February 5, 2021
The Honorable Gavin Newsom
c/o Alice Reynolds
Governor, State of California
State Capitol, First Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
Via electronic email
Subject: Urgent Action Needed to Provide Reliable Electricity Service and Restore California’s Leadership on Climate and Clean Energy
Dear Governor Newsom:
We write with a sense of urgency and a shared commitment to provide affordable and reliable electricity service, rebuild California’s economy, improve public health in disadvantaged
communities, and meet our immediate and long-term energy and climate requirements.
Your immediate action and engagement are necessary to appoint thoughtful and committed leaders to the CPUC, CEC, and CAISO, and to direct the State’s energy agencies to deploy,
procure, and plan for a diverse and complementary suite of renewable energy, storage, and transmission projects.
California’s agencies and the CAISO have confirmed that renewable energy was not the cause of the August 2020 outages during the west-wide heatwave: in fact, better planning and
procurement of a diverse set of clean technologies could have avoided or mitigated the outages. Despite the acknowledgement that clean energy and reliability can and must go hand-in-hand, the state is poised to authorize contract extensions and expansions for fossil fuel resources, many of which were set to retire last year and are located in disadvantaged communities. Without significantly accelerating deployment and procurement of clean energy and capacity to reliably replace these resources, this course of action runs contrary to California’s climate and environmental justice commitments.
Unfortunately, years of bureaucratic delay have caught up to us. California is not on track to achieve either SB100’s goals for zero-carbon electric sales by 2045 or E.O. B-55-18’s goal of a carbon neutral economy by 2045 because we aren’t buying the right amount and type of clean energy. California needs to buy enough clean energy to meet our existing electricy needs and then some to be able to electrify buildings and transportation – as called for under E.O. N-79-20. You and your cabinet have near term opportunities and decisions that will help the state reach these targets; as outlined in this letter, we urge immediate action.
The remedy is an immediate and sustained statewide effort to bring new renewable energy and storage online. The state must recognize the need for a diverse portfolio of clean and renewable sources such as distributed and utility-scale solar, land-based and offshore wind, and geothermal energy deployed in a manner responsive to the potential benefits to and burdens on disadvantaged communities. Storage and flexible demand side technologies can help accelerate this transition while enhancing reliability.