State Overview of California
Cities interested in procuring renewable energy must first understand the factors that shape their state energy landscape. This overview provides a starting point by providing insight into state market and regulatory context that impacts the renewable energy procurement options available. Options that are available within each state are highlighted and introduced. As cities progress in developing their procurement plans, the boundaries of their utility service territory and their utility type will also impact options but are not captured within these state overviews.
The materials here are a living resource, and as states and cities progress towards a renewable future, the website will be updated accordingly. We welcome your feedback.
California Generation Profile
These graphs show the percentage of existing renewable energy generation within California and future growth projections based on existing Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). When developing a renewable energy strategy, cities should consider how much renewable energy they already receive from their utility and which technologies have proven more successful in their state (e.g. wind vs. solar). Further, cities with green house gas emissions (GHG) targets may wish to consider the carbon intensity of their local grid; cities located in states which rely heavily on coal or petroleum are in a prime position to reduce their carbon intensity through renewable energy purchases.
How is electricity generated in California ?
Total Annual Electricity Generation By Energy Source (2017)
of electricity in California comes from wind and solar
of electricity in California is imported from other states
out of all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. for the percent of electricity sourced from wind and solar
Where is California Headed?
Near Term Compliance for RPS Targets
60% by 2030
RPS increased from 50% to 60% in 2018. The curent RPS also requires 100% of all retail sales by 2045 must come from renewable energy and zero-carbon sources.
California Electricity Markets
The information below shows whether your state has electric retail choice, which allows you to choose your supplier. It also indicates if your state is within an organized wholesale market that may provide additional options for procuring renewable energy.
In states that do not have electric retail choice, consumers must purchase electricity directly from their traditional utility provider, which may limit their ability to enter into contracts with third-party electricity providers.
Cities which control their own municipal utility do not have the same regulatory constraints as they would if they were purchasing from a state-regulated utility.
Retail Electric Choice
Can I choose my electricity provider?
Please review the ACCES Database
Organized Wholesale Markets
Is California within an Organized Wholesale Market?
If so, what is the name of the independent system operator (ISO) / regional transmission organization (RTO) ?
Does the market cover the entire state?Yes
At what price is electricity bought and sold in the wholesale market by energy traders and utilities and the current fuel mix?
Wholesale prices should be considered when entering into any off-site power purchase agreement. For more information, see the descriptions of these contracts on our renewable procurement options page. Note that prices fluctuate by season, day, and hour. Illustrative historic wholesale electricity rates can found here.
Questions? A Renewables Accelerator team member can assist you with interpreting this data.
Wholesale Prices and Fuel Mix
For more information on data sources and methodology, you may find the technical note here.
Additional Resources for California
- California Energy Commission
- California Public Utilities Commission
- California Air Resources Board
- California SEIA Factsheet
- Project Sunroof: Rooftop Solar Potential for California
- California Solar + Storage Association
- California Office of Ratepayer Advocates
- California AWEA Factsheet
- California Solar NREL