Here in California we are fortunate to enjoy a relatively “clean” energy supply. What many people do not realize is that there are some differences between renewable energy and GHG free energy. All renewable energy contains no (or very little) GHG emissions. There are also some types of energy which are GHG free, but are not considered “renewable” by the State.
CA QUALIFIED RENEWABLE RESOURCES INCLUDE:
GHG FREE RESOURCES THAT ARE NOT CONSIDERED RENEWABLE:
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), your current energy provider, provides electricity that is 27% renewable and 54% greenhouse gas free. Please note that PG&E sources electricity from additional GHG free (but not “renewable”) sources, such as nuclear and large hydroelectric.1
In order to reduce County-wide GHG emissions from electricity generation, the goal of PCE is to provide energy that contains both more renewable energy content and fewer GHG emissions than PG&E.2 In addition, study participants were interested in how the projected electricity rates would compare to PG&E in each scenario, to ensure that PCE can be cost competitive.
Each supply scenario was evaluated based on the parameters listed above which include impact on electrical rates, degree to which greenhouse gases can be reduced, and degree to which use of renewable energy can be increased. The study also projected customer opt-out rates for each scenario. The results of the study are listed below for Year 1 of PCE operations.
Scenario 1: Low-Cost
- 35% Renewable
- 35% GHG-Free (including renewable energy)
- Average 6% cost savings from PG&E (~$5.40/month)3
- Assumed 15% opt-out rate
Scenario 2: Balanced
- 50% Renewable
- 63% GHG-Free (including renewable energy)
- Average 4% cost savings from PG&E (~$4.05/month)
- Annual reduction in 75,000 metric tons of GHG emissions
- Assumed 15% opt-out rate
Scenario 3: 100% Renewable
- 100% Renewable
- 100% GHG-Free (including renewable energy)
- Average 2% cost increase from PG&E (~$1.80/month)
- Annual reduction in 130,000 Metric tons of GHG emissions
- Assumed 25% opt-out rate
| ||PG&E||Scenario 1||Scenario 2||Scenario 3
|Cost Difference from PG&E||N/A||-6%||-4%||+2%
|Difference in GHG Emissions (MTCO2e)||N/A||+211,000||-75,000||-130,000
|Projected Opt-Out Rate||N/A||15%||15%||25/50%
Scenarios 1 and 2 demonstrate the potential for customer rate savings in 2016, ranging from 2% to 6%, relative to PG&E projected 2016 rates. Scenario 1 shows the greatest opportunity for customer savings, but would lead to an overall increase in GHG emissions (despite a higher level of renewable energy). Scenario 2 still demonstrates modest customer savings, but surpasses PG&E both in terms of renewable energy content and GHG emissions reduction.
Scenario 3 demonstrates the greatest use of renewables and reduction in GHG emissions; however, it would result in a 1-2% increase in customer rates, relative to PG&E. The higher cost may also increase the opt-out rate of the program.
All three scenarios would meet or exceed current State requirements for renewable energy content in Year 1. In the ten-year study period, Scenarios 1 and 2 assumed an increase in renewable energy content to 50% and 75% respectively after 2020. Scenario 2 assumes an increase in GHG-free content. As a result, the GHG emissions of both Scenarios 1 and 2 are projected to decrease over time. The GHG emissions from PG&E’s energy content is also assumed to decrease over time, due to increasing State requirements for renewable energy and other factors.