Two years ago, Gov. Jerry Brown signed an ambitious law ordering California utility companies to get 50 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
It looks like they may hit that goal a decade ahead of schedule.
An annual report issued Monday by California regulators found that the state’s three big, investor-owned utilities — Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. — are collectively on track to reach the 50 percent milestone by 2020, although individual companies could exceed the mark or fall just short of it.
A California Energy Commission committee is urging the state to reject a proposal to build a new natural gas plant in Ventura County.
Called the Puente Energy project, the 262-megawatt power plant would be owned and operated by NRG, a Houston-based electricity company. NRG contracted with Southern California Edison to supply power to the utility.
In what the regulators themselves called an “unusual” statement, the two-member committee said that the proposed plant, set for construction on Mandalay Bay in Oxnard, conflicted with state laws and goals for communities and the environment.
Nuclear plants in New York will continue to receive payments collected from all in-state load serving entities (LSE) in recognition of their clean energy contributions. Those payments, which might be as high as $8 billion over a ten year period, may also be as low as zero during years in which the average wholesale price of electricity rises to a level at which selling power becomes profitable for the qualifying plants. In a decision filed July 25, Judge Valerie Caproni dismissed the motions filed by various electrical generators and trade groups of electrical generators that challenged the constitutionality of the New York Public Service Commission’s decision to create a Zero Emission Credit program.
Plans for what was once billed as one of the world’s largest solar power projects will be scaled back dramatically following years of opposition from three environmental groups who filed lawsuits over an endangered rat and other species they said would be harmed by its construction. . . .But San Benito County supervisors, who were not included in the settlement talks, are furious, saying they will lose out on millions of dollars in taxes that they were promised when they originally approved the larger project in 2010. “I can barely speak because I’m so angry,” said Supervisor Anthony Botelho. “This would have generated much-needed revenue. All you have to do is drive down there and see the conditions of our roads. We have minimal amounts of public safety. This was going to be a big thing, but the rug was pulled out from under us. And it was all done in secret.” . . .The county had been counting originally on $5.4 million in sales tax from the large project — and then roughly $2.5 million under the 247-megawatt project. But Joe Paul Gonzalez, the county’s clerk-auditor-recorder, told supervisors that the county would not be receiving any sales tax from the project because Con Edison had purchased the panels in a way that made San Francisco the recipient rather than San Benito County.
California is poised for a swift transformation of its electricity landscape — and that could bring tumult if preparations aren’t made soon to maintain quality and avoid reliability problems like rolling blackouts, the state’s leading energy regulator is warning. After decades of dominance by investor-owned utilities, electricity markets in the state are becoming more competitive. Ratepayers today have a growing number of choices for powering their lights, laptops and electric cars — from installing rooftop solar panels and consumer-scale batteries to joining increasingly popular government-run electricity programs known as community choice aggregation, or CCA. Currently, investor-owned utilities such as San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric together buy and sell more than 75 percent of the state’s electricity. Their collective share could plunge to 10 percent within the next five years, with CCA programs causing most of the change, according to the state’s most aggressive forecast. More conservative estimates still show major shifts away from the utilities.