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CPUC to Consider Raising Renewable Percentage in Latest RPS Case

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Driven by Governor Jerry Brown’s recent call to increase California’s RPS to 50 percent by 2030 and Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon’s bill to codify the target, Senate Bill 350, the commission opened the case earlier this year to consider issues related to an RPS increase and to review the program’s relationship to other state mandates, such as reducing GHG emissions.  

The commission’s Energy Division has been working on a straw proposal supporting a small increase in the RPS percentage. The straw proposal is expected to be released soon. In the case, the commission is expected to continue the work of previous RPS proceedings in designing the RPS program and revising its various elements.

An April 16 prehearing conference was held wherein administrative law judges and Commissioner Carla Peterman laid out the top possible priorities so far that the case may address.  The list includes:

1)  Updating the RPS calculator.  The RPS calculator is a modeling tool that develops possible portfolios of renewables that meet RPS targets;
2 ) Revising the least-cost, best-fit process to evaluate bids;
3)  Increasing the RPS percentage requirement;
4)  Making GHG reduction an RPS program goal or incorporating GHG reduction into procurement mechanisms; and,
5)  Using more distributed generation toward RPS compliance.

Utilities are balking at increasing the RPS. Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric objected to prioritizing an increase in the percentage requirement. They believe it would be premature as the California State Legislature is currently considering the issue (SB 350).

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) characterized the proposed increase as a "reflex or because it may be expeditious" in warning the commission against increasing procurement of renewables to meet GHG goals.  PG&E was supportive of exploring other, more cost-effective ways of reducing GHGs besides increasing the RPS target.

CLFP will participate in this proceeding.

Written by John Larrea, California League of Food Processors Government Affairs Director


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