Amount of installed renewable energy is still small

For all the hoopla and attention that renewable energy gets, the amount of installed power is underwhelming, even in California.

Top five states for installed solar power

1. California: 971 MW
2. New Jersey: 293 MW
3. Colorado: 108 MW
4. Arizona: 101 MW
5. Nevada: 97 MW

A good-sized coal plant can generate 1 GW (1,000 MW) while a big nuclear plant can be 4-5 GW. California is by far the leader in solar power yet doesn’t even have 1 GW of solar.

California ISO, which has real time numbers on grid demand, shows demand on Sunday May 1 at at 26 GW. Their Renewables Watch for Saturday April 30 showed a peak production for all renewables at 4 GW. Bizarrely, California does not generally count large hydropower as renewable. Um, falling water powers turbines. How is that not renewable?

These charts show how California, the supposed leader, gets a rather small amount of its power from renewables. Even worse from a renewables and energy conservation viewpoint, a considerable amount of California power is “Imports,” which is power imported from other states. This is often from coal plants on Indian land because, hypocritically, coal plants are banned in California. So instead California imports coal power from hundreds of miles away while it acts green and squeaky clean renewable internally. The City of Los Angeles is a particular offender here. Yet California’s own numbers show it has a long way to go towards being truly powered by renewable energy.

Cal ISO renewable energy production. April 30
Cal ISO hourly energy production. April 30