NewEnergyNews: TODAY’S STUDY: The Progress Of New Energy In California


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    Tuesday, November 28, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY: The Progress Of New Energy In California

    California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard Annual Report

    November 2017 (California Public Utilities Commission)

    RPS Background

    In compliance with Senate Bill (SB) 1222 (Hertzberg, 2016; as codified in Public Utilities Code Section 913.41 ), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC or Commission) reports to the Legislature each year on the progress of the RPS program. This report describes the progress of the State’s electrical retail sellers in complying with the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) Program and shows that:

    -California’s electrical corporations met the 25% RPS requirement for 2016, and in many cases, substantially exceeded this requirement.

    -The large investor-owned utilities (IOU) have executed renewable electricity contracts necessary to exceed 2020’s 33% RPS requirement.

    -The IOUs’ aggregated forecast project they will meet the 2030 RPS requirement of 50% by 2020.

    -Community Choice Aggregators (CCA) and the small and multi-jurisdictional utilities (SMJU) 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 the CPUC have gone down 77%, and between 2007 and 2015 reported prices of wind contracts have gone down 47%...

    RPS Progress & Status through 2016

    This chapter uses historical data through December 31, 2016 from the Compliance Reports and the Procurement Plans from the large IOUs, SMJUs, CCAs, and ESPs to illustrate the state of the RPS program. The data presented in this chapter is used by the CPUC to evaluate aspects of RPS procurement, including:

    -Procurement progress towards the 50% RPS mandate;

    -Current renewable procurement status;

    -Renewable portfolio and technology mix;

    -Installed renewable capacity; and

    -RPS contracting activities.

    Large IOUs:

    Well-positioned to Meet RPS Requirements All electricity retail sellers were required to serve 25% of their load with RPS-eligible resources by December 31, 2016, as an interim target between compliance periods. The large IOUs surpassed this requirement…

    the large IOUs have individually met the 25% target. The IOUs may choose to apply eligible renewable electricity procured in 2016 that is in excess of the RPS requirement to meet their RPS requirements in future compliance periods, or they may sell RECs associated with the excess procurement to third parties.10 As further described in Chapter 3 under “Excess Procurement,” a variety of market conditions have caused the IOUs to be procured beyond their minimum RPS requirements, including the need to hedge against initial program experience with project failure and/or increasing departing load to CCAs.

    …the most current annual data to illustrate the actual and forecasted progress the large IOUs have made toward meeting the 50% RPS mandate on a risk-adjusted basis.11 The graph shows a forecasted surplus of renewable generation through 2020 and a deficit beginning in 2022.

    As reported in their Procurement Plans and Compliance Reports, the IOUs forecast that they will meet the 33% RPS requirement by 2020 (see Table 2). 14 The IOUs forecast that they can meet their RPS requirements by using banked RECs. Given the IOUs have significant excess eligible RPS procurement, they chose not to conduct annual RPS solicitations in 2016 or 2017, nor do they plan to undertake solicitations in 2018 (as described further in Chapter 3)

    Table 2 below depicts the large IOUs’ actual RPS procurement and forecasted procurement, and shows that the IOUs forecast that they will meet or exceed their 2020 RPS compliance period requirements, and meet the 2030 50% RPS requirement by 2020. The data is aggregated to provide a statewide view of progress and anticipated compliance.


    Demonstrate Need to Procure within the Next Five Years The SMJUs project that the will meet the current RPS targets for Compliance Period 2 (2014-2016), but have indicated they will need to procure additional resources to meet the post-2020 compliance targets. Table 3 data show an average of two SMJUs’ procurement percentages (Liberty and BVES), and does not reflect the procurement of the individual utilities. Both Liberty Utilities and Bear Valley Electric Service (BVES) included their forecasted RPS procurement percentages in their 2017 RPS Procurement Plan and compliance filings


    Demonstrate Need to Procure within the Next Five Years RPS Compliance Reports submitted by Marin Clean Energy (MCE), Sonoma Clean Power (SCP), Lancaster Choice Energy (LCE), Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) and CleanPowerSF indicate the CCAs have met the current RPS targets. However, their preliminary compliance reports indicate they will need to procure renewable resources to meet the 50% RPS target by 2030. Table 4 provides an average of these CCA’s reported procurement percentages.

