California Overwhelmed by 71 GW of Renewable Project Applications

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Since putting itself on the market for renewables with its 33% renewable energy requirement, California has become like a wildly popular debutante, with a superfluity of suitors offering what Energy Prospects is calling a “glut” of renewable projects to meet the need.

Three times more would-be renewable energy projects are queueing to be added to the grid than would be needed, totaling 71 GW. Cal-ISO is having trouble fielding a truly staggering number of applications for renewable energy projects, enough to supply more than 100% of California’s energy needs.

So far, the state has added 7.6 GW of renewable power in recent years, pretty much meeting the original Renewable Energy Standard set in 2006 to get 20% by 2010 (19% is installed, the full 20% is contracted for and will be online by 2013).

To meet the 33% target would take adding about another 20 GW. About 11 GW of wind and 7 GW of PV are almost surely in the pipeline, along with a gigawatt or two of geothermal and solar thermal.

For Cal-ISO, which finds room for all energy projects on the grid, the renewable “glut” is creating a problem: how seriously to take all of these suitors offering to meet California’s clean energy requirement.

If all of the 71 to 73 GW of renewable energy were to make it through all the roadblocks of getting financing, passing environmental reviews and local NIMBY objections, then far more transmission would have to be built than Cal-ISO has estimated.

Modeling need based on all the generation in the queue could lead to an inflated estimate of costs to reinforce the transmission system. Not every project makes it. But if a too low number for their success rate were estimated, then all that potential clean energy would be not utilized.

Only the most serious contenders are counted. As evidence of the seriousness of their intentions, at least half a million dollars must be posted as interconnection financial security for a project, representing not only the renewable project developer’s conviction that their project is going to be able to jump all the hurdles and get built, but also that they are willing to pay 15% of the cost to upgrade the grid to bring their energy to market.

And at $20,000 per megawatt in each project, these contenders are willing to pay over $7 million and much, much more for the privilege of helping add that grid infrastructure. What a problem for California to have, eh?

Susan Kraemer@Twitter

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

CleanTechnica Holiday Wish Book

Holiday Wish Book Cover

Click to download.

Our Latest EVObsession Video

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

7 thoughts on “California Overwhelmed by 71 GW of Renewable Project Applications

  • This is great news for California as well as everyone who breaths and drinks water. A large amount of renewable energy installations insures that the dirty power from coal and nuclear can be replaced sooner.

  • That 19% number is from SoCal Edison only. PG&E was at 17.7% and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) way behind at 11.9%.

    Thus, the real number is nowhere near 20%.

  • It is very exciting news for Renewable Energy Supporters.In the past name of California was synonymous with wind farms. I am sure US will be a trend setter in harnessing Renewables.

    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India
    Wind Energy Expert

  • Where are you getting your numbers from? And yes, Bob Morris is right, California does indeed fall short of the 19% you stated in your article. That one oversight on your part makes me question the validity of your whole article. If you could please post a link to the source where you got your information from that would be much appreciated… I certainly haven’t been able to find it.

  • Where can we find more information on the companies that have applied?

  • Pingback: Mexico Emulates Neighbor California With 35% Clean Climate law - CleanTechnica

  • Pingback: SB843 Lets California Utility Customers Share Solar Projects - CleanTechnica

Comments are closed.