[ exact phrase in "" • results by date ]

[ Google-powered • results by relevance ]


News Home

Subscribe to RSS feed

Add NWW headlines to your site (click here)

Sign up for daily updates

Keep Wind Watch online and independent!

Donate $10

Donate $5

Selected Documents

All Documents

Research Links


Press Releases


Publications & Products

Photos & Graphics


Allied Groups

Green energy fund is nearly out of steam  

A fund that helps the state’s largest utilities buy renewable energy at above-market rates won’t last much longer, possibly providing the big power firms with a loophole to get out of looming renewable energy mandates.

The state’s three main investor-owned utilities, Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, get $770 million over eight years between them to purchase renewable energy at above-market rates to help them meet state mandates.

The mandates, established in 2002, require that 20 percent of power comes from renewable sources by 2010. Because demand for renewable energy is increasing, its price is going up, doubling between 2002 and 2007.

Meanwhile, utilities complain, the state’s method of determining market rates sets the price benchmark artificially low. As a result, the utilities will run through the renewable kitty faster than expected, and in fact, could spend the whole amount, on just a few projects. The CPUC says the money will run out in the next 12 to 18 months.

“Utilities are required to try and meet the 20 percent renewables (mandate) by 2010 but if they run out of this funding, they don’t have to purchase renewable energy above the market price,” said Cheryl Lee, a policy analyst at the California Public Utilities Commission. “That could possibly be used (as a) reason for non-compliance” with state mandates.

An April report by the CPUC to the California legislature said the commission was concerned that the above-market funds “will be exhausted prior to the state achieving its 20 percent by 2010 goal.”

The Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technology in Sacramento thinks the $770 million cap should be raised. It also thinks raising the market price of electricity will close the loophole that utilities could use to get out of buying renewable energy.

“The price is not necessarily tied to what’s going on in the market,” said Rachel McMahon, director of regulatory affairs at CEERT, and that means utilities are hard pressed to find renewable electricity at the “market price.”

Whatever the CPUC decides to do to insure utilities can meet the renewable goals, the CPUC could turn to rate-payers to continue funding renewable energy beyond the $770 million cap. Utilities still aren’t sure what they’re expected to do when the money runs out.

“We don’t know yet,” said Valerie Winn, manager of renewable energy policy and planning with PG&E. “To the extent we ultimately exhaust all of the (above market funds), the commission could still approve contracts we submitted to it. But they will likely want to look at it and say, “How much of an additional burden is this adding to customers?”

By Lindsay Riddell

San Francisco Business Times

20 June 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding
Donate $5 PayPal Donate


News Watch Home

Get the Facts Follow Wind Watch on Twitter

Wind Watch on Facebook


© National Wind Watch, Inc.
Use of copyrighted material adheres to Fair Use.
"Wind Watch" is a registered trademark.