    The information provided above is based on the various operational statuses of the CCAs. From 2011 to 2013, Marin Clean Energy was the only CCA in operation. In 2014, Sonoma Clean Power started serving load, and Lancaster choice started serving load in 2015. Accordingly, the CPUC has collected robust data on the CCAs with the longest operational history, given that the other six certified CCAs have only recently begun serving customers. All certified CCAs, have begun executing contracts for new renewable energy projects that will come online within the next five years.


    Procurement Assessment Unknown Due to Lack of Long-term Forecasting

    ESPs are non-utility electricity service providers which currently serve approximately 13% of California’s electricity load. Though California’s ESPs are required to file both Compliance Reports and Procurement Plans, they do not provide long-term forecasts on their renewable procurement. The forecasted renewable procurement percentages are not a required element of the Compliance Reports and most ESPs do not forecast beyond the current reporting year. Therefore, the CPUC is unable to provide data on the long-term RPS outlook of the ESPs.

    The Status of Current Renewable Portfolios

    To provide a more detailed view of the status of RPS portfolios, this section describes a variety of perspectives for retail sellers with available information, including renewable resource mix, installed renewable capacity, and contracting activities. Among the retail sellers in California:

    -The large IOUs have the most diverse renewable energy portfolio mix;

    -The CCAs have a moderately diverse renewable energy portfolio mix; and

    -SMJUs have the least diverse portfolio mixes.

    The large IOUs and CCAs have contracted with developers for new renewable facilities to add more capacity to reach the 50% RPS mandate. The SMJUs have been less active in contracting for renewables, but have secured the contracts needed to achieve the RPS requirements.

    Renewable Technology Mix

    Large IOUs Since the inception of the RPS program in 2002, the large IOUs have continuously added new renewable technologies to their portfolios in order to satisfy their RPS procurement requirements. The large IOUs contract with a wide range of renewable technologies. Figure 4 shows that as of December 2016, the IOUs have procured diverse renewable energy resources such as wind, solar thermal, solar photovoltaic (PV), geothermal, biopower, and hydroelectric facilities to meet the requirements of the RPS program.


    With the exception of PacifiCorp, the renewable portfolio mixes of California’s SMJUs are not as diverse as those of the large IOUs or the CCAs. As Figure 5 shows, Bear Valley Electric Service and Liberty Utilities, respectively, procured one technology each - wind and geothermal - to meet their RPS requirements. In 2016, PacifiCorp had five technologies in its renewable energy portfolio, with the majority comprised of wind (44%) and biopower (23%).


    Figure 6 illustrates the renewable energy portfolio mixes of the five CCAs that operated in California in 2016. Marin Clean Energy (MCE), Lancaster Choice Energy (LCE), and Sonoma Clean Power (SCP) have been in operation for six, three, and two years, respectively, and have more diverse resource mixes than Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) and CleanPowerSF. Both PCE and CleanPowerSF began delivering energy in 2016. In 2016, wind energy resources comprised the majority of MCE, SCP, PCE and CleanPowerSF’s renewable portfolios at 60%, 86%, 100%, and 99%, respectively. The majority of LCE’s portfolio (74%) consisted of small hydroelectric and biopower facilities.

    Installed Renewable Capacity

    Since 2003, the three large IOUs have installed 15,193 MW of renewable capacity under the RPS program. As of October 2017, 344 MW of new renewable capacity came online. An additional 453 MW of renewable capacity is forecasted to achieve commercial operation in the next two years. The approved RPS capacity described in Figure 7 below includes both in-state and out-of-state facilities, with the majority of the facilities being in-state and solar PV being California’s largest in-state renewable resource.

    2016 Renewable Contracting Activities

    In 2016, the IOUs collectively executed five BioRAM contracts, three Request for Offer (RFO) contracts, fourteen ReMAT contracts, and four Qualifying Facilities (QF) contracts for a total of 209 MW of new RPS capacity. Table 5 below shows that PG&E executed twelve contracts, six of which were ReMAT contracts. PG&E signed six other contracts, half of which were from RFOs and half that were from QFs. Similarly, SCE executed twelve contracts where eight of them were under the ReMAT program, three were BioRAM, and one was a QF contract. SDG&E signed two contracts, both of which were to fulfill their BioRAM program requirement.

    2016 Power Purchase Agreement Diversity

    While the table above illustrates that BioRAM had the most RPS-eligible MWs procured, the table below shows that ReMAT had the largest proportion of executed contracts based on number of contracts. Table 6 shows that the majority (54%) of the IOUs’ executed contracts were from the ReMAT program. In addition, the data show that the smallest percentage (12%) of the RPS contracts originated through RFOs…

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