According to reports, California now gets about 5 percent of its electricity from wind power.
The majority of California’s electricity – 42 percent – comes from natural gas, followed by nuclear power and hydropower. According to 2010 figures from the California Energy Commission, wind made up 4.7 percent of the state’s electricity mix and solar was 0.3 percent. But in 2011, wind projects that generate 921 megawatts – enough electricity for more than 400,000 homes – were installed across the state, which the wind association says should put it above the long-sought-after 5 percent threshold.
For one of the most power intensive regions in the world, 5% is an excellent number at this stage of renewable evolution. What surprised me further was the tidbit that California had set an ambitious goal of getting 33 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020.
33%! That sounds way too ambitious, presuming hydro power is not considered in the renewables mix. While there are some European countries that do get significant portion of their power requirements from renewables (see here and here), for a consumerist paradise like California where people are more keen on coming up with the next big idea to make a billion than to save the planet, a 33% contribution from renewables would be fantastic indeed.
Of course, I’d be mighty surprised if they indeed achieve it, but this is one place I’d be glad to be wrong…