PG&E employee working on utility pole with windmills in background

Renewable Energy

The majority of PG&E’s clean energy comes from a large and expanding supply of renewable sources, including solar, wind, geothermal, small hydroelectric and various forms of bioenergy. We remain on track to meet or exceed the state’s clean energy goals, with nearly 30 percent of our delivered power coming from eligible renewable resources in 2015, and we have committed to a 55 percent renewable energy target in 2031, an unprecedented voluntary commitment by a major U.S. energy company.

Our Approach

PG&E uses a range of options to reach California’s renewable energy goals, including competitive solicitations to procure renewable energy from third parties and owning renewable energy projects ourselves. As we expand our clean energy portfolio, we work collaboratively with regulators, environmental organizations and other stakeholders to ensure that we achieve this growth in a way that is affordable for our customers.

California’s Renewable Energy Targets

PG&E supported Senate Bill (SB) 350, which increases the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 50 percent by 2030. We have made significant progress toward that goal, with nearly 30 percent of the energy delivered to customers coming from eligible renewable sources in 2015. This puts us well on our way to meeting California’s previously established target of 33 percent by the end of 2020. Importantly, SB 350 confirmed and expanded the flexibility to bank excess renewable energy procurement, which provides PG&E with the opportunity to secure the best renewable energy pricing available on the market for our customers.

2015 Milestones

In 2015, PG&E earned recognition for a variety of renewable energy development accomplishments:

  • The Solar Electric Power Association recognized PG&E for the most annual installed PV capacity for the seventh consecutive year.
  • Among investor-owned utilities, Ceres ranked PG&E second in providing renewable energy in its report, Benchmarking Utility Clean Energy Deployment.

PG&E added eight new long-term contracts to its portfolio of renewable energy supplies in 2015 through the Photovoltaic Request for Offers and the Renewable Auction Mechanism (RAM) program. These solar contracts represent 143 MW of renewable projects. In addition to providing customers with more renewable energy, many of these projects also have a positive economic effect on surrounding communities.

In addition, two large projects under contract were completed in 2015:

  • Copper Mountain II. Located in Clark County, Nevada, this 150 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project was built by First Solar. The final 58 MW became operational in 2015, following the first 92 MW which achieved commercial operation in 2012.
  • North Star Solar. This 60 MW PV facility in Fresno County was built by Southern Power and First Solar and also achieved commercial operation in 2015.

Measuring Progress

We continued our progress toward meeting California’s renewable energy mandate. By the end of 2015, nearly 30 percent of the electricity delivered to our customers came from RPS-eligible resources. California’s RPS is measured by the percentage of total retail sales that come from RPS-eligible resources.

The majority of our renewable resources come from contracts with third-party renewable energy companies. Overall, PG&E has contracted for more than 12,500 MW of RPS-eligible energy since the start of California’s RPS program in 2002. PG&E’s RPS-eligible portfolio includes more than 7,400 MW of active contracts through January 2016; approximately 6,600 MW of these are delivering energy to PG&E, with about 800 MW under development as of January 2016.

Renewable Portfolio Standard—Active Contracts as of January 2016 Footnote 1
Type Number MW % By Count % By Capacity
Total 285 7,469 100% 100%
Bioenergy 31 530 11% 7%
Geothermal 4 447 1% 6%
Small Hydro 91 316 32% 4%
Solar PV 123 3,394 43% 45%
Solar Thermal 4 741 1% 10%
Wind 32 2,042 11% 27%
  • 1. Includes new RPS procurement through the RPS, RAM, RAM for PV Program, PV Request for Offers, Qualified Facilities, Renewable Energy Market Adjusting Tariff / Feed-in Tariff (ReMAT/FiT), Renewable Energy Credit only, and Etiwanda Irrigation District Water Authority. Excludes utility-owned generation, terminated contracts, and expired contracts. Return to table

PG&E also saw growth in the number of signed contracts from its Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program, which offers a standard form contract and payment for renewable projects up to 3 MW within our service area. PG&E’s portfolio includes 10 FIT contracts that were executed in 2015, representing 15 MW of RPS-eligible capacity.

Looking Ahead

PG&E is committed to working with policymakers, regulators, customers and other stakeholders to continue California’s strong growth in renewable energy. Key to this growth is getting the policies right.

Today, technology and market forces are evolving faster than the regulatory framework. Addressing this gap will require taking a holistic view that balances growth in renewables with the need to manage costs for customers and recognize the early investments by PG&E and others in clean-energy technologies that helped nurture the market to evolve. It also requires keeping the focus on the fundamental goal of reducing carbon emissions.

Additionally, as we transition to an economy where energy is generated and used differently, the energy grid will need to be valued in ways that reflect the services provided, rather than the amount of energy delivered. That will mean moving toward a rate structure where energy companies are compensated for the grid services that they provide to customers, and customers receive clear value for what they bring to the energy grid, from private solar installations to electric vehicles.

This approach would enable PG&E to find the most viable renewable energy options and apply them to the greatest effect while safely and reliably providing the best value for customers.





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