California talks a good talk about renewable energy, and appears to be walking the walk, too, as the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) recently approved 480 megawatts worth of renewable energy from Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison.
The first approval, for PG&E, was for a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with First Solar, Inc. for electricity generated from the Desert Sunlight project, a solar photovoltaic facility that will provide 300 megawatts of new renewable capacity and an estimated 619 gigawatt-hours of energy annually. Desert Sunlight will be located in Desert Center, Calif.; the plant is expected to come on line in July of 2015. The CPUC also approved 12 long-term PPAs for renewable energy projects under 20 megawatts that will account for approximately 180 megawatts total new renewable capacity in California, two of which are existing landfill gas facilities, eight of which are new solar photovoltaic facilities, and two of which are new wind facilities.
All of this comes in pursuit of the CPUC’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) program, which requires investor-owned utilities, energy service providers, and community choice aggregators in the state of California to obtain 20% of their energy from renewable sources by 2010–along with an Executive Order signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2008 that establishes a goal of 33% renewable energy statewide by 2020. As of 2009, according to self-reported data, PG&E served 14.4 % of its retail sales with renewable energy and Edison served 17.4%.