Two people carrying an solar panel

Clean Energy

PG&E delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy, with goals that are in step with California’s evolving clean energy policy and standards.

We believe that an integrated and flexible approach will allow the state and PG&E to meet our long-term environmental goals, grow California’s economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a way that manages costs for customers, ensures electric reliability and gas safety, and creates a model for others to follow.

Our Approach

Ceres Clean Energy Benchmarking Report

PG&E recognized by Ceres for clean energy, energy efficiency success

PG&E earned a top ranking for delivering clean energy to customers and implementing effective energy efficiency programs, according to a Clean Energy Utility Benchmarking Report released by Ceres, a leading environmental sustainability advocacy organization. Clean-tech sector research and advisory firm Clean Edge co-produced the report. The study ranked 30 of the largest U.S. investor-owned electric companies on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

California has one of the highest renewable energy targets in the nation, benefitting from a “loading order” that prioritizes energy efficiency and renewable energy in meeting customer demand.

This includes Senate Bill (SB) 350, which increases the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 50 percent by 2030 and doubles state energy efficiency goals. PG&E supported SB 350 as an important step toward achieving California’s aggressive climate change and clean energy goals. PG&E also supported the bill’s challenging targets on energy efficiency, which we will strive to meet using our full array of tools and programs. We appreciated the bill’s efforts to advance discussions on electric vehicle adoption, which we view as key to California’s energy future, along with private solar installations and investments in smarter energy infrastructure.

We embrace the central role that California’s gas and electric providers can play in the state’s evolving energy needs. That’s why we have made clean energy a pillar of our business and are on track to meet California’s renewable energy target of 33 percent by the end of 2020, and to do so ahead of schedule.

Reflecting California’s changing energy landscape, PG&E announced in June 2016 a Joint Proposal with labor and leading environmental organizations that would increase PG&E’s investment in energy efficiency, renewables and storage beyond current state mandates while phasing out PG&E’s production of nuclear power in California by 2025. It includes PG&E’s commitment to a 55 percent renewable energy target in 2031, an unprecedented voluntary commitment by a major U.S. energy company.

California’s transition toward more renewable energy, as well as a smarter grid, has also spurred investment in energy storage technologies. California’s energy storage target requires investor-owned utilities to procure 1,325 MW of storage by 2020, with PG&E’s share at 580 MW. In 2015, PG&E presented our first 75 MW of energy storage contracts to the CPUC for review and approval.

Measuring Progress

More than 58 percent of the electricity that PG&E delivers to customers comes from greenhouse gas-free and renewable resources—helping achieve a carbon dioxide emissions rate two-thirds cleaner than the national utility average.

By the end of 2015, nearly 30 percent of the electricity that we delivered to our customers came from Renewable Portfolio Standard-eligible resources. The chart below shows our overall electricity supply mix for 2015, which included both the energy that PG&E generated and the energy that PG&E purchased from third parties on behalf of customers.

PG&E’s 2015 Electric Power Mix Delivered to Retail Customers Footnote 1
Eligible Renewable (see accompanying breakdown) 30%
Natural Gas 25%
Nuclear 23%
Large Hydroelectric 6%
Coal Footnote 2 0%
Other Footnote 3 0%
Unspecified Power Footnote 4 17%
  • 1. Due to rounding conventions, some data above sum to an amount greater or less than the totals provided. Return to table
  • 2. Refers to PG&E’s owned generation resources and electricity generated under contracts with third parties. Return to table
  • 3. Includes diesel oil and petroleum coke (a waste byproduct of oil refining). Return to table
  • 4. Refers to electricity generated that is not traceable to specific generation sources by any auditable contract trail. Return to table
Breakdown: Composition of PG&E’s 2015 Total Eligible Renewable Resources Footnote 1
Solar 38%
Wind 26%
Geothermal 17%
Biomass and Waste 15%
Eligible Hydroelectric 4%
  • 1. As defined in Senate Bill 1078, which created California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, an eligible renewable resource includes geothermal facilities, hydroelectric facilities with a capacity rating of 30 MW or less, biomass, selected municipal solid waste facilities, solar facilities and wind facilities. These figures are preliminary and will not be finalized until verified by the California Energy Commission. Return to table

Looking Ahead

By following the California loading order, adding renewable energy and leveraging emerging technologies, PG&E has proven that energy companies have a unique ability to achieve emissions reductions and accelerate the use of greenhouse gas-free resources—and to do so on a large scale.

Helms Powerhouse exterior and interior

Pursuing energy storage

Energy storage has been a part of PG&E’s power mix for decades, starting with the Helm’s Hydroelectric Facility and continuing with pilot projects such as the 2 MW battery storage pilot at PG&E’s Vacaville substation and the 4 MW battery system at a customer site in San Jose.

PG&E has also conducted a feasibility study to demonstrate the viability of advanced underground compressed air energy storage (CAES) technology, and we are exploring third-party offers to develop CAES projects in the future. As envisioned, the project would store large amounts of energy from resources such as variable renewable energy that may be generated at times when it is not needed by customers; this excess energy would be used to power large compressors to store the energy as high-pressure air in an underground reservoir. The air would then be withdrawn to power an industrial turbine generator set to produce electricity when demand is highest.

Photo by James Green





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