On August 12, 2010, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved renewable energy contracts for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE). California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) program, one of the most ambitious renewable energy standards in the country, requires investor-owned utilities, energy service providers, and community choice aggregators operating in California to obtain 20 percent of their retail sales from renewable energy sources by 2010. Moreover, Executive Order S-14-08 establishes a 33 percent by 2020 RPS goal. The CPUC’s approval of PG&E and SCE contracts on August 12th, described in more detail below, is an important step toward achieving these renewable energy goals.

PG&E received approval of three 20-year power purchase agreements with Eurus Energy America Corporation for the Avenal Park, LLC; Sun City Project, LLC; and Sand Drag, LLC projects. According to CPUC, these three solar photovoltaic facilities will provide a combined 48 megawatts (MW) of new renewable capacity and an estimated 77 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of energy annually. The projects will be located near Fresno, California. Energy deliveries are anticipated to begin in mid-2011.

CPUC also approved PG&E’s 25-year power purchase agreement with Genesis Solar, LLC, an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, a subsidiary of the FPL Group. Under this power purchase agreement, PG&E will procure an average of 524 GWh of renewable energy from a solar thermal facility being developed in Riverside County, California. Energy deliveries are expected to begin in 2013.

Finally, CPUC approved SCE’s 20-year power purchase agreement with Solar Partners I, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of BrightSource Energy, Inc. The project is a 117 MW solar thermal facility that will utilize solar thermal tower technology. The developer ultimately may expand the project up to 128.7 MW. The facility will be located in Ivanpah, California, and SCE expects energy deliveries to begin in 2013.

For the latest information about the utilities’ progress towards the state’s RPS goal, please see CPUC’s Quarterly Report to the Legislature: www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/energy/Renewables/index.htm.

A link to CPUC’s press release discussing the August 12, 2010 approvals can be found here: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PUBLISHED/NEWS_RELEASE/121949.htm