California has frozen development on any more renewable energy sources as it wrestles with what to do with all the extra electricity it’s currently producing, Quartz reported.
Solar energy production has risen from less than one percent of California’s energy mix in 2010 to around 10 percent in 2017. On certain days when conditions are favorable, solar has supplied as much as half the energy used by Californians, according to Quartz.
The California Public Utilities Commission has proposed the state hold off on any further investment into renewable energy as individuals and businesses throughout the state continue to buy their own private sources of energy, such as solar panels secured to the tops of buildings. As more individuals invest in private energy, demand on the state’s grid lessens, Greentech Media reported.
California also has trouble predicting how much renewable energy will be needed at a certain time and controlling the power supplied. On several occasions, California paid Arizona utilities and others to take excess solar energy to avoid overloading its own grid, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“It’s really disappointing,” Independent Energy Producers Association CEO Jan Smutny-Jones told Greentech Media about California’s decision to halt renewable energy investment. “They’re basically saying, ‘There’s too much going on; we don’t know what to do, so we’re not going to do anything for a while.'”
A mixture of popular sentiment and legislation has led to California investing heavily in renewable energy in recent years. The heavy investment has been hard for ratepayers, however, as their energy bill has increased to 50 percent more than the national average, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Renewable energy also poses another hurdle in its predictability. For solar and wind, the energy produced relies on the weather, which is predictable to an extent and impossible to control. The inconsistency with which renewables produce power is one of the reasons California state taxpayers have footed the bill for their state’s energy to be pushed out to neighboring states.
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