Analysis: California’s report on RPS costs and savings needs an update


The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) released its 2020 Padilla Report, an annual accounting of costs and cost savings from the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS), now targeting a 100% clean energy supply by 2045. The report documents the uneven workings of the RPS and ongoing gaps in critical data. To learn more, read “Analysis: California’s report on RPS costs and savings needs an update.”

Key Takeaways:

  • A key figure — contract costs per kilowatt-hour (kWh) — dropped about a cent, from 3.81 cents per kWh in 2018 to 2.82 cents per kWh in 2019, contributing to a slight drop in RPS spending by investor-owned utilities (IOUs) and a parallel, incremental rise in electricity generated. 
  • The report’s top-line figures show the IOUs spending $5.4 billion on RPS procurements in 2019 versus $5.6 billion in 2018; the corresponding gigawatt-hours of renewable power rose from 52,936 GWh in 2018 to 53,244 GWh last year.
  • These and other figures in the report come with various caveats and qualifications in regards to   IOUs procurement, community choice aggregators’ (CCAs) growing impact and cost savings.

Path to 100% Perspective:

Moving toward a 100% RPS means taking into account the complexities of the California market and developing a more comprehensive, sophisticated framework for analysis. If California intends to meet its 2045 target, it must address certain gaps in critical data, such as RPS costs and savings.