For Immediate Release, October 5, 2007
Contact: Brian Nowicki, California Climate Policy Director, (916) 201-6938
Conservation Groups Ask California Utilities Commission
to Enforce Renewable Energy Targets
San Diego Gas & Electric and Other Utilities Would Have to
Meet Deadline for 20 Percent Renewable Energy by 2010
SAN FRANCISCO– Two conservation groups are asking state regulators to enforce California requirements that utilities obtain 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2010. The Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club filed a motion today with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to require revision of San Diego Gas & Electric’s renewable energy plan in light of announcements that the company does not expect to the meet the 2010 deadline.
“San Diego Gas & Electric has admitted it’s unlikely to meet state deadlines to provide renewable energy,” said David Hogan, conservation manager with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Those deadlines are intended to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, but the corporation doesn’t seem to be taking them seriously.”
“First SDG&E wants to blame everyone else for their own lack of support for renewable energy,” said Micah Mitrosky, Smart Energy Solutions campaign organizer for the Sierra Club. “Then the company wants to add insult to injury by dodging penalties. California regulators should send them packing.”
California law known as the Renewable Portfolio Standard requires that each utility in California obtain at least 20 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2010 and 33 percent by 2020. However, a January 2007 review by the California Energy Commission found that utilities do not appear to be on track to meet the renewable energy deadlines.
According to San Diego Gas & Electric’s renewable procurement plan, the company admits that it is “…highly unlikely that it will achieve the 20% mandate by 2010.” In August, its parent company Sempra Energy reported the same conclusion to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
A CPUC ruling on San Diego Gas & Electric’s 2008 Draft Renewable Procurement Plan and the groups’ motion will likely have statewide implications, as it answers questions about utility companies’ obligations to provide 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2010. In particular, a strong ruling by the CPUC would demonstrate to utility companies that they must meet renewable energy targets on time or face penalties, and that failed schemes with energy developers or speculative transmission lines are no excuse for failing to meet the targets.
San Diego Gas & Electric has appeared less than enthusiastic about supporting renewables or addressing global warming. The company has delivered less than one-third the amount of renewable energy sales of Southern California Edison and less than half the sales of Pacific Gas & Electric and lobbied vigorously against the Renewable Portfolio Standard. According to a 2006 interview, Sempra President Donald Felsinger was ambivalent about global warming and reluctant to invest in renewable energy technologies beyond what the state requires. Said Felsinger, “There is definitely a debate about global warming, and when you look at the opposing views, neither one has prevailed. The coal industry says there is no evidence of global warming. I don't think the science supports either side.”
The state of California has long been a champion of environmental protection and a national leader in climate change policy. To address the critical challenge of reducing California’s greenhouse gas emissions, the California Global Warming Solutions Act requires California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020; Executive Order S-3-05 establishes targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The Renewable Portfolio Standard is a critical component of reaching these targets.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a nonprofit conservation organization with more than 35,000 members dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
The Sierra Club is a nonprofit advocacy organization whose mission is to explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the Earth