California ISO Hits an All-Time Peak of over 97% Renewables

The California Independent System Operator achieved a new milestone on April 3 when 97.6% of electricity on the grid came from clean, renewable energy, signaling more progress toward a carbon-free power grid.

May 04, 2022. By News Bureau

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) achieved a new milestone on April 3 when 97.6% of electricity on the grid came from clean, renewable energy, signaling more progress toward a carbon-free power grid.

The climax, which happened at 3:39 p.m., shattered the previous high of 96.4 %, which was recorded on March 27, 2022. Previously, the grid's clean electricity record was 94.5%, established on April 21, 2021. The new milestone comes as the ISO continues to incorporate increasing amounts of renewable energy into the system to help the state meet its clean energy targets.

“This new record is testament to the hard work and collaboration of many people, from policymakers to system operators,” said ISO President and CEO Elliot Mainzer. “While these all-time highs are for a brief time, they solidly demonstrate the advances being made to reliably achieve California’s clean energy goals.”

The new record, according to Ashutosh Bhagwat, head of the ISO Board of Governors, is a testimony to California's ambitious climate and sustainable energy policy goals.

“When we see renewable energy peaks like this, we are getting to re-imagine what the grid will look like for generations to come,” he said. “These moments help crystallize the vision of the modern, efficient and sustainable grid of the future.”

The system also reached a new solar record of 13,628 megawatts (MW) shortly after noon on April 8 and a new wind peak of 6,265 MW shortly before 3 p.m. on March 4.

Due to warm temperatures and the sun's angle, renewable maxima often occur in the spring, providing for a longer period of significant solar production. In April, according to ISO analysis, there is a chance for more renewable records.

The ISO has worked closely with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the California Energy Commission (CEC), and a diverse range of stakeholders to enhance market and transmission conditions to integrate more renewable energy. Over 15,000 MW of grid-connected solar power capacity and nearly 8,000 MW of wind power capacity are presently operational.
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