Why Every California Utility Knows About the Importance of the Year 2020
Back in 2002, California legislators passed Senate Bill 1078, also called California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS), and with it, ushered in the most ambitious renewable energy standards in the country. According to the state’s Public Utilities Commission, the program requires investor-owned utilities, electric service providers, and community choice aggregators to increase procurement from eligible renewable energy resources to 33% of total procurement by 2020. Among the eligible renewable energy resources, wind and solar have become the preferred choice for utilities.
So, after twelve years of the law’s existence, how are the utilities stacking up? Among the state’s three largest providers, only San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) expects to meet the one-third standard by December, five years ahead of schedule. Southern California Edison (SCE) sits at 22% and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is ahead at 24%.
Both companies don’t have much further to go to meet the requirement, but it’s worth noting that SDG&E understands the dynamic appeal of renewables. It credits its strong transmission infrastructure for reaching remote solar and wind resources efficiently. The large and aggressive development of wind and solar farms, in largely desolate eastern San Diego, also contributed to the utilities’ staggering accomplishment.