All three investor-owned utility companies in California
now meet 20% of their electricity needs with renewable sources, according to an update
by the state's public utility commission.
And solar is becoming a much bigger piece of the mix.
As we reported in February, Southern California Edison
and San Diego Gas & Electric actually reached the 20% goal in 2011. Now,
California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) says Pacific Gas &
Electric (PG&E) has achieved that target, too.
The new data comes from the CPUC's mid-year update to California
Overall, the three California utilities served 20.6% of
their electricity demand with renewable sources in 2011 versus
17% in 2010, reports the CPUC. Together, the three companies account for 68% of the electricity sold to California retail customers.
The state's Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires
investor-owned utilities, electric service providers and community aggregators
to source at least 33% of their power from renewable sources by 2020.
As of CPUC's latest report, Southern California Edison
has the highest renewables mix (21.1%), followed by San Diego Gas &
Electric (20.8%) and PG&E (20.1%).
The next milestone that the utilities are required to
meet is between 2014 to 2016, when they are expected to reach the 25% mark.
And that's where solar comes in.
By 2020, solar power (not including small-scale rooftop solar) will account for about 11 percent of all power sold by the utilities, according to the CPUC's projections.
That's a lot of investment when you consider that solar accounted for just 0.3% of California's electricity as of 2010. By comparison, wind generates about 5% of the state's power.
As just one example, PG&E projects that 40% of its renewables mix will come from solar by 2020, followed by wind (23%), bioenergy (15%), geothermal (14%) and small hydro (8%).
Today, its renewables mix breaks down in the following way: wind (31%), geothermal (26%), bioenergy (23%), small hydro (19%) and solar (1%).
For more on the progress of the three California