THE FUTURE OF ELECTRICITY IN CALIFORNIA
Sixty-six million years ago, an eight-mile-wide asteroid slammed into the Gulf of Mexico, near Chicxulub in the Yucatan. That impact abruptly ended the 180 million year-long Age of Reptiles, forever eliminating large dinosaurs from the Earth (the small ones evolved into birds). Today, the nation’s investor-owned utility power system is fragile and held together mostly by regulatory duct tape and private monopoly electrical utilities appear to be dinosaurs: an asteroid is on its way to wipe them out. By the middle of the 21st century—or perhaps sooner—these utilities will disappear, replaced by much smaller, more resilient, flexible and reliable smart renewable energy microgrids and battery storage, operated by public entities based in the communities that they serve.
Over the past decade, the cost of renewable electricity from wind and solar, with battery storage has declined radically. Solar photovoltaic microgrids with battery storage, load reduction and ancillary services offer a viable local and more near-term strategy for addressing the problems posed in California by the existing, privately-owned and operated power transmission and distribution system.
With such systems, communities and customers will no longer need to rely on large, far away, mostly carbon-powered utilities and generating plants. In place of a monolithic, top-down utilities, renewable microgrids offer a bottom-up solution that is far more stable, resilient, and compatible with widespread development of renewable energy resources and the necessary transition away from fossil fuels. The well-being of tens of millions of people will no longer be in the hands of a distant, profit-oriented utility but, rather, up to local owners, operators and decision-makers committed to their communities’ well-being.
SSRF is pursuing two community-based renewable electricity projects that will help California meet its climate and electrification goals and contribute to the ending of poverty in California. You can read about our Santa Cruz Community Energy System here and End Poverty in California with Solar here. Please contact SSRF if you have questions or would like to help us develop and pursue these projects.