Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) exceeded California’s renewables portfolio standard (RPS), which required energy providers to deliver 33% renewable energy by the end of 2020. PG&E estimates it delivered over 35% from specified eligible-renewable resources to its customers last year, according to its recent Form 10-K.
Overall, more than 88% of the electricity PG&E delivered to its customers in 2020 came from greenhouse gas (GHG)-free resources, including eligible renewables, nuclear and large hydroelectric energy.
“As we pass this major mile-marker of 33% RPS on the road to our clean energy future, it’s a great example of how we’re delivering on our Triple Bottom Line of serving people, the planet and California’s prosperity. More renewable energy on the electric grid helps us ensure cleaner air and better health for our customers while also helping California secure a robust, clean-energy economy for all. We are proud to have one of the cleanest energy portfolios in the nation,” said PG&E Corporation Chief Executive Officer Patti Poppe.
PG&E’s renewable energy portfolio includes these RPS-eligible resources: solar, wind, bioenergy, geothermal and small hydroelectric (30 MW or smaller) power.
Solar power growth
At 45%, large-scale solar energy accounts for the largest portion of PG&E’s total renewable energy power mix. The company has 239 RPS-eligible power purchase contracts, representing over 6,700 MW of renewable energy. Of that, over 4,100 MWs is solar energy. PG&E also owns 445 MWs of RPS-eligible generation, including 13 solar power plants, which are mainly located in the Central Valley and provide 152 MW of clean power capacity.
Additionally, PG&E has connected more than 535,000 customers with private rooftop solar to the electricity grid. The rooftop solar in PG&E’s service area represents about 20% of all rooftop solar in the U.S. Through PG&E’s Solar Choice program, customers without rooftop solar panels can purchase up to 100% of their electricity from a community solar program generating power in California.
Progress on battery energy storage
PG&E is investing in battery energy storage to enhance overall grid reliability, integrate renewables, and help customers save energy and money. The company has contracts for battery energy storage projects totaling more than 1,400 MW of capacity to be deployed throughout its service area and the state through 2023. PG&E says it is well-positioned with the battery energy storage projects under contract to meet the state’s clean energy and storage goals, while ensuring grid reliability.
In addition, PG&E connects hundreds to thousands of new, behind-the-meter (BTM) battery energy storage systems to the grid every month. To date, more than 19,000 PG&E customers have installed and connected BTM battery energy storage systems throughout PG&E’s service area — most of which are residential customers — totaling more than 230 MW of capacity.
RPS was established in 2002. Since then, the state has accelerated and increased the amount of renewable energy that retail electricity sellers must provide to customers. In 2015, Senate Bill 350 increased the 33% by 2020 goal to 50% by 2030. In 2018, Senate Bill 100 increased the goal again to 60% by 2030 and established state policy that all electricity retail sales must come from RPS-eligible or carbon-free resources by 2045.
Based on current forecasts, PG&E is on track to meet the state’s RPS and carbon-free requirements under both Senate bills. The eligible-renewable percentage of more than 35% reported in Form 10-K uses the methodology approved by the California Energy Commission. It does not reflect RPS compliance, which is determined using a different methodology. PG&E will submit its 2020 RPS compliance report to the California Public Utilities Commission in August 2021.
PG&E, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation, is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California.