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Home / Impact / Sustainability / Riverside’s wind power buy puts city ahead of 2030 clean energy goal

Riverside’s wind power buy puts city ahead of 2030 clean energy goal

by Staff
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Riverside Public Utilities has reached an agreement to obtain 125 megawatts of wind-generated electricity from a new facility under construction in New Mexico, which will allow the city to reach the 2030 statewide clean energy mandate with more than three years to spare, officials announced Thursday.

The Riverside City Council on Tuesday approved the power purchase and sale agreement, which will boost RPU’s renewable energy resources from the current 45.4% of the utility’s overall energy load to nearly 70% when the project gets started in March 2026, according to a city statement. That percentage will surpass the state’s legislated benchmark of 60% renewable energy by 2030 for municipalities.

“This power purchase agreement not only reinforces the City’s dedication to clean energy, but also positions us as a leader in renewable energy,” RPU Deputy General Manager Daniel E. Garcia said in a statement. “It is a critical step towards a greener and more sustainable future for our community and the entire region.”

The city entered into a 15-year agreement that has been negotiated for over a year with Pattern Energy for the SunZia Wind Project in New Mexico.

“Once built, the project will provide as much as 3,515 MW to multiple customers across the Southwest, making it the largest renewable wind energy generation facility in the United States,” according to the city.

Officials said the agreement will help RPU continue to meet and exceed the state mandates for clean energy included in Senate Bill 100, which was enacted in 2018. That law updated California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard for utilities to source specific percentages of their overall energy usage from renewable sources.

“The 2018 law maintained the existing target of 33% RPS by 2020 (which RPU met), but also established new targets of 44% by 2024 (which RPU already has met), 52% by 2027, and 60% by 2030,” according to the city’s statement. “SB 100 also codified in state law the policy that all of California’s retail electricity supply must be a mix of RPS-eligible and zero-carbon resources by December 31, 2045.”

During the past decade, the Board of Public Utilities and City Council have approved more than 230 MW of renewable resource contracts and/or extensions. RPU now has 116 MW of geothermal energy, 46 MW of wind energy, and over 100 MW of solar photovoltaic energy under contract.

“The statewide RPS means that utilities all across California must be diligent in finding viable clean energy resources, then locking up those resources for future use,” RPU Board Chair Gil Oceguera said in a statement. “RPU has excelled at this, and our ratepayers can rest assured that their utility is ensuring a clean and green future for them and their families.”

Riverside’s new wind energy contract will help move toward its two goals of reaching a zero-carbon electric grid and contribute to the citywide carbon neutrality by 2040.

The wind project will lessen Riverside’s carbon footprint by about 158,000-167,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, which is the equivalent of taking 36,304 vehicles off the road each year, officials said.

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