Wednesday, May 16, 2007

PG&E Adds More Geothermal to Renewable Energy Mix

SAN FRANCISCO - Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced it has entered into a contract with Western GeoPower, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Western GeoPower Corp., to purchase renewable geothermal energy from The Geysers Geothermal Field in Northern California. The project will deliver 25.5 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy for PG&E's customers throughout Northern and Central California starting in 2010.

"With this agreement we're taking a major step forward in meeting our renewable energy goals," said Fong Wan, vice president of Energy Procurement. "This project is yet another example of our company's commitment to the environment by delivering reliable, climate-friendly energy to our customers."

The Geysers Geothermal Field, located 75 miles north of San Francisco, California, is the largest producer of geothermal electricity in the world. Commercial geothermal power has been generated continuously at The Geysers Field since 1960.

"The timing of our project could not be better as it responds directly to California's legislated Renewable Portfolio Standard Program (RPS) requiring State utilities, including PG&E, to purchase at least 20% of their electricity from renewable energy sources by the year 2010," said Kenneth MacLeod, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western GeoPower.

Geothermal energy accounts for four percent of PG&E's overall energy mix. PG&E currently supplies 13 percent of its energy from qualifying renewable sources under California's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) -- one of the highest volumes of any utility in the United States. Renewable sources in PG&E's portfolio include solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and small hydroelectric. In addition, more than 50 percent of the electricity that PG&E delivers to its customers comes from generating resources that emit no or low carbon dioxide, the primary contributor to global warming.

The Western GeoPower contract is the first contract originating from PG&E's 2006 RPS solicitation. PG&E is currently in discussions with additional market participants that submitted offers in the 2006 solicitation. PG&E anticipates submitting a first batch of contracts, including the one with Western GeoPower, to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for approval by the end of the month.

In addition to the ongoing 2006 solicitation, PG&E is also in the early stages of its 2007 RPS solicitation. The company is seeking to procure an additional 1-2 percent of its customers' electricity needs through the 2007 renewable energy solicitation process. Schedule and bidding instructions can be found at http://www.pge.com/rfo. The 2007 RPS solicitation is PG&E's fifth competitive solicitation for renewable energy since 2002. Since then, it has entered into contracts for approximately 1100 MW of renewable power from wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydro resources.

California's RPS Program requires each utility to increase its procurement of eligible renewable generating resources by one percent of load per year to achieve a 20 percent renewables goal by 2010. The contract with Western GeoPower represents approximately 0.3 percent of load. The RPS Program was passed by the Legislature and is managed by California's Public Utilities Commission and Energy Commission.

For more information about Pacific Gas and Electric Company, please visit the company's web site at http://www.pge.com/

1 comment:

daniel said...

Fantastic info...I have been very interested in thermal energy as of late, especially after Gov. Schwarzenegger formed a bill into law that set a CO2 limit on coal plants as a future source of electricity in the West Coast market. This is a good (early) time for geothermal energy production.

I would also recommend this report to everyone...

Geothermal Energy Special Report

-Cheers!