California is recognized worldwide for transitioning its electricity system to one that relies increasingly on clean sources of energy, such as solar, wind, and geothermal. California has even established a 100 percent zero-carbon energy planning goal by 2045. The California Energy Commission plays a pivotal role in California’s development and adoption of renewable energy. The Energy Commission jointly administers the state’s landmark Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) with the California Public Utilities Commission, to ensure the state’s utilities disclose electricity supply portfolio to consumers, provides funding and programs to support renewable energy development, and tracks the state’s progress toward its renewable goals.
Growing California’s Renewable Energy Portfolio
California’s RPS is among the most ambitious clean energy policies in the nation. The RPS requires electric utilities and other load-serving entities to procure increasing amounts of renewable energy to serve customer demand. The RPS requires utilities to procure 33 percent of retail sales from renewable resources by 2020 and 60 percent by 2030. Additionally, the state has a commitment to achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2045. The Energy Commission certifies renewable resources as RPS-eligible, verifies the eligibility of all renewable electricity claimed toward the RPS, and determines compliance for more than 40 local publicly owned electric utilities.
Informing Consumers About Electricity
The Energy Commission is responsible for implementing California’s Power Source Disclosure Program, which requires electricity suppliers to provide simple and accurate information to customers about the mix of generation resources used to provide their electricity, such as renewables, natural gas, large hydroelectric, and other resources. Consumers receive a power content label each year with this information. Beginning in 2020, the power content label will include the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of each product electricity suppliers provide to customers.
Advancing Renewable Energy Markets
New Solar Homes Partnership
Established in 2006 as part of the California Solar Initiative, the New Solar Homes Partnership provides financial incentives and other support to home builders to encourage the installation of solar energy systems during construction. California is approaching one million solar systems on rooftops across the state.
The Energy Commission’s Geothermal Grant and Loan Program provides funding to promote geothermal energy resources, reduce adverse impacts, and help local jurisdictions provide public services necessitated by geothermal development. Since 1980, this program has provided $78 million to support geothermal development.
Renewable Energy in Agriculture
California’s agricultural sector is an important part of California’s identity and economy. The Energy Commission’s Renewable Energy for Agriculture Program is providing up to $10 million in grants to agricultural operations to install onsite renewable energy. These projects can reduce operational costs, increase energy reliability, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Helping Provide Consumer Confidence and Information
The Energy Commission publishes official listings of eligible solar equipment, including photovoltaic (PV) modules, inverters, meters, and other equipment, to provide performance and safety data required for solar incentive programs. The lists are recognized as the most reliable source of information for PV equipment in the United States. Investor-owned utilities use the list to support timely approval of applications for interconnection to their electric system. The listings provide consumer confidence that the renewable energy products installed in California are safe and high performing.
Tracking Renewable Energy Development
California has made tremendous progress in the transition to an economy powered by clean energy. Many of the state’s clean energy targets are being met ahead of schedule. The Energy Commission’s tracking progress report on renewable energy is updated regularly.