We've been talking about the challenges that California's renewable energy goals pose for the Northwest, and last week the region's utility community had an opportunity to meet with California industry representatives to discuss the issues and find ways to work together to identify and solve problems.
Here are some key facts:
- Governor Schwartzenegger's 2009 executive order sets a goal of 33 percent renewable energy by 2020. In order to meet that standard, the Bonneville Power Administration estimates that California will need an additional 7,599 megawatts of capacity. That's a significant amount to achieve in 10 years.
- Since wind requires additional reserves to integrate it into the power system, some companies, like Iberdrola, are beginning to move toward delivering a "full product," that's to say, wind that includes integration costs.
- Another issue is what to do when there is more wind power than load. Two options are simply curtailing production and improving within-hour scheduling.
- New technologies may also help to make renewable energy more dispatchable.
In the end, it seems that everyone is on the same page in terms of understanding what the challenges are, and perhaps most importantly, wanting to make sure that both regions meet their respective energy goals. As one California participant noted, "We don't want Northwest customers to subsidize wind."