California Passes Halfway Mark On 50 Percent Renewable Energy Goal

California has passed the halfway point in meeting the goal of getting half of its electricity from renewable sources by the year 2030.

The California Energy Commission’s latest Tracking Progress update on renewables estimates that 26 percent of electricity retail sales came from renewable energy in 2015.

The retail sales figure was electricity delivered to residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural customers. The renewable energy in the estimate were wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and small hydro sources.

The Tracking Progress report serves as a report card on California’s progress in meeting its Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) goals.

The RPS, which began in 2002, sets a series of goals for the sourcing of renewables. The original target mandated that 20 percent of electricity retail sales come from renewables by 2017 – a goal the state has already met.

Future RPS goals call for California to derive 33 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, and 50 percent by 2030.

"This report shows California taking yet another step forward toward our common goal of reducing our reliance on polluting fossil fuels and building a clean energy future,” said Energy Commissioner David Hochschild.

As of June, the in-state operating capacity of renewable resources was 23,600 megawatts (MW). Solar was the largest source of generating capacity (44 percent), followed by wind (25 percent), and geothermal (11 percent). The total capacity includes almost 4,600 MW of self-generation, about 4,400 MW of which is self-generation from solar photovoltaic (PV).

The growth of solar PV has been dramatic, and stems from Senate Bill 1, which was enacted 10 years ago and set the goal of installing 3,000 MW of solar self-generation photovoltaic systems by 2017. The state has already exceeded the goal, with about 2,000 MW installed just in 2014 and 2015.

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California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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