PG&E has reached a state-mandated renewable energy goal three years earlier than required, the company said, but fresh challenges loom as the company’s last nuclear power plant is slated for deactivation.
The utility has reached the state-imposed 2020 renewable energy goal of producing 33 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources, it said.
“Reducing carbon emissions, as quickly as possible, is the main objective of California’s energy policies,” said Geisha Williams, PG&E’s chief executive officer. “Creating a sustainable energy future is also the guiding vision for PG&E.”
PG&E also said it now delivers 78.8 percent of its electricity from resources that are free of greenhouse gases. Those resources, however, include the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in central California that’s headed for decommissioning. That means the company will have to scramble to find green energy replacements for Diablo Canyon.
State regulators have approved PG&E’s proposal to shut both Diablo Canyon reactors by 2025. Described by PG&E as a source of clean energy, Diablo Canyon during 2017 provided 27.4 percent of the company’s sources of electricity.
San Francisco-based PG&E highlighted its green energy initiatives at a time when disasters have cast a shadow over the company.
Among PG&E’s woes: a fatal explosion in San Bruno that resulted in a $1.4 billion financial punishment — the largest penalty ever imposed on an American utility; PG&E’s felony conviction in federal court for actions linked to the San Bruno blast; and lethal wildfires in October that scorched the North Bay Wine Country and nearby areas, posing further potential hazards to the company’s well-being.
The next major benchmark for PG&E to meet California’s renewable energy mandates: By 2030, 50 percent of the retail electric deliveries by utilities must be derived from eligible renewable sources. PG&E believes it’s ahead of schedule to meet that benchmark.
But PG&E still needs to find new green energy sources when Diablo Canyon ceases production.
“As we prepare to replace the energy from Diablo, renewable energy sources are something we will be looking at,” said Denny Boyles, a PG&E spokesman.
PG&E reaches green energy goals early, but hurdles loom, by George Avalos, The Mercury News, February 20, 2018.