Posted by: jbarnesca | June 21, 2010

California 33% RPS Strategy Meeting at CPUC

Last Friday I attended the CPUC meeting where they laid out their proposals for how California will meet the required 33% renewable energy requirement by 2020.  As usual the attendance was sparse and very few knew about this meeting.

The first data shown should be remembered.  It showed that at the present time of Q1 2010 the total RPS generation under development & contracted to CA was already GREATER than that needed to meet the 2020 goals by some 15%.  These are programs approved by the CPUC with PPA deals, or under review for approval, or proposed to the CEC and under land and environmental study programs.  This sort of matches the huge program list that the Governor likes to show.

Now reality sets in.  Many of these projects will never be implemented and are not real, as they say.  SO the CPUC made  judgements on the viability of these projects, and basically eliminated ~65% of them to create a more realistic(in their estimation) new DISCOUNTED CORE. The CPUC  made a judgement on viability related to some progress on permitting, without much judgement on financing and financial viablility of the project, or the viability of the developer/EPC company etc.. The shortfall for 2020 then became 54 TWh of renewable energy to meet the 2020 mandate.

Four scenarios were proposed to meet this milestone considering a mixture of biogas, solar thermal, and solar PV in various flavors; but now the Utilities were allowed to meet significant amounts of the required RECS with purchases of wind energy from other states and even the Provence of Alberta, Canada.

I shall make other comments later, but let me go to the “Environmentally-Constrained Case” scenario to make some points.

In that case they propose that this will happen to generate the new 54 TWh with no further incentives or changes to any programs presently in place in CA:

  • 10% will be obtained by securing RECs from out of state or the US
  • Large Scale Solar PV(>50MWp farms) will provide 22.7 TWh
  • Small Solar PV will provide 13.1 TWh
  • Solar Thermal will deliver 5.4 TWh
  • Wind will provide 6.08TWh

The pretty nice computer modeling program from B&V is used to determine where these sources should come from in the state and especially which CREZ zones are likely to produce the renewable sources of energy.

So a lot of very important work was performed here and this will be the basis for the CPUC to then determine how they think this goal can be met.  My impression is they still don’t get the importance of distributed generation to fill this gap and how much easier it will be than the massive amount of transmission building needed to meet the plans of the RETI group  from CREZ regions in the desert of CA.

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