Governor Newsom Calls for Expediting Clean Energy Goals in the Backdrop of State Wildfires

Published On: September 11, 2020

Today, Governor Gavin Newsom, while touring the wildfire devastation in Butte County, called on the state to accelerate its climate change responses.

During his press briefing remarks, Governor Newsom exclaimed, “This is a climate damn emergency. This is real, and it’s happening.”

“People that want to roll back vehicle emission standards so you could spend more money at the pump and produce more greenhouse gas emissions, to create more of what you see around me — it’s beyond the pale of comprehension. We’re fighting against that and will prevail as long as more people come to this cause.”

With his Secretaries of Environmental Protection and Resources behind him, he called on agencies to do more on the climate change issue and accelerate low carbon targets.

Newsom said, “We’re going to have to do more, and we’re going to have to fast track our efforts.”

During the media question and answer period, Governor Newsom was asked about extending the once-through cooling facilities and if the decision was a mistake.

The Governor responded, “It was absolutely not a mistake. It was the right thing to do. Three plants will be extended for three additional years: one, the Redondo plant for one year.

“It was necessary in order to create and provide for reliability.

“We’re simply coming too close in terms of megawatt peak usage and load, and we need to address reliability, particularly moving into the new year 2021, 2022. So absolutely, it was the right decision to do. While you have a small step back, we’re going to make giant leaps forward to make that negligible in the context of our total overall strategies.”

The Governor was also asked if California should change the goal of 100% clean energy by 2045.

“I think 2045 is too late. So absolutely, we are looking to fast track all of these efforts across the spectrum across the board. We’ve already reached our RPS portfolio goal in 2018 of 34%. It was a 33% goal, ahead of the 2020 deadline, proving California can move into the future and grow its economy.

“We, accordingly, are generating over 50% of all of our electricity from non-fossil fuel sources, those include hydroelectricity and the nuclear that we are generating. That’s not part of the RPS, but nonetheless, it gives you a sense of the totality of California’s efforts moving in this space. So think that we not only up to the challenge; we are more than capable of achieving more audacious goals. And so we are currently in the process of putting together new ideas, new strategies to accelerate our efforts, accelerate the application and implementation of commitments we previously made and to look at these goals these stretch goals of 2045 and pull them closer to the future.”

While Governor Newsom claims that California has already achieved its 2020 RPS goals, figures from the Energy Commission show that California is close to meeting its goals but has yet to reach the 33% goal.


About the Author: Matt Ross

Matt Ross is a Senior Consultant in the energy industry and has more than a dozen years of experience in state government. He can be reached at matt at