Pathways to a Cleaner Future: What California Can Learn From Other States

Even though California is leading the transition toward renewable energy in the United States, a Berkshire Hathaway Energy official believes there is a lot California can still learn from other states.

Jonathan M. Weisgall , who is vice president for governmental relations for Berkshire, made his remarks during a May 29 talk at the California Energy Commission.

“As a company, we are doing what we have been planning to do,” he said. “We have 40-year assets and we have been decarbonizing as a company for the better part of 15 years. We are not changing.”

Berkshire has already installed 4,000 megawatts of wind power in Iowa. The company is on track to install 2,000 more by 2020.

Iowa has the ninth lowest utility rates in the United States, and has had a single rate increase in the past 27 years, Weisgall said.

“The myth that renewables equate to higher costs for customers is just not the case,” he said.

It is not a government mandate or policy that is pushing renewable energy in Iowa, but a consumer pull. Renewables portfolio standards are not the only tool in the tool box, Weisgall said.

In 2017, the Energy Commission estimated that 30 percent of California’s electricity currently comes from renewable energy. California has the goal of sourcing 33 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2020 and 50 percent by 2030.

In Nevada, the renewables portfolio standard has been the driver towards renewable energy. The current goal is 25 percent by 2025. NV Energy, which is a Berkshire utility, is already at 23 percent renewable energy. Berkshire reduced its carbon emissions by 44 percent, and its coal output is down by 95 percent in the last 10 years, he said.

Decentralization of the industry may be a topic in California, but Weisgall stated “sometimes the big utility can get it done as well as anyone else.”

The focus for Berkshire in Nevada is “mitigating against the duck curve,” which is crucial to getting to 25 percent, he said.

The duck curve—named after its resemblance to a duck—shows the difference in electricity demand and the amount of available solar energy throughout the day.

Related Posts

Renewable Energy

California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
Powered by Blogger.