New System Will Certify Renewable Power Generation in the West

June 27, 2007

The California Energy Commission (CEC) announced the launch on June 25th of the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS), a renewable energy registry and tracking system for electricity generation. The system is the largest of its kind in the world in terms of coverage and includes the western United States, western Canada, and a small portion of Mexico. It will be used to meet renewable portfolio standard requirements and other renewable energy policies for states and provinces within the Western Interconnection transmission area, which covers Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming; the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta; and the northern portion of Baja California in Mexico.

The voluntary WREGIS system was developed in response to policies set by the California legislature and the Western Governors' Association (WGA). WREGIS will track the renewable generation to help ensure the credibility of the "green" value of renewable electricity. Using independent, verifiable, and reliable data, the system will make it easier to implement renewable policies and achieve renewable energy goals. Data in WREGIS includes megawatt-hours produced, fuel source, facility location, and all state, provincial and voluntary renewable energy program qualifications. One WREGIS certificate is issued for each megawatt-hour of renewable energy produced and deposited on the grid. To prevent double counting, each WREGIS certificate has its own unique serial number. See the CEC press release and the WREGIS Web site.

WREGIS will help the WGA to track its progress on a goal set in 2004 to develop an additional 30,000 megawatts of "clean" energy by 2015, drawing on both traditional and renewable resources. According to a progress report released on June 10th, the Western states are well on their way to that goal, with more than 4,000 megawatts of new renewable generation added in 2005 and 2006 and 3,432 megawatts of new renewable generation projected for 2007. Wind power provided about 93% of that new renewable capacity, but the numbers also include 164 megawatts of new geothermal capacity, 92 megawatts of biomass power, 216 megawatts of grid-connected solar photovoltaic power, and 65 megawatts of central station solar power (a 1-megawatt plant in Arizona and the new 64-megawatt Nevada Solar One plant near Boulder City, Nevada). See the progress report (PDF 1.3 MB). Download Adobe Reader.