California Utilities On Good Path Toward Renewable Energy Targets


The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has released its annual Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) report showing that the program, which is one of the most ambitious in the country, is ahead of target and is helping to achieve large reductions in costs for renewable electricity.

The state’s RPS requires investor-owned utilities, electric service providers and community choice aggregators to procure 33% of retail sales per year from eligible renewable sources by 2020 and 50% by 2030.

As of 2017, the state’s three large investor-owned utilities surpassed interim targets, as shown below, and have sufficient resources under development to exceed the 33% by 2020 RPS requirement:

  • Pacific Gas and Electric Co.: 32.9%
  • Southern California Edison: 28.2%
  • San Diego Gas and Electric: 43.2%

Furthermore, the report says California’s RPS program has helped achieve large reductions in costs for renewable electricity. Between 2008 and 2016, the price of utility solar contracts reported to the CPUC have gone down 77%, and between 2007 and 2015, prices of wind contracts reported to the CPUC have gone down 47%.

“There is no greater time than now to fight climate change, and California is leading the way,” says CPUC Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen, who is assigned to oversee the CPUC’s RPS proceeding. “Our utilities are exceeding the goals we put in place for them. Costs have continued to decline, and reliability has not been compromised in any way. California’s successful program offers lessons for other states interested in advancing clean energy policies.”

Earlier this year, state legislators advanced a bill to increase California’s RPS to 100% renewable energy by 2045, but the bill ultimately died in a committee. Hawaii is currently the only state with a 100% RPS.

The full CPUC report is available here.

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