Solar, Wind Power

Ten-Fold Increase for California Renewables

In keeping with its stature as a world leader in clean electricity production, California continues to aggressively pursue the development of renewable energy resources, said a report adopted Wednesday by the California Energy Commission.

Sacramento, California – December 4, 2003 [] The document, Renewable Resources Development Report, was submitted to the Legislature yesterday, as required by law. The report, required as part of California’s new Renewable Portfolio Standard policy enacted by Senate Bills 1078 and 1038 in 2002, concluded that California’s renewable electricity opportunities and those in adjacent states were plentiful. The report estimated that California could produce 10 times more renewable electricity than generated today in the State. About 11 percent or roughly 30 billion kWhs of the state’s total electricity production today comes from renewable resources derived mainly from geothermal heat, biomass, wind and solar energy. In addition, the report concluded that cost trends for production of renewable electricity suggest that the Renewable Portfolio Standard policy is economically feasible. The report indicated that many renewable technologies are close to cost parity with conventional power sources, and that renewable costs have been declining and will continue to do so. California is home to three of the largest developed wind resource areas in the world and has the largest developed wind industry in the United States. California also leads the nation in producing electricity from concentrating solar power facilities (focusing the sun’s heat with large mirrors to generate electricity). It is also the third largest market in the world for photovoltaic (PV) energy, and has 10 times more solar photovoltaic capacity installed than any other state. Solar PV is the fastest growing energy source in California, surging from 10 MW installed in 2000 to over 50 MW today. As noted in the report, the Legislature created the Renewables Portfolio Standard in 2002, which requires that 20 percent of retail electricity sales be met with renewable sources by 2017. The report also notes that the Energy Commission, the California Public Utilities Commission, and the California Power Authority have adopted an Energy Action Plan that accelerates the RPS target of reaching 20 percent renewable generation to 2010. The report identifies driving policy issues underlying renewable development. These include reducing the State’s reliance on fossil fuels, increasing electricity system reliability, and reducing the State’s contribution to global climate change and local pollution problems. In addition, the report identifies issues that may impact the success of the RPS policy, including transmission constraints and the adequacy of public goods charge funds to help cover above-market costs for meeting the RPS. The final “Renewable Resources Development Report” is available on the California Energy Commission’s website at the link below.