California is using more renewables and less natural gas this summer. Improving drought conditions are playing a role.
Power generated from natural gas dropped 20 percent this summer compared to June through August of last year.
The California Independent System Operator says the drought dealt a blow to hydroelectric generation for the last three years. Much of that loss was offset by natural gas.
Now that drought conditions have improved, hydroelectric generation has doubled from last year.
But CAL ISO says that the biggest reason for the decrease in natural gas is the number of renewables coming on line.
"We are seeing the affect from meeting the California Renewables Portfolio Standard and that is adding consistently and throughout the year more and more renewable generation to our grid,” says Steven Greenlee with CAL ISO.
Since June of last year, California has added more than 2300 MWs of renewable energy – most of it solar. The overall level of electricity consumption increased two percent this summer due to higher temperatures.