California is going to be the nation's first state to get 85% or more of its power from renewables (not counting large hydro) and natural gas.
California gets approximately 57% of its electricity from gas or twice the national average of 24%. America also gets 45% of its electricity from coal and California basically zero.
Secretary Chu joined California Governor Brown at a solar manufacturing plant to sign into a law a huge jump in California's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard. Raising the standard from 20%, the new law requires 33% by 2020.
If California meets its renewable target in 2020, California will likely be getting 85% or more of its power from gas and renewables, making it the first state to transition almost completely to these fuels from coal.
What are California's odds of meeting its aggressive 33% renewables target. Pretty good, with renewables providing 20% of its power now and with solar thermal plants using the excellent California sunshine resource to generate power at prices competitive with new natural gas plants. See the first post in this blog: "Bigger Than Marcellus."
Today large hydro provides 12% of power and nuclear power about 15% of California's power, but the earthquake concerns have cast a cloud over the future of Diablo canyon and some other reactors in the state.
The trends in California are apparent nationally as both the national shares of power production by gas and renewables increase quickly. America's electricity profile will look like California's in 20 years.