California approves plan for more renewable power, batteries

Feb 11 (Reuters) - California utility regulators this week approved plans to add more renewables and batteries to ensure the state has enough power resources over the next decade to keep the lights on and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

That plan comes after California last year was forced to rely more on natural gas for power generation after a severe drought and massive wildfires left the state with few other options. read more

California has spent years restricting the growth of fossil fuel infrastructure as it moves away from natural gas and other fossil fuels to reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on Thursday adopted a 35 million metric ton (MMT) 2032 electric sector greenhouse gas planning target, which was more stringent than the previous 46 MMT target.

The PUC said that equates to 73% Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) resources and 86% greenhouse gas-free resources by 2032.

In 2021, half the power generated in the California Independent System Operator's grid came from natural gas. The rest was from solar (21%), wind (12%), nuclear (10%), hydro (7%) and other resources (1%), according to federal energy data.

The decision adopts a preferred portfolio of resources that includes about 25,500 megawatts (MW) of new renewables and 15,000 MW of new storage and demand response resources by 2032.

That is enough clean energy to power about 11.5 million homes, the PUC said. California wants to produce all of its electricity from clean sources by 2045.

This preferred portfolio includes more solar and battery storage than the previous portfolio, as well as out-of-state wind and offshore wind resources.

The PUC said there should be enough space for all the preferred portfolio resources on the existing transmission system, with only limited transmission upgrades needed by 2032.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Bill Berkrot

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