California Strengthens Renewable Energy And Energy Efficiency Goals

on September 21, 2015 at 2:00 PM

California Continues To Lead U.S. In Green Technology

On September 11, 2015, the California State Legislature approved the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 (SB 350) which aims to increase the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 50 percent by 2030 from the present goal of 33 percent by 2020, in addition to increasing energy efficiency in existing buildings by 50 percent by the year 2030. On the grid side, the bill seeks to transform the California Independent System Operator (ISO) into a regional organization to encourage electricity trading across the west.

SB 350 calls for a broader strategy of renewable energy procurement under RPS, which relies on the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to approve contracts between project developers and utilities based on the lowest cost. In addition to increasing the amount of wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and other renewable sources, California must enhance energy storage and demand response to ensure that the grid is capable of managing the influx of intermittent renewables. While SB 350 has the potential to spur the market and increase the demand for renewable energy, successful implementation will require renewables, storage, demand response to play a central role in the grid rather than performing ancillary services.

SB 350 does not include distributed solar generation under the mandatory component of RPS. Under the current RPS, California utilities can purchase energy and renewable energy credits only from utility-scale solar plants. Utilities and solar installers have sought to expand the scope of eligible renewable resources to include distributed generation facilities such as rooftop solar to facilitate additional means to meet the 50 percent RPS goal.

Originally published by EnerKnol.

EnerKnol provides U.S. energy policy research and data services to support investment decisions across all sectors of the energy industry. Headquartered in New York City, EnerKnol is proud to be a NYC ACRE company.