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by Jeff St. John
August 31, 2018

Of all the energy and environmental legislation coming out of California’s expiring legislative session, none has gotten as much attention as SB 100 — the mandate to boost the state’s renewable portfolio standard targets from 50 to 60 percent by 2030, and more ambitiously, to reach 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2045.

So far, most of the debate over the 100 percent target has centered on how to replace the natural-gas-fired power plants that provide roughly one-third of the state’s energy, as well as its most reliable and flexible peak capacity, without disrupting the grid or driving energy costs sky-high. Most of the suggestions for solving this gigantic supply-side problem have also concentrated on large-scale, supply-side solutions — gigawatts of batteries, or big increases in geothermal power, or integrating resources and markets from across the Western United States, for example.

But on the demand side of the equation, SB 100 is largely silent.