Roseville City Council approves energy plan

Use of more renewable sources likely to increase rates
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Roseville Electric will spend an estimated $4.5 million this fiscal year to comply with renewable energy and greenhouse-gas reduction mandates.

The Roseville City Council unanimously approved an updated Integrated Resource Plan during the Sept. 5 meeting, which establishes a strategy for the utility provider to incorporate more renewable resources as required by state law. Vice Mayor Susan Rohan and Councilman John Allard were absent.

Utilities must average 20 percent renewables by December 2013 and Roseville Electric is currently at 12 percent. This change will likely raise rates for customers, according to the utility's staff report.

Roseville Electric plans to conduct a rate analysis. The previous analysis in 2009 resulted in three rate increases of 6.2 percent each over 13 months.

California's Legislature passed the Renewable Standard Portfolio in 2011, requiring utilities to obtain 33 percent of their electricity from renewable resources - such as wind, solar, geothermal, small hydroelectric - by 2020.

The law designates three renewable categories. Category 1 is the most environmentally friendly and utilities must have a least 50 percent of this source by the end of 2016 and 75 percent by 2020. Category 2 starts with energy from a renewable generator but is "firmed and shaped" with ordinary grid energy.

Category 3 is renewable energy that comes from outside California or takes the form of payment to a renewable energy company. Only 10 percent of energy can come from this source by 2020.

In the short term, Roseville Electric plans to maximize Category 2 and 3 options. The utility will delay investments in intermittent resources - such as wind and solar - because their output cannot be accurately predicted or controlled.

~ Sena Christian