Leading California on renewables integration
Rather than building new natural gas generation, California should focus on deploying preferred resources and moving toward a cleaner, more efficient, and more reliable power system.
The shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) has created an opportunity to build a cleaner, more efficient, and more reliable power system in California.
While a March 11 California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) procurement decision wisely called for preferred resources – including local renewables, energy efficiency, demand response, and energy storage – to partially replace SONGS’ 2,200 megawatt (MW) capacity and retiring power plants in Southern California, the CPUC decision ultimately falls short in its vision by approving at least 1,300 MW of new natural gas facilities and allowing utilities to potentially procure up to 1,500 MW of additional gas-fired generation.
The Clean Coalition has been working hard to demonstrate to regulators that high penetrations of local preferred resources can cost-effectively and reliably meet an increasing share of California’s electrical needs. The CPUC decision partially recognizes this effort, yet the agency continues to believe that new natural gas facilities are critical for grid reliability.
Rather than building new natural gas generation, California should focus on deploying preferred resources as this offers the quickest and most affordable pathway towards a cleaner, more efficient, and more reliable power system.
Clean Coalition modeling efforts have demonstrated that preferred resources can maintain power system reliability in California while keeping the State on track to reach its established climate and energy goals. On February 11, Craig Lewis – our Executive Director – was invited to present these findings to the California Energy Commission. His presentation argued for greater deployment of distributed renewables in California rather than furthering the State’s already strong dependency on natural gas, which has proven dirty, unsafe, and unreliable.