California Paves the Way for Clean Energy with New SB 1020

Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy

By Ademar Barrera

Vallejo – California, on Sep. 16, 2022, Newsom signed the 100% Clean Electric Grid (SB 1020) bill which aims to reduce the state’s dependency on fossil fuels in three stages. The first goal is to increase the state’s green energy consumption to 90% by 2035, followed by a 5% increase for 2040, and be at 100% clean energy utilization by 2045. 


The implementation of this transformative bill shows California’s persistent attempts to mitigate the current climate crisis that is affecting everyone worldwide. SB 1020 was signed with the hopes that other states will follow, create their own climate change plan, and switch to more efficient energy sources in the future. California aims to become the catalyst for other state leaders to become more climate conscious and take responsibility for creating better energy resources.


SB 1020 makes California bound legally to follow the bill’s plan to increase clean energy consumption. The bill gives the state until 2045 to become carbon neutral while also cutting carbon emission by 85% by the same year. Such a deadline seeks to challenge the state to implement new and innovative energy conservation and consumption strategies within the given 23 year deadline. “We are not interested in investing in the industries that have created the problem,” Newsom said in Vallejo.


Newsom’s new bill will impact the five oil refineries that surround the Bay Area. The halt of these five carbon emitting plants will increase air quality for the surrounding East Bay cities of Rodeo, Richmond, Benicia, and Martinez. These refineries produce around “800,000 barrels of gasoline from crude oil a day.” The switch to clean energy will reduce the demand of crude oil processing and will positively impact the Bay Area by reducing the carbon footprint of these refineries.


At the local level, AC Transit has committed to join the clean energy movement and “transition public transit fleets to zero emissions by 2040.” This initiative from AC Transit, the most prominent method of transportation by students and staff at Berkeley, comes as a result of the call to action by Newsom towards a greener and clearer future. Berkeley locals will be positively impacted through better air quality and more environmentally conscious transportation in the city.


The zero emission vehicles already in use are “a fleet mix of 70% hydrogen fuel cell electric buses and 30% battery electric buses,” according to AC Transit. The circulation of these vehicles in the Bay Area shows the strong commitment and initiative from the cities to begin participating in the SB 1020 implementation with the goal to reach 100% clean energy use by 2045.

Ademar Barrera is an English major at the University of California, Berkeley, and a writer for the Vanguard’s Social Justice Desk.

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