SB 100, a bill now pending in the California legislature, would transition California to 100% zero-carbon, effectively all renewable, electricity by 2045. Our studies provide a way to do this for all energy sectors (electricity, transportation, heating/cooling, and industry). Robert Bryce, a Senior Fellow of the Manhattan Institute, a think tank that has been well funded by Koch Industries and ExxonMobil, incorrectly wrote in the Los Angeles Times on August 21, 2018, that transitioning California entirely to renewable energy would “wreck vast onshore and offshore territories with forests of wind turbines and sprawling solar projects.”
In fact, these are wildly exaggerated scare tactics. Bryce miscalculates spacing areas needed for wind, fails to realize solar can simultaneously be put on much of the same land as wind, and fails to compare the land footprint of solar with the land footprint of the fossil-fuel industry in California.
First, California has 105,000 active oil and gas wells with associated roads and local storage facilities; 10,200 vehicle fueling stations; 17 oil refineries; 37 large gas power plants; 1 coal plant; 11,800 miles of gas pipeline for import and export; 100,000 miles of gas pipeline to bring gas to customers or storage facilities in state; 10 natural gas storage facilities; and more. Together, the footprint of this fossil fuel infrastructure alone is at least 6,700 square kilometers (2,570 square miles), or about 1.6% of California’s land area. Little of this land footprint can be used for other purposes. It is dedicated fossil-fuel land.