News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.

Imperial Valley Utility Expects to Beat State Renewable Energy Goals

Geothermal plant in the Salton Basin | Photo courtesy Union of Concerned Scientists

The Imperial Irrigation District (IID), a public-owned utility that serves the Imperial and Coachella valleys, announced this week that it expects to exceed the state's Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) by a wide margin.

"IID has been a long promoter and proponent of renewable energy," said Belen Valenzuela, the utility's assistant energy manager for Resource Planning. "Being able to reach these milestones with local resources really says a lot about IID's commitment to meeting the state's renewable energy mandates."

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A report released earlier this year by the Union of Concerned Scientists tweaked the IID for lackluster adoption of renewables until 2010, but the utility maintains that report was based on outdated information.

The IID has indeed been developing its renewable portfolio aggressively, promoting photovoltaic development on former agricultural land and signing contracts with local sources of geothermal and biomass power as well. Biomass is the single largest source of IID's renewable power, at just under 10% of the utility's supply.

California's RPS law requires publically-owned utilities to average 20 percent in renewable energy sources between 2011 and 2013. That increases to 25 percent by 2016 and 33 percent by 2020. IID is forecasting it will reach the 20% mark this year, reaching 30% in 2013.

The third largest public power provider in California, IID serves approximately 146,000 customers in Imperial County and parts of Riverside and San Diego counties.

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About the Author

Chris Clarke is a natural history writer and environmental journalist currently at work on a book about the Joshua tree. He lives in Joshua Tree.
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