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California Utilities Grab Out-of-State Wind in Scramble to Meet 2010 Requirement

In the last two years, with the 20% by 2010 Renewable Energy Standard deadline looming, California utilities had to look well outside the California border to buy some last minute wind power.


Over 11 GW of California projects are still stalemated by bureaucracy. So all three major utilities added last minute wind power from Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and even as far North as Washington.

PG&E added just over 2 GW of renewable power in 2 years – biomass, wind, all the varieties of solar, small new hydro and geothermal, instate and out of state.

However, nearly three quarters of that – 1,418.6 MW – came from out-of-state wind farms.

In the same last two year scramble, Southern California Edison brought in 1,011 MW from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming. San Diego Gas & Electricity added 210 MW of wind from Montana.

Even with the last minute scramble, all three utilities are short of their 20% by 2010 RES targets. SDG&E falls farthest short with just 10%, while PG&E has 14% and SCE is the leader with 17% renewable energy. Hydro-electricity does not count as renewable for the California standard.

There is no shortage of signed contracts for more than enough local renewable power. For example, to meet the next target of 33% by 2020, more than that has already been contracted for. California utilities actually have contracts for 50% of their electricity from renewable power by 2030 – with the majority to come from solar in California’s deserts.

Over 11 GW (11,280 MW) of renewable power for 2010 is still stuck in the approval process. More than half (6,744 MW) has cleared the first hurdles, contracts are signed with utilities and the California Public Utilities Commission has approved them. The next step is the local approvals.

For now, though, the difficulty of getting solar approved inside California’s local jurisdictions is creating a green job boom in far-flung windy states.

Image: NPR

Source: CPUC 2010 Project Status

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writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.


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