California is a leader in the United States when it comes to energy production, boasting a wide range of energy resources such as oil, hydroelectricity, solar energy, biomass and geothermal energy. Solar energy is one of the most abundant sources of energy available and can be produced through distributed generation, where energy is used close to where it is produced, or in a power plant and transmitted to a large number of consumers. The Mojave Desert is one of the most notable areas in California with great solar potential. Biomass energy has been used for centuries and is considered carbon neutral due to its renewable energy qualities.
Geothermal resources are not dependent on weather conditions or the time of day and can be found in remote areas of western states. Northern California has identified Lassen County, Round Mountain and Solano as viable sources of renewable resources. Southern California has also identified Santa Barbara, Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino counties as potential sources of wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy. To be considered a renewable resource in California, hydroelectric generation from existing facilities must generate only 30 megawatts or less (called “small hydropower”).
The Geysers geothermal resource area in Lake and Sonoma counties is home to the highest concentration of geothermal plants. The state of California has taken significant steps to promote renewable energy and abandon less secure energy resources. The state's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard defines several renewable energy resources as “eligible”. This act of promoting renewable energy has allowed this state to move towards environmentally friendly sources. California's abundant renewable energy resources provide an opportunity for the state to become a leader in clean energy production. By utilizing these resources, California can reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and create a more sustainable future for generations to come.