The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved a historic decision representing its single largest capacity procurement order and its largest order requiring only clean resources.
Utilities must procure 11.5 gigawatts (GW) of new electricity resources to come online between the years 2023 and 2026 from preferred resources such as distributed energy resources (including energy efficiency and demand response), renewables, and zero-emitting sources.
The decision is expect to reliably power approximately 2.5 million homes, in response to more extreme weather events. The integration of high amounts of renewable sources also makes progress toward the state’s clean energy goals of 100 percent clean electricity by 2045.
In 2019 the CPUC ordered significant amounts of new renewables and storage, which will result in a tenfold increase in batteries coming online this summer (2021) and next summer (2022).
“Already, more than 63 percent of our power comes from zero carbon resources. (California is) the first in many categories — solar, geothermal, batteries, energy efficiency, and other clean energy resources,” said CPUC President Marybel Batjer.
Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen commented, “The procurement we ordered is equal to output of four large nuclear power plants or 20 natural gas plants. Included is solar, wind, geothermal, and long duration storage — pumped hydro facilities or other emerging technologies that can store energy for eight hours or longer. Our actions today will ensure we can keep the lights on during periods of greatest demand, even as we retire … natural gas plants.”
The procurement ordered on June 24, 2021 is in addition to the 3,300 MW the CPUC previously ordered to come online in 2021-2023; the 1,325 MW of energy storage required under Assembly Bill 2514 (2010); and the estimated 1,500 MW to be procured pursuant to two recent decisions adopted to address extreme weather events and summer reliability. The procurement will also add to the 4,000 MW from resources already contracted to come online between now and August, 2024 associated with other state energy programs such as the Renewables Portfolio Standard. The procurement will act as a new, clean reliability foundation for California’s electric sector.
The CPUC regulates services and utilities, protects consumers, safeguards the environment, and assures Californians’ access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services. For more information on the CPUC, visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.