Solar, Wind - September 8, 2016
Renewables, imports surpass gas use in California
This summer, California saw a significant change in its electric mix, according to new data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency.
In June, July and August, the mix energy sources used for power generation in the state shifted, with renewable energy and imported electricity moving higher as the use of thermal generation, which comprises almost entirely natural gas, fell 20% compared to the same three-month period in 2015, the EIA said Sept. 6. The overall level of electricity consumption in the area serviced by the California Independent System Operator, or CAISO, was 2% higher this summer as temperatures were slightly warmer than the previous summer.
A number of factors contributed to the shift, including an increase in hydroelectric generation as the West Coast drought situation improved between 2015 and 2016. Also at play was the addition of new generating capacity.
The EIA said in a blog post:
Data from CAISO indicate that nonhydro renewables, mainly solar and wind, represented 26% of capacity in June 2016. Utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity has shown the most growth in CAISO recently, increasing by 1.4 gigawatts (27%) between June 2015 and June 2016. This increase in utility-scale solar capacity has reduced the need for summer thermal generation in CAISO, especially during the daylight hours.