New York and California Are Leading in Renewable Energy

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New York and California Are Leading in Renewable Energy

For many years, California has been a leader in renewable energy, accounting for almost half of all solar energy installations in the United States and currently operating a number of solar installations four times the national average (per capita). Now, together with New York, California is setting a lofty goal for their future of renewable energy.

In California, SB 350 is known colloquially as the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015, and it sets two massive goals for the state’s future of renewable energy. First, California aims to have renewable forms of energy (like wind and solar) account for 33 percent of its total energy consumption by 2020. Next, it aims to have them account for 50 percent of its energy consumption by 2030. Fifty percent may not seem like much, but to achieve that level of dependency in a mere 15 years is a significant jump. Along with introducing new wind and solar installations for both commercial and residential applications, California also seeks to reduce the total amount of petroleum use, especially in transportation applications.

One of the most significant renewable installations in the state is rooftop solar energy, but because it is categorized as an “unbundled REC,” it will not count toward the legislation’s target of renewable energy reliance. Proponents of rooftop solar are pressuring California legislators to re-categorize this application, or else do away with the categorization system altogether. Either way, this act would the creation of additional technologies like AI and ML, the influence of more corporations, and the hiring of a greater workforce to develop and install new renewable sources of energy throughout the state. However, newer tech in AI & ML here may have a long way to go.

It should be noted that this legislation has not yet been officially passed—it has been approved by the Senate and is currently in the State Assembly.

On the other side of the country, New York is pushing for an identical goal—50 percent reliance on renewable sources of energy by 2030. Currently, the state only uses renewable sources for roughly 25 percent of its needs. Major utility companies are starting to get on board with the program, vowing to create more solar and wind farms throughout the state in order to generate clean, reliable energy for their customers. In order to maximize the cost-efficiency of such installations, many utility companies are seeking cheaper, more efficient long-term designs for installations, motivating new growth in the core technologies responsible for this energy generation.

American citizens have long been interested, if not enthusiastic, about renewable sources of energy. The long-term benefits of wind and solar energy, over fossil fuels and non-renewable resources, is well-understood and met with general acceptance. What has been lacking is a critical motivating force to begin the transition from non-renewable to renewable sources of energy. Now, California and New York are making that push, motivating utility companies and corporations to take action and driving new growth in green technology. It’s only a matter of time before other states follow suit, and the country can start moving faster toward total renewable energy dependence.