California is aggressively bringing renewable generation online to meet the goals of its Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) program, which is one of the most ambitious in the country.
In its first-quarter 2014 RPS progress report, the California Public Utilities Commission said that the state ’s investor-owned utilities (IOUs) have reported that they collectively served 20.9% of their retail electric load with RPS-eligible generation from 2011 to 2013 (Pacific Gas and Electric Company 20.6 percent; Southern California Edison 20.7%; and San Diego Gas & Electric 21.6%). New to the report this quarter is data on subscriptions and pricing levels for the RPS Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) program.
The Renewable Market Adjusting Tariff (Re-MAT) Program is the CPUC’s FIT program, for which the IOUs began accepting project participation requests in October 2013. Re-MAT provides a starting FIT market price for three RPS product categories: baseload, peaking, and non-peaking resources. Sellers may then subscribe to sell RPS-eligible generation at the given Re-MAT market price. Re-MAT prices may increase or decrease for each product type on a bimonthly basis based on seller subscription levels. The IOUs began accepting Re-MAT applications on Oct. 1, 2013, and began executing p ower purchase agreements with Re-MAT applicants on Nov. 1, 2013.
The IOUs are on their way to meeting the Re - MAT capacity target s mainly due to the high subscription levels for the peaking category. As can be seen in the table below, the high subscription levels for the peaking category have led to a significant decline in the peaking category’s price for PG&E’s and SCE’s Re - MAT programs. However, there has been minimal participation in the non-peaking and baseload categories of the Re-MAT program, which has resulted in no change to the Re-MAT starting price for these categories.
The state’s RPS requires investor-owned utilities, electric service providers, and community choice aggregators regulated by the CPUC to procure 33% of retail sales per year from eligible renewable sources by 2020.