This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

September 03, 2003

California Utility Exceeds 20 Percent Renewable Energy Use

Southern California Edison (SCE) drew on renewable energy resources for 23 percent of its power in June and 22 percent of its power in May, achieving the state's 20-percent renewable energy requirement 14 years early. Approximately 150 independent power producers now supply the utility with more than 13 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. But SCE is not stopping there: the utility also released a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking new contracts for up to 20 years of power from renewable energy sources. See the press release from SCE's parent company, Edison International.

Responses to SCE's RFP are due on September 23rd. SCE aims to obtain final approval for any power agreements by the end of April, 2004. See the SCE RFP.

According to the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE), 14 states now have rules requiring that a certain percentage the state's electricity come from renewable energy sources—an approach called a renewable portfolio standard. California enacted its law in September 2002, and the law became effective at the start of this year. See the DSIRE Web site.

The news from SCE appears to verify a California Energy Commission (CEC) statement that the state will have no problem meeting its 20-percent standard by 2017. According to the CEC, the 20-percent standard could be largely achieved by projects that have already been proposed. As one example, in early August the CEC staff released the first part of its final staff assessment for a new 185-megawatt geothermal power plant. So far, the CEC staff's assessment of the project, called Salton Sea Unit 6, is favorable. If approved and built, the Salton Sea plant will be the largest geothermal power plant in the United States. See the July 10th and August 5th press releases from the CEC.