Meeting California’s goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2045 while also ensuring affordable and reliable power is a tremendous challenge. This white paper explores a new path that would enable California to meet its goal of 100% clean electricity by 2040 — five years ahead of schedule — slashing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution along the way. Compared to current plans, this path optimizes the number of wind farms and solar installations built in the state, saving billions of dollars and alleviating land-use and grid construction pressures. The proposed pathway features flexible thermal generation that can run on carbon-neutral fuel produced with excess solar and wind energy. Together with energy storage, flexible generation can ensure affordable, reliable electricity supply and a net-zero-carbon future.