The SGIP is a statewide initiative of the California Public Utilities Commission ( CPUC) designed to promote power generation by utility customers. Its purpose is to help achieve state energy goals of generating one-third of California’s electricity from renewable sources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. CCSE administers SGIP in the San Diego Gas & Electric service area.
"The Self-Generation Incentive Program is yet more proof that California is leading the charge in the world of clean energy technology," said Jana Kopyciok, CCSE’s SGIP manager. "San Diegans will benefit from these projects as we protect our air quality while also reducing the need for additional power plants."
In existence since 2001, SGIP was originally aimed at increasing customer generation to reduce peak energy demand loads. Throughout the past year, the CPUC has revised the program, modifying eligibility criteria, incentive amounts and payment structures for eligible technologies.
The current program goals are based on greenhouse gas emissions reductions, funding technologies that include wind turbines, fuel cells, organic rankine cycle/waste heat capture, pressure reduction turbines, advanced energy storage and combined heat and power gas turbines, microturbines and internal combustion engines. There are additional incentives for systems that operate on biofuels, such as methane produced from plant biomass or treated municipal and industrial waste.
Incentive payments to SGIP participants benefit all ratepayers by reducing the need for utilities to invest in expensive transmission and distribution infrastructure. Any class of customer – industrial, agricultural, commercial or residential – is eligible to participate in SGIP.
Several SGIP projects have been completed in the San Diego region. In 2010, Cox Communications completed construction of two fuel cells totaling 800 kilowatts to produce power for their corporate headquarters in San Diego with a $3.6 million SGIP award. Their efforts are part of a nationwide Cox Conserves program that is designed to reduce the company’s energy consumption.
"The two fuel cell projects that we installed in San Diego, along with two additional units at our Orange County facility, are helping Cox Communications achieve its nationwide goal to reduce the company’s carbon footprint by 20 percent by 2017. We encourage other companies to implement eco-friendly energy initiatives," said Jennifer Shaffer, a program manager at Cox Communications.