Coal, Renewables

California study examines renewable power costs

7 November 2008 – Expanding California’s renewable power generation fleet to equal a third of electricity delivered in the state by 2020 could cost $60 billion, the state’s utility regulator said in a report.

The report, published by the California Public Utilities Commission, said reaching the 33 percent target would mean buying more expensive renewables. The PUC’s analysis suggested reaching such a target could require an investment of $60 billion in generation and transmission over the next two decades.

Renewable power in 2007 made up about 12 percent of the electricity delivered in the state. That compared with 45 percent for natural gas, 17 percent for coal, 15 percent for nuclear and 12 percent for large hydropower projects. Large hydropower is not counted in California’s renewable portfolio standard goals.

The 33 percent target for renewables has the backing of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and is expected to be debated in the next state legislative session. Reaching the target by 2020 would equal 70,000 GWh of renewable power, the report said.

On November 4, nearly two-thirds of California voters rejected a statewide ballot measure that would have required 50 percent of power to be generated from renewables by 2025.

Stories of interest:

California issues final plan to raise emissions standards

Coal replaces gas in California power plant