The second part declares that the state's policy is to work toward eliminating fossil fuels from the electric grid and all agencies should make decisions with that goal in mind. It is more of a goal than a mandate. Unlike the renewable portfolio standard, there are no fines or penalties for utilities. It also is less restrictive on technology, allowing any carbon-free resources to qualify including large hydroelectric dams and nuclear power.
Kelley said the 100 percent standard "sets the destination, but it does not dictate the specific road map for getting there." But he said utilities would need to prioritize clean energy over fossil fuels when setting long-range plans for replacing or creating new generating capacity. He said the proposal would also set higher energy efficiency goals for utilities, but provide them with incentives to develop innovative new programs to help customers switch to cleaner energy. It also calls for more help for low-income households to heat and cool their homes more efficiently.
So it makes sense that so many people have a tendency to focus intensely on electric cars as the antidote to climate change. Unlike many other technologies that could prove significant -- such as cleaner energy production from fusion, or carbon capture and storage to reduce existing greenhouse gas -- even the nonscientists among us instantly grasp the idea of driving a car powered without oil. Moreover, the intuition is correct in many ways: In the U.S., as in many other countries, the transportation sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector. And over 90 percent of the fuel used in transportation is petroleum based. It therefore seems -- and is -- logical that if we can wean our own cars and trucks off of oil, our climate prospects will be dramatically improved.
The UK's electricity system recorded its "greenest" ever month in May after running without coal-fired electricity for a full calendar month. The National Grid, the energy system operator, said the country's sunniest spring on record helped generate enough solar power to reduce the carbon intensity of the grid to its lowest level ever recorded. The bright and breezy weather helped wind and solar power make up about 28% of Britain's electricity last month, narrowly behind gas-fired power generation, which made up 30% of the energy mix. Meanwhile, the record low demand for electricity during the coronavirus lockdown has left little room for the UK's last remaining coal power plants to play a role. Since April the UK's electricity system has run without coal-fired power for about 54 consecutive days, which has helped the carbon intensity of the electricity grid fall to the lowest average carbon intensity on record at 143 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour.
Britain is about to pass a significant landmark - at midnight on Wednesday it will have gone two full months without burning coal to generate power. A decade ago about 40% of the country's electricity came from coal; coronavirus is part of the story, but far from all. When Britain went into lockdown, electricity demand plummeted; the National Grid responded by taking power plants off the network. The four remaining coal-fired plants were among the first to be shut down. The last coal generator came off the system at midnight on 9 April.