Every year, the California Energy Commission releases its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) report, which gives details about the mix of energy experienced by all utilities within the state during the preceding 12 months. The report for this year, released in November, shows that all three of the state’s investor-owned utilities — Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric — are projected to derive 50% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
Now that the 50% goal is within reach, California is looking ahead to its next milestone — 80% renewables by 2050. “Once we get to about 50 percent, we’re going to start to run into new challenges — the second 50 percent will be trickier than the first 50 percent,” Brown notes. Part of the challenge will be balancing the grid using new technologies to avoid the need for fossil fueled “peaker plants” to provide additional electricity when demand is high.