Clean Energy in California

Streamlining Sustainability at PGE
by -- March 19th, 2012

MEM students aboard a trolley

On our last day on Wednesday, we hopped on a trolley to Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E) Pacific Energy Center in San Francisco. During the short walk, we encountered a group of people dressed in costumes handing out flyers. I figured it was just another day in San Francisco, but it turned out we were right by a gaming conference.

We made it to the Pacific Energy Center and played with the interactive displays and tools before our meeting. There were models to fiddle with and exhibits on lighting and color. The center promotes energy efficiency in buildings, has a tool lending library, and offers classes to the the public on energy efficiency, demand response, and renewable energy.

PG&E’s Pacific Energy Center

MEM student Lisa Huber at the Pacific Energy Center

At the presentation, we met with many Duke MEM alums who are working on a variety of energy-related projects at PG&E. We heard about PG&E’s sustainability plans from MEM alums Chris Benjamin – Corporate Sustainability, Dave Canny – Customer Energy Solutions, Emily Wangerman – Customer Energy Solutions, and Aaron Rodehorst – Renewables. It was great to see the strong and growing Duke network in San Francisco.

MEM student Lin Jiang in a lighting demonstration

During the talks, we learned about PG&E’s electric power mix and growing renewable resources, the history of decoupling in California, the Smart Grid, and transition to a time-of-use rate system for customers.

It was interesting to hear about PG&E’s strategy to meet California’s aggressive renewable portfolio standard (RPS) of 33% renewable energy by the year 2020. The state’s eligible renewable technologies include wind, solar thermal, photovoltaic, biomass, small hydro, geothermal, bioenergy, fuel cells, and ocean power. PG&E projects its 2020 renewable portfolio of ~27,000 GWh to be comprised of 35% solar PV, 20% wind, 19% solar thermal, and the remainder from geothermal, bioenergy, and small hydro.

Before we knew it, our visit was over and it was time to hop on another trolley to our next destination, Navigant Consulting!

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