday, the state senate voted to pass SB100, a bill that speeds up the current goals for renewable energy–the state will now aim to hit 50% renewable electricity by 2026, and 60% by 2030–and then targets 100% carbon-free production in 27 years.
If Jerry Brown signs the bill, the new law will be a big deal. “This is really a groundbreaking moment in the debate about how much we can replace fossil fuels,” says Bruce Nilles, a senior fellow at the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute.
The first goals that states set for renewable electricity over a decade ago were small–10%, 15%–and even then critics questioned whether it would be feasible to use so much clean power. More recently, Hawaii set an ambitious goal to move to 100% renewable electricity by 2045, and a commitment to become carbon neutral. But, as an island, Hawaii has a unique situation, and a much smaller population. California is the fifth largest economy in the world. Even some other countries with ambitious goals are working at smaller scales; Denmark, which aims to run on 100% renewable electricity by 2035, has a population about eight times smaller than California.