California Public Utilities Commission Report Predicts 50% Renewable Power by 2020

On Monday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) released its 2017 Renewables Portfolio Standards (RPS) Report, an annual progress report on the state’s RPS Program.  California’s RPS target is one of the most ambitious in the country, requiring the state’s investor owned utilities, publicly owned utilities, and other electricity retail sellers to procure 50% of their total electric retail sales from eligible renewable energy resources by 2030.  As interim targets, the RPS Program required California’s electricity retail sellers to serve 25% of their load with RPS-eligible resources by December 31, 2016, and will require them to serve 33% of their load with RPS-eligible resources by 2020.

The 2017 Annual Report concludes that California’s three investor-owned utilities are well positioned to meet the RPS Program’s requirements.  All three exceeded the 25% renewable target for 2016, and are projecting that they will reach the 50% renewable target by 2020—an entire decade early.

In addition, the report concludes:

  • California’s electrical corporations met the 25% RPS requirement for 2016 and, in many cases, substantially exceeded this requirement.
  • The large investor-owned utilities have executed renewable electricity contracts necessary to exceed 2020’s 33% RPS requirement.
  • The investor-owned utilities’ aggregated forecast project that they will meet the 2030 RPS requirement of 50% by 2020.
  • Community Choice Aggregators* and small and multi-jurisdictional utilities** report compliance with current RPS requirements, and forecast that they will meet or exceed 2020’s 33% RPS requirement.
  • The RPS Program has helped achieve large reductions in cost for renewable electricity: between 2008 and 2016, the price of utility scale solar contracts reported to CPUC have gone down 77%, and between 2007 and 2015 reported prices of wind contracts have gone down 47%.


* CPUC defines Community Choice Aggregators as local government agencies that purchase and develop power on behalf of residents, businesses, and municipal facilities within a local jurisdiction.

** CPUC defines small and multi-jurisdictional utilities as those having a customer base of 30,000 or fewer that serve customers across multiple states.

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