Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) customers received more renewable and greenhouse gas-free electricity in 2021 than ever before. PG&E’s mix of electricity sources remains among the cleanest in the nation.
PG&E estimates that 50 percent of its customers’ electricity in 2021 came from specified eligible-renewable resources including biopower, geothermal, small hydroelectric, solar and wind power, according to its recent Form 10-K. Overall, 93 percent of its customers’ electricity came from greenhouse gas (GHG)-free resources, including renewables, nuclear and large hydroelectric power.
“Working with our customers, communities and other partners, we have transformed California’s energy landscape—creating a robust renewable energy market and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions across the state. Now, we’re adding more battery energy storage to enable even more renewables onto our electric grid, paving the way to a healthier environment and carbon-neutral energy system for all Californians,” said PG&E Corporation Chief Executive Officer Patti Poppe.
PG&E strongly supports California’s clean energy policies, renewable goals, and efforts to limit and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Based on current forecasts, PG&E is on track to meet the state’s renewable and carbon-free requirements under Senate Bill 100, including delivering 60 percent of its electricity from eligible renewable resources by 2030.
Solar Dominates Power Mix
At 54 percent, large-scale solar energy accounts for the largest portion of PG&E’s total renewable energy power mix. The company has over 250 Renewables Portfolio Standard-eligible power purchase contracts, totaling over 6,500 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy. Of that, about two-thirds is solar energy. According to the California Independent System Operator (ISO), one MW produces roughly enough electricity to power 750 homes. PG&E also owns 445 MW of eligible-renewable generation, including 13 solar power plants, which are mainly located in California’s Central Valley and generate up to 152 MW of clean power.
Additionally, PG&E has connected more than 608,000 customers with rooftop solar to the electric grid, and supports customers with resources before, during and after they go solar. One in every five solar rooftops in the country are in PG&E’s service area.
Batteries: The New Frontier
PG&E continues to invest in battery energy storage on behalf of its customers. Battery storage enhances overall grid reliability, integrates renewables, and helps customers save energy and money.
The company has contracts for battery energy storage projects totaling more than 3,300 MW of capacity to be deployed through 2024. More than 600 MW of new battery storage capacity has already been connected to the state’s electric grid.
PG&E anticipates an additional 1,100 MW of storage capacity to come online in 2022 and 2023 including PG&E’s Elkhorn Battery in Monterey County, a 182.5 MW BESS, expected to be operational before summer 2022, pending final testing and certification.
Battery energy storage allows PG&E and other utilities to store excess solar or wind power for use later. According to the ISO, currently there are times during the middle of the day when California’s renewable resources can generate more electricity than customers need.
Customer Battery Energy Storage
In addition to large, grid-scale battery storage, PG&E is the leading United States utility in residential, behind-the-meter (BTM) battery storage capacity deployment, and connects new systems to the grid each month. More than 33,000 PG&E residential and business customers have installed and connected BTM battery storage systems to the grid in PG&E’s service area, totaling more than 360 MW of capacity. These customers could on average rely on over 10 hours of critical backup power using their storage system.
A portion of these systems are funded through California’s Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), in which PG&E provides financial incentives for business and residential customers installing new, qualifying equipment for generating and storing energy. This is one way that customers can be prepared for extreme weather events and possible Public Safety Power Shutoff events due to the rapidly changing environmental conditions in California.