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About the Business

Renewable Energy

10,400+

megawatts

Eligible renewable energy resources under contract since the start of California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard program

PG&E’s clean energy includes a wide range of renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, small hydro and various forms of bioenergy. We use a variety of approaches to achieve California’s ambitious renewable energy goals, including using competitive solicitations to procure renewable energy from third-parties and developing and owning renewables projects ourselves.

By working collaboratively with regulators, environmental organizations and other stakeholders, we have developed a meaningful policy framework to encourage technology development and take other important steps that will allow us to increase supplies of renewable energy. Our objective is to achieve these goals in a manner that adequately maintains affordability for our customers.

Progress Toward California’s Renewable Energy Targets

California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) sets a target for the state’s investor-owned utilities, publicly-owned utilities, energy service providers and community choice aggregators to deliver 33 percent of their electricity from eligible renewable resources by the end of 2020. The target is measured by the percentage of total retail sales that come from RPS-eligible resources.

Under the RPS mandate, PG&E and other retail sellers may use a flexible “stair step” approach of increasing targets that ultimately climb to a 33 percent annual requirement.

California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard

RPS chart

PG&E is fully committed—and is well on its way—to meeting the RPS mandate. (Watch a video to learn more.) By the end of 2012, 19 percent of the electricity we delivered to our customers came from RPS-eligible resources. PG&E expects to achieve the first compliance period mandate, and to meet and sustain the 33 percent mandate by 2021 and beyond. The majority of the renewable resources will come from contracts with third-party renewable energy companies.

PG&E supports the use of renewable energy while recognizing that increased deployment of renewables presents challenges, including higher costs and operational impacts related to the integration of renewables into the grid. Accordingly, we advocate for RPS policies that help mitigate these risks to provide flexibility and help minimize costs to our customers.

Contracting for Renewable Energy

PG&E sources most of its renewable energy through contracts with third parties. PG&E held three separate solicitations for renewable power resources in 2012:

Solar panel farm

Once completed, the 290 MW Agua Caliente solar project in Arizona will be one of the world’s largest operating photovoltaic power plants.

  • We issued our Renewables Request for Offers (RFO) and sought to procure approximately 1,000 GWh of renewable energy under long-term agreements. In 2013, we expect to execute contracts resulting from this solicitation that offer the best value, viability and fit and will file them with the CPUC for approval.
  • We issued our second and third Renewable Auction Mechanism RFO for projects up to 20 MW in size. As a result, we signed 14 contracts for more than 250 MW of geothermal, wind and solar resources.
  • We issued our second RFO for solar photovoltaic (PV) power, seeking to sign power purchase agreements with facilities 1 to 20 MW in size. We signed six contracts for more than 40 MW of solar power.

In total, PG&E added 30 new long-term contracts to its portfolio of renewable energy supplies in 2012. These contracts represent more than 580 MW of renewable projects, including solar, wind, bioenergy, geothermal and small hydro.

Overall, PG&E has contracted for more than 10,400 MW of RPS-eligible energy since the start of California’s RPS program in 2002, including more than 7,500 MW of active contracts through the first quarter of 2013. Approximately 3,800 MW of these are delivering to PG&E and an additional 3,700 MW are under development.

Renewable Portfolio Standard—Contracts Signed 2002 – 20121

Number of Contracts Signed - 141
MW Total - 10,420
Contracts Signed By Count
Contracts Signed By Capacity

TIP: Click on the items in the chart legend to selectively remove or restore chart data.

1The table includes terminated, expired and CPUC-rejected contracts and does not include Feed-In Tariff (AB1969) power purchase agreements and amended post-2002 qualifying facility contracts signed in 2012.

PG&E also saw growth in the number of signed contracts from its Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program. The FIT program offers a standard form contract and payment for renewable projects up to 1.5 MW. In 2012, we executed 14 FIT contracts representing approximately 14 MW of RPS-eligible energy. In response to new legislation, PG&E is also working to update the existing FIT program to accommodate renewable generation up to 3 MW.

Ownership of Renewables

PG&E is committed to bringing more renewables online for our customers as quickly and affordably as possible. As part of this commitment, we developed and own more than 150 MW of new solar PV generation. The projects range from 1 to 20 MW per project and are located near PG&E substations in central California.

Cantua Solar Station in Fresno County
The 20 MW Cantua Solar Station in Fresno County is one of the solar stations owned and operated by PG&E.

In 2012, brought three solar projects online in Fresno County—the 20 MW Cantua Solar Station, 20 MW Huron Solar Station and the 10 MW Giffen Solar Station—that together are designed to produce enough electricity to power about 15,000 homes.

In 2013, PG&E constructed an additional three solar PV facilities for another 50 MW to complete the program’s third and final year. These projects include two in Fresno County and one in Kings County.

As we developed new utility-owned solar power, we leveraged the expertise of diverse suppliers. We also worked proactively with federal, state and regional agencies to avoid and minimize potential impacts to sensitive species. This included siting the projects on previously disturbed land, conducting biological studies of the property and constructing fences around the perimeter that provide a small gap at the bottom for sensitive species to pass through.

Working Collaboratively to Address Challenges

PG&E continues to participate in multiple forums to help shape sound energy policy solutions to meet the challenges California faces with respect to renewable resource development and interconnection.

For example, we actively participate in the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) stakeholder groups. When complete, the DRECP will provide a comprehensive approach to siting renewable projects in areas most suitable for development while setting aside sensitive desert habitat for wildlife preserves. We also continue to participate in the California Transmission Planning Group, a forum to share and coordinate electric transmission plans among California’s public and private utilities and support efficient and cost effective transmission solutions.

PG&E also continues to work collaboratively with the CPUC as the agency implements the 33 percent RPS legislation and other renewable energy programs. PG&E is challenged to ensure that the renewable energy it procures for customers is cost-effective and affordable. Therefore, a key priority for PG&E is to work with stakeholders and advocate compliance rules that help contain costs for our customers.