Utility Ownership Of Renewables Questioned In California

The Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA), the independent consumer-advocacy arm of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), says the CPUC's recent decision to deny an application for a 246 MW wind project has set a precedent for firmly ascertaining the costs and risks associated with utility-owned renewable energy generation.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) originally proposed the Manzana project, which was to be located in the Tehachapi region of Kern County, in 2009. The DRA says the $911 million wind project carried ‘significant risk and an unreasonable price tag.’

The developer canceled its contract with PG&E late last year, and the utility ‘attempted to withdraw its application just days before the CPUC was poised to vote on the proposed decision that rejected the project outright,’ the DRA adds.

‘The CPUC has sent a clear message that utilities should only propose utility-owned renewable projects that are cost-competitive, demonstrate need and consider the risk of customers' investment,’ says Joe Como, acting director of the DRA.

SOURCE: Division of Ratepayer Advocates

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