The development of renewable energy resources in California is a crucial step towards a cleaner and more sustainable future. The state has made considerable investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, which have spurred economic growth, created jobs, generated clean energy, and reduced utility bills. All energy sources have some impact on the environment, but renewable energy has the potential to produce large amounts of electricity with fewer impacts on land, water, wildlife, human health, and climate. The California Energy Sources Disclosure Program requires electricity providers to provide customers with information about the combination of generation resources used to provide their electricity, such as renewable energy, natural gas, large hydroelectric plants, and other resources.
Solar energy has been the fastest-growing segment of California's renewable energy portfolio over the past five years. This growth has been driven by federal policy and legislative action, such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The Department of Justice has taken action to ensure that construction labor market regulations are followed in states like Ohio, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Utah, Kentucky, Connecticut and California. As more renewable energy projects are developed in California, it is important for energy planners to consider the impacts on nature when making decisions about a clean energy future.
In addition to solar power plants, efficiency improvements in existing hydroelectric installations can also be qualified as renewable energy. State and federal policies have played an important role in encouraging the deployment of renewable energy in California. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that a penetration of wind and solar energy of 16.5% each would reduce carbon emissions from electricity generation by approximately one third. The Energy Commission jointly manages the state's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) with the California Public Utilities Commission to ensure that utility companies disclose their electricity supply portfolio to consumers and provide funding and programs to support the development of renewable energy. The boom in solar park construction in California over the past five years has created more than 15,000 new jobs. However, meeting California's ambitious renewable energy goals has come at a cost: solar power plants have been installed on millions of acres in the state, endangering irreplaceable habitat.
It is essential that we continue to develop renewable energy resources responsibly while protecting our environment.