What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy is energy generated from nearly inexhaustible sources such as the sun, the wind, the ocean, and the Earth's core, or from sources such as biomass and biogas that can quickly be replenished. The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC) offers a wealth of information on renewable energy, as does NREL.
Which fuels are RPS eligible?
The Energy Commission certifies facilities and energy deliveries as eligible for counting towards California's RPS goals. The following fuels are eligible, subject to fuel specific requirements1:
Biomass - any organic material not derived from fossil fuels, including agricultural crops, agricultural wastes and residues, waste pallets, crates, dunnage, manufacturing, and construction wood wastes, landscape and right-of-way tree trimmings, mill residues that result from milling lumber, rangeland maintenance residues, sludge derived from organic matter, and wood and wood waste from timbering operations.
Biodiesel - Biodiesel is a type of biofuel made by combining animal fat or vegetable oil (such as soybean oil or recycled restaurant grease) with alcohol and can be directly substituted for diesel. (Source: MTC/link)
Fuel cells using renewable fuels – electricity produced from the creation and breakdown of hydrogen. If the hydrogen source is a renewable fuel, this technology is RPS eligible.
Digester gas - gas from the anaerobic digestion of organic wastes.
Geothermal - natural heat from within the earth, captured for production of electric power, space heating, or industrial steam.
Landfill gas - gas produced by the breakdown of organic matter in a landfill (composed primarily of methane and carbon dioxide), or the technology that uses this gas to produce power.
Municipal solid waste - solid waste as defined in Public Resources Code Section 40191.
Ocean wave - an experimental technology that uses ocean waves to produce electricity.
Ocean thermal – an experimental technology that uses the temperature differences between deep and surface ocean water to produce electricity.
Tidal current - energy obtained by using the motion of the tides to run water turbines that drive electric generators.
Solar Photovoltaic - a technology that uses a semiconductor to convert sunlight directly into electricity.
Small hydroelectric (30 megawatts or less) - a facility employing one or more hydroelectric turbine generators, the sum capacity of which does not exceed 30 megawatts.
Solar thermal – Use of concentrated sunlight to produce heat that powers an electric generator.
Wind - energy from wind converted into mechanical energy and then electricity.
For more detailed information, please see the Energy Commission's Overall Program Guidebook and Renewables Portfolio Standard Eligibility Guidebook.
How does a facility become certified as RPS eligible?
The California Energy Commission is responsible for determining the eligibility of renewable resources and certifying individual facilities as RPS eligible. For more information see the CEC RPS Eligibility Guidebook.