CPUC reports regulated utilities on schedule to meet upcoming renewable energy goals

Published on November 23, 2021 by Chris Galford

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A new report from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) last week found that the state’s regulated utilities are making solid progress on the path to California’s 2030 goal of having 60 percent of retail sales per year come from eligible renewable sources.

According to the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) report, the aggregated percentages of investor-owned utilities’ RPS procurement increased 12 percent over the last three years, largely thanks to load departure from investor-owned utilities to community choice aggregators. While this was partially diminished by sales of excess renewable energy credits to community choice aggregators and electric service providers, small and multijurisdictional utilities’ RPS procurement also declined by 9 percent. Community choice aggregators continued procuring at a steady rate last year. Likewise, this has largely been the case for electric service providers, saving for a 10 percent drop from 2020 due to decreasing forecasted RPS procurement.

This year, thanks to the execution of needed contracts, investor-owned utilities are predicted to procure excess amounts of renewables through 2027. On the other hand, small and multijurisdictional utilities, electric service providers, and community choice aggregators will all need to procure more renewable resources to meet the 2021-2024 compliance period requirements, in addition to future requirements.

Currently, more than half of retail sellers already report meeting 2021-2024 compliance period requirements. To their further advantage, the CPUC report indicated that risk levels have generally decreased for the remaining 27 retail sellers deemed at risk of otherwise not meeting those requirements. By contrast, 18 community choice aggregators, five electric service providers, and two small and multijurisdictional utilities were deemed at risk over this same compliance period.

Only a single small and multijurisdictional utility, as well as one electric service provider, failed to meet 2017-2020 compliance period requirements.

These requirements were put in place in 2018, with a final goal of achieving a fully carbon free electric grid in California by 2045. Under that law, all providers noted in this article had to net 33 percent of their retail sales per year from eligible renewable sources by 2020, followed by the 60 percent milestone in 2030.