California is a state in the southeastern part of the USA, at the coast of the Pacific ocean, rich with natural resources and having a long history of renewable energy policies. The capital of California is Sacramento. Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and San Jose are among the state’s biggest cities.
California’s renewables market
As of 2009 wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and small hydro projects totaled 11.6% of the state’s energy mix, large hydroenergetic projects added 9.2% more.
California’s renewable energy policy
According to the amendments in the state legislature concerning renewable energy development, put into force by Governor Jerry Brown in 2015, California aims to make half of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 (or 33% by 2020, 40% by 2024 and 45% by 2027).
California Energy Commission
California Energy Commission is the state’s major body responsible for energy policies and planning, it is appointed by the Governor. The Commission projects future energy needs of the state, attempts to raise the state’s energy efficiency and supports respective R&D initiatives.
California Environmental Protection Agency, CalEPA
The California Environmental Protection Agency is a governmental agency which main function is to protect and enhance the state’s environment.
California Air Resources Board, CARB / ARB
The California Air Resources Board of the California Environmental Protection Agency is a governmental body developing and implementing policies to protect the state’s air from emissions and other types of pollution.
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program/mandate
The core of the ZEV program is the requirement that automakers sell a certain percent of zero emission or low emission vehicles in the state of California. The California Air Resources Board of the California Environmental Protection Agency is in charge of the program which is revised about every three years.
First time the government of California designed a ZEV program was in 1990. It required that ZEV vehicles (EV and FCV) should total 2% of all cars sold in California by 1998 and 3% – by 2003. In 1996 the debut program was totally revised under the pressure of automobile companies, and low emission HEVs were allowed. Soon a number of hybrid cars appeared on the market: GM EV1, Toyota EV RAV4, Ford Electric Ranger and Nissan Altra.
In 2001 the ZEV mandate was corrected once again. The California Air Resources Board set the goal of 10% for the following types of cars: 2% of ZEV (EV and FCV), 2% of HEV and 6% of low emission conventional fossil fuel cars. The latest amendments introduced in 2008 made plug-in HEVs especially popular.
Solar energy in California
As of mid-2016 California is the US leader in terms of installed solar energy capacities.
The history of solar energy development in the state dates back to 1979-1991, the years of operations of LUZ International company. The company built nine CSP solar plants in the desert of Mohave back then, some of them are still in use. The ancestor company LUZ II applied for a new solar plant in 2007, the first time in the state since 1989.
Advanced transport in California
The state of California is one of a few places in the world where EV sales are a success due to the state’s strict and consistent policies in the field of air protection (e.g. ZEV mandate – see above).