PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2017

Renewable Energy

PG&E offers customers some of the cleanest energy in the country. Today, nearly a third of our delivered power comes from renewable sources, including solar, wind, geothermal, small hydroelectric and various forms of bioenergy. We remain on track to meet the state’s bold clean energy goals, which call for 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. In fact, as part of our Diablo Canyon Power Plant joint proposal, PG&E 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 collaborate with regulators, environmental organizations and other stakeholders to ensure that we achieve this growth responsibly and in a way that is affordable for 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 33 percent of the energy delivered to customers coming from eligible renewable sources in 2016. In addition, nearly 70 percent of the electricity that PG&E delivered to its customers in 2016 came from greenhouse gas-free resources.

2016 Milestones

In 2016, three large projects under contract to PG&E were completed in California:

  • Henrietta Solar Project: a 100-MW solar photovoltaic project built by Southern Power and SunPower in Kings County,
  • Diablo Winds Energy Center: an 18-MW wind project built by NextEra Energy Resources in Alameda County, and
  • Corcoran 3 Solar Project: a 20-MW solar photovoltaic project built by Con Edison in Kings County.

In addition to these projects, PG&E added 16 small projects under 10 MW in size. In total, through these 19 projects PG&E added 161 MW of renewable contracts, including nine solar photovoltaic projects (126 MW total), seven small hydropower projects (7 MW), two bioenergy projects (10 MW) and one wind project (18 MW total). Many of these projects also yield a positive economic effect on the surrounding communities.

Measuring Progress

We continued our progress toward meeting California’s renewable energy mandate. By the end of 2016, nearly 33 percent of the electricity delivered to 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 12,700 MW of RPS-eligible energy since the start of California’s RPS program in 2002. PG&E’s RPS-eligible portfolio includes more than 7,300 MW of active contracts through January 2017; approximately 6,800 MW of these are delivering energy to PG&E, with about 550 MW under development as of January 2017.

Renewable Portfolio Standard—Active Contracts as of January 2017 Footnote 1
Type Number MW % By Count % By Capacity
Total 267 7,383 100% 100%
Bioenergy 29 510 11% 7%
Geothermal 3 447 1% 6%
Small Hydroelectric 90 359 34% 5%
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) 113 3,362 42% 46%
Solar Thermal 4 741 1% 10%
Wind 28 1,965 10% 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 owned generation, terminated contracts, and expired contracts.

Not counted in these contracts is 471 MW of PG&E-owned eligible renewable generation facilities. This includes 152 MW of solar facilities and 319 MW of small hydro facilities.

In addition, PG&E has connected more than 300,000 customers with private solar to the energy grid—representing about 20 percent of the nation’s private solar and more than 2,700 MW of clean energy. In 2016, PG&E also signed new biomass contracts as a way to address the state’s historic tree mortality crisis by transforming dead and diseased trees into usable energy, and reducing the fire hazard created by the crisis.

Looking Ahead

PG&E believes California’s forward-looking RPS program is an important step toward achieving the state’s aggressive climate change and clean energy goals. We stand ready to provide clean energy and energy efficiency in a way that manages costs for customers, ensures electric reliability and gas safety, and creates a model program for other states and nations to follow.

By entering into contracts and long-term commitments while the technologies and the RPS program were still developing, we have helped promote the development of California’s robust renewable resource market.

Moving forward, PG&E remains focused on achieving the state’s bold clean energy goals in a manner that manages costs for our customers. We are actively encouraging the state to continue its integrated greenhouse gas policy that achieves emissions reductions at the lowest cost to California residents, rather than imposing technology-specific mandates or prescribed procurement programs. This will keep the focus on the fundamental goal of reducing carbon emissions in a sustainable manner.

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.