Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS):
Refinements to the RPS Program


In January 2015, Governor Brown’s Inaugural Address proposed to obtain half of California’s electricity from renewable resources by 2030. Assembly Bill 327 grants the CPUC the authority to increase the RPS target beyond 33 percent.   

On March 6, 2015, the CPUC voted to open a Rulemaking including a Preliminary Scoping Memo to consider raising the RPS target as well as other issues, including:     

  • The relationship of the RPS program to the state’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals.  
  • The integration of GHG reduction goals and metrics into RPS procurement methods.  
  • Implementation of any new statutory requirements related to the RPS program.    

On May 28, 2015, the CPUC issued a Ruling identifying RPS Issues and providing guidelines for the utilities’ 2015 RPS Plans, including aiming for targets of 40% RPS by 2024.  This is consistent with SB 350 which increases the RPS target from 33% to 50% by 2030, with interim targets of 40% by the end of 2024, and 45% by the end of 2027.  


ORA Position

ORA supports a higher renewable energy target in the broader context of the state’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals for 2020 and beyond. The RPS proceeding should work in collaboration with related CPUC proceedings and policies to optimally achiever the state’s objective to reduce GHG emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
ORA’s top priorities for the RPS proceeding are: 

  1. Address items related to the RPS Calculator in a timely manner to ensure that RPS portfolios can be developed in time for the 2016 Long Term Procurement Plan (LTPP) and 2016-2017 California Independent System Operator (CAISO) Transmission Planning Process (TPP) studies. [The Long Term Procurement Plan develops various scenarios of future demand and supply and incorporates the renewables portfolios using the RPS Calculator. The CAISO’s Transmission Planning Process objective is to identify transmission infrastructure requirements for the CAISO balancing authority.]  
  2. Implement the Procurement Expenditure Limitation because it will protect ratepayers from unreasonable costs and promote cost-effective RPS procurement.  
  3. Coordinate with the California Air Resources Board and the California Energy Commission to develop a 2050 Greenhouse Gas framework that optimizes performance and costs. 
  4. Coordinate the issues of program development and costs with other zero-emissions programs (such as Energy Storage, Demand Response and Electric Vehicles) to provide additional grid reliability. 
  5. Update the Least-Cost / Best-Fit standard to include new benefits and costs criteria that may affect total cost.   



See ORA’s: 

April 15, 2015 Pre-Hearing Conference Statement.  

March 26, 2015 Opening Comments on the CPUC’s Rulemaking proposed scope of issues for the proceeding. 


CPUC Docket

See the Proceeding docket.  

Subscribe here to follow the proceeding. 


Other Resources

ORA RPS Portal  

CPUC RPS Webpage  

Foundational CPUC RPS Proceeding [R.11-05-005]