California reaches 100 percent ‘renewable’ for a few minutes after electricity prices reach new heights

Wind and solar advocates recently celebrated California reaching 100 percent “renewable” energy for an entire 15 minutes, marking the first time this has ever happened after decades of investing tens of billions of dollars in wind and solar. USA Today reports:

“Once it hit 100%, we were very excited,” said Laura Deehan, executive director for Environment California. She said the organization and others have worked for 20 years to push the Golden State to complete renewable power via a series of ever tougher mandates. “California solar plants play a really big role.”

A celebratory moment for wind and solar advocates that came at the expense of California families and businesses concerned about the growing cost of electricity.

Wind and solar increased the price of electricity significantly

Electricity prices in California have increased by 52 percent since 2010, making them the fastest growing rates in the country. During this time, which is not at all a coincidence, California’s solar fleet increased from 400 MW to more than 15,000 MW, while wind increased another 3,000 MW.

These capacity additions cost tens of billions of dollars and caused electricity prices to skyrocket, as the figure below shows.

Indeed, celebrations over California reaching 100 percent “renewable” came after data from the energy information administration (EIA) show that California residential rates reached record highs in February 2022 (the most recent data available).

It did this by nearly 8 percent, and the trend is clearly upward.

This is similar to Minnesota, where electricity rates grew almost as fast as California’s due to a similar overspending on wind and solar facilities. The graph below shows the same trend for Minnesota’s largest electric utility company, Xcel Energy, as California above.

It’s time for successful policies, not California’s

Minnesota energy policy leaders have the unfortunate habit of copying California in almost every way possible (renewable mandates, low carbon fuel standards, etc.).

Now, the state’s largest utility company plans to continue this trend by investing billions of dollars in solar energy sources after the governor-appointed Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved its latest resource plan.

This is a big mistake.

California has some of the most expensive electricity rates in the country, in addition to one of the most unreliable electricity grids in the country and the developed world. This is caused by decades of failed planning from state energy policy leaders who have left the Golden State over-reliant on solar energy.

If solar energy leads to skyrocketing electricity prices for California families and businesses and an electricity grid prone to blackouts, it will only be worse in Minnesota. Especially considering that Minnesota gets much colder at night than California, and solar doesn’t work when the sun sets.

Minnesota electricity prices are already out of control. They will only get worse as long as our energy policy keeps mimicking California.