California RPS Dreamin’

As expected California’s three major investor owned utilities will not meet the 20% RPS goal by the end of 2010 as required by law. We have known this outcome for more than a year, but pressure has been applied on all sides to get as close to the goal as possible.  The failure to meet the goal is not causing major heartburn because procurement is continuing and the CPUC and CEC have been approving new projects at a frantic pace over the last six months to ‘show progress.

At the end of the third quarter reporting period the RPS performance was about 15% of retail electricity sales allocated as follows:

Despite the inability to meet the 20% target California pressed on nonetheless setting an even higher 33% PRS goal by 2025 by executive order.  By increasing the goal to 33% and pushing it beyond the term of office of the current politicians responsible for failing to meet the 20% target—this is considered ‘good news’ in Sacramento.

There is an additional 352MW of renewable projects that are working feverishly to come on line by year end 2010 to meet the federal financing requirements.  But Congress granted an extension to the end of 2011 for compliance.  To date, the sum of all renewable energy capacity installed that counts toward achieving the California RPS goals is 1, 049 MW or about the size of one typical nuclear power plant or—bite your tongue—typical Midwest coal plant.  Remember we don’t allow either new nuclear or coal plants to be built in California—that’s one of the reasons our electricity rates are so high.

But we still feel good about trying to meet our RPS goals and save the planet even if we fail. And the voters seem to think that’s OK since they rejected Proposition 23 to suspend the Global Warming Solutions Act on the November ballot effectively telling Sacramento to keep doing what you are doing.

Now Jerry Brown is on the hook to finish what he started the first time he was Governor.  The 33% RPS goal is set by executive order not legislation and the state can hardly afford any more subsidies of anything.

The sum of our fears is the perfect storm of higher state taxes, higher electricity rates and continued high unemployment.

Forget it, I’m not giving up my old beer refrigerator in the garage to save energy!

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