Renewable Energy at 23 Percent in California

For the first time, renewable energy sources represented as much as 23 percent of Southern California Edison’s (SCE) total monthly power sales this summer, with electricity coming from purchases of wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy, as well as power from small hydroelectric facilities.

Rosemead, California – September 2, 2003 [] “We have surpassed the state’s new 20 percent standard for utility renewable procurement 14 years early,” said SCE Chairman John E. Bryson Senate Bill (SB) 1078, adopted in fall 2002, requires California’s three investor-owned utilities to increase their procurement of electricity generated from renewable resources annually by one percent of retail sales until a target of 20 percent is reached by 2017. SCE is seeking to add cost-effective resources to its renewable power portfolio. The utility released today a Request For Offers (RFO) soliciting 10-year, 15-year, or 20-year contracts with renewable energy projects. On a hot summer day, SCE’s 4.5 million business and residential customers typically need more than 18,000 MW of electricity. (A MW is enough power to serve about 750 homes.) Approximately 150 independent renewable power producers currently under contract to SCE can generate more than 2,500 MW of the power utility customers need, more than the total amount of renewable power procured by all other California utilities combined. A comparison of U.S. renewable power procurers showed that SCE by itself procures approximately 13,000 GWh of renewable energy per year, more than any state except for California; California utilities lead the nation in renewable energy procurement purchasing a combined total of approximately 23,000 GWh per year; Florida ranks second nationally with approximately 5,000 GWh per year according to 2001 reports; and all U.S. utilities combined procure approximately 78,000 GWh of renewable energy per year, according to the 2001 reports. According to the report, the percentage of SCE power represented by renewable power providers reached a record 23 percent in June after setting a record of 22 percent in May. The percentage varies depending on factors such as customer demand and the availability of intermittent power sources such as solar, wind and hydropower.
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