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SDG&E - Solar Targets, PUC Battle


Last updated 7/12/2016 at 6:31am

The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has proposed that San Diego Gas & Electric increase its renewable energy procurements to make up for a 102 MW generation shortfall. This would mean that SDG&E may be ordered to buy Solar at a higher price than it wants to pay and to purchase Solar energy it no longer needs.

Despite SDG&E having already met their state renewable portfolio standard targets, other renewable energy requirements built into separate regulatory initiatives, mean they are still concerned about having to additional targets. SDG&E said that only one of the bids it received in the in the state's renewable auction mechanism (RAM) was cost competitive and that it already has enough renewable energy on its system to meet other state targets, notably the renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

The PUC said SDG&E is required to procure 164.7 MW to meet its most recent targets through the RAM auction, but only agreed to procure 62.7 MW.

Although the utility is already on track to source 43.8% of its power from renewables by 2020, under the state’s RPS, California utilities have to source 25% of their electricity from renewables by year end, 33% by the end of 2020, and 50% by the end of 2030.

SDG&E said 13 bidders responded to the 2015 RAM with 35 bids, but only one of the bids made it to the top 10% in terms of the utility's analysis. The PUC say SDG&E has not provided adequate justification that it put forth a good faith effort to meet its overall RAM target or justified why it was consistently unable to meet its RAM auction targets. "Consequently, SDG&E is ordered to procure the remaining additional megawatts from the bids it received in its RAM VI solicitation," the commission said.

As part of the pending resolution, the commission proposed to approve the only project SDG&E submitted, Solar Frontier Americas’ 20 MW Midway Solar Farm III in Calipatria that is slated to begin operation in 2017.

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