Sacramento - There will be enough renewable electricity
generation in California to allow the state's investor-owned
utility companies to meet a mandated 20 percent renewable
energy requirement by 2017, according to the California
The Commission has released a staff preliminary assessment
of expected electricity supplies from wind, geothermal,
biomass, solar, and other renewable sources within
California. Commission staff made the preliminary
assessment to help the California Public Utilities
Commission (CPUC) develop a renewable energy transmission
plan to bring renewable energy to consumers.
Senate Bill 1078, authored by Senator Byron Sher
(D-Palo Alto), established the Renewables Portfolio
Standard (RPS) for California. It requires a retail
seller of electricity (investor owned utilities and
direct access providers) to increase their use of
renewable resources by at least one percent per year,
until 20 percent of their retail sales is procured
from renewables by 2017.
"California's abundance of commercially
available renewable resources would suggest that our
20 percent goal could largely be achieved from projects
that have already been proposed," said Commissioner
John Geesman, chair of the Commission's Renewables
Committee. "We have within our grasp the ability
to change California's electricity supply mix."
By nearly doubling the state's existing base
of renewable resources, the RPS will help decrease
California's dependence on natural gas-fired
power plants. Adding renewables to the system can
also improve air quality by reducing emissions, including
Senate Bill 1038, also authored by Senator Sher,
requires the CPUC to develop a comprehensive transmission
plan for renewable electricity generation facilities.
The bill also requires the Energy Commission to develop
a final renewable energy resources appraisal that
describes California's renewable resource potential.
Both documents must be submitted to the state legislature
by December 1, 2003.
The Commission's preliminary assessment will
help the CPUC target its transmission plans by the
type of energy resources produced in areas like Tehachapi,
the Salton Sea, San Gorgonio Pass, Altamont Pass,
and Siskiyou County.
Commission staff estimate that by 2017, the state's
investor owned utilities and energy service providers
will require an additional 21,000 gigawatt-hours a
year of renewable electricity generation to meet the
20 percent RPS target.
The preliminary assessment noted that renewable energy
projects already in various stages of development
could provide as much as 25,000 gigawatt-hours per
year, more than enough to meet the RPS demand. In
addition, staff said that in-state renewable energy
production could meet the RPS goal without exhausting
California's total potential wind, geothermal,
biomass, and solar energy resources.
The Commission's preliminary assessment is available
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