Clean power production gets boost from state funds

provided by California Energy Commission


tate funding of new renewable energy projects will soon help add over 500 megawatts of clean, renewable electricity to the growing renewable power market in California.

A total of 55 new renewable energy projects have passed the first milestone - approval of a "Project Award Package" by the Energy Commission - to receive financial incentives from the Renewable Resources Trust Fund. The fund, established by Assembly Bill 1890, is administered by the Energy Commission. When operational, the projects will contribute nearly 3 million megawatt hours of clean, renewable power to the state's total electric production annually, enough to power about half a million average California homes for one year.

These projects represent the first fresh investment in new renewable power development in more than a decade. Six projects have been built and are generating renewable electricity. The remaining 49 projects will begin operation over the next three years. The 55 new renewable energy projects - including biomass, digester gas, geothermal landfill gas, small hydro and wind technologies - represent the winners of an auction conducted by the Energy Commission for a $162 million set-aside for new renewable projects. That amount represents 30 percent of the $540 million allocated by the California Legislature to support renewable energy development in a deregulated electricity market.

The successful projects competed by submitting bids to receive fixed, generation-based incentives. The bids were capped at 1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. Winning bidders were selected, starting with the lowest subsidy requested, until all of the auction funds were allocated.

Renewable power has long been part of California's electricity system, making the state's electricity mix one of the "greenest" in the nation. The recent boost provided by AB 1890 ensures that renewable resources will continue to be developed for California's electricity needs. Information on the projects is available from the Commission's website at:


State wins share of U.S. funds for energy projects


The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded California nearly $1.25 million to fund 10 projects promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy. The 10 State Energy Program (SEP) projects range from electric vehicle charging stations for rental cars in Los Angeles to compressed natural gas street sweepers in Freemont. They will be administered by the California Energy Commission to promote energy partnerships between governments and private industries.

U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson says SEP grants underscore the productive relationship between the DOE and state energy offices across the country. "I am pleased that we were able to fund solid, important projects which help create a cleaner environment and a stronger economy through the increased use of energy efficient technologies."

Out of the 32 projects submitted nationwide, nearly a third of the awards went to California. "Many of them are from local governments here in California and we were impressed with the high quality of projects we submitted to the Department of Energy," said William Keese, outgoing Chairman of the Energy Commission. "These proposals represent significant improvements in the industrial sector, in buildings, transportation and utilities, and demonstrate how our State is leading the nation in energy innovation." The federal money will be used to leverage State contributions and private investment in the California projects.