Utilities Reach 20% Renewables Line

By Published On: August 3, 2012

While not grabbing the gold, the state’s three investor-owned utilities last year reached the 20 percent renewable power mandate, according to a July 31 California Public Utilities Commission report to the Legislature. “Since 2003, 2,871 MW of new renewable capacity achieved commercial operation under the [Renewables Portfolio Standards] program. Over 300 MW of new renewable capacity came online in the first two quarters of 2012,” states the report covering the first half of this year. Pacific Gas & Electric served 20.1 percent of its retail sales with renewable resources in 2011. Southern California Edison’s portfolio was 21.1 percent renewables. San Diego Gas & Electric supplies were 20.8 percent non-fossil, according to the CPUC. The initial one-fifth alternative energy deadline was 2010. Not one of the private utilities met that renewables mandate. The deadline was extended. In addition, the requisite renewable levels were increased to 33 percent by 2020. This year to date, regulators have approved 36 alternative energy deals. Most of those were pursuant to regulators’ streamlined auction process for smaller projects. This Renewable Auction Mechanism, which provides market-based prices, applies to renewable projects between 3 MW and 20 MW. The auction mechanism was created in response to complaints that the processing of renewable deals was too belabored (Current, Aug. 19, 2011). PG&E, Edison, and SDG&E are to procure in four separate auctions 1,299 MW from smaller renewable projects.

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