The California Energy Commission has approved a report marking the progress its Renewable Energy Program made over the past fiscal year. Mandated by the Legislature, the Renewable Energy Program (REP) 2011 Annual Report summarizes the results and accomplishments of the program and highlights the status of funding from July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011."This report shows the progress made in supporting clean, green energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said energy Commission Chair Dr. Robert Weisenmiller. "Renewable energy projects stimulate the state's economy by spurring job creation."As of June 30, the report stated that a total of 1,267 renewable energy facilities with a total capacity of 56.6 gigawatts were green-lighted for RPS eligibility certification and pre-certification. Meantime, investor owned utilities (IOU) signed contracts for up to 18,417 megawatts (MW) of capacity from new, repowered or restarted renewable facilities, with 22 percent of these projects currently online.During the past fiscal year, the report showed the Emerging Renewables program funded 140 rebate applications for completed projects in IOU service areas. These projects represent one megawatt of generating capacity from small-scale photovoltaic (PV), wind and fuel cell systems. The report also mentions that 28,763 emerging renewables systems have been installed, representing 127 MW of distributed renewable electricity capacity.
Under the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP), payments were made for 1,185 solar systems with a combined capacity of 4.82 MW. Since beginning in 2007 through June 30, 2011, the NSHP has provided funding for the installation of more than 4,000 solar PV systems on new, energy efficient homes - that translates to 12.31 megawatts of clean renewable energy.The report also said the Existing Renewable Facilities Program supported 4,277 gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable generation and received and approved funding applications for 25 solid-fuel biomass and eight solar thermal facilities. Since the program's beginning, the Existing Renewable Facilities Program has provided production incentives for more than 87,400 GWh of generation.As it evolved through the years, the REP has provided market-based incentives for new and existing utility-scale facilities powered by renewable energy. It has offered consumer rebates for installing new wind and solar for energy efficient homes. The program continues to educate the public about renewable energy. Funding for the REP comes from a public goods charge collected from ratepayers of the state's major utilities. Unless extended, public goods collection ends on January 1, 2012.
The REP has worked in tandem with California's Renewables Portfolio Standard requiring that a substantial portion of the state's electricity should come from renewable sources. Recently, Governor Brown signed legislation that requires one third of the state's electric power come from renewable sources. The legislation increases the current 20 percent RPS target in 2010 to 33 percent renewable portfolio by December 31, 2020. The new legislation also increased the Energy Commission's role in overseeing the progress of Publicly Owned Utilities (POUs) towards the RPS. The RPS applies to all electricity retailers; including investor owned and publicly owned utilities, electric service providers and community choice aggregators.