California's solar and wind farms generated record volumes of renewable energy in the first half of 2022, producing at times more carbon-free electricity than the world's fifth-largest economy could consume.
Cutbacks of available wind and solar output on the California ISO transmission network, covering most of the Golden State and a sliver of Nevada, surged 79% in the first six months of the year to a record 2,063 GWh, according to an S&P Global Commodity Insights analysis of grid operator data.
The nearly 2.1 TWh of wind and solar curtailments in this year's first half, compared with roughly 1.2 TWh in the first half of 2021, mark a return to fast-expanding periodic excesses of CAISO-connected renewable energy after tighter market conditions in 2021 interrupted their rapid growth in 2020 and 2019.
The six-month total was 30% more than the prior annual high of 1,587 GWh curtailed in 2020. The first-half volume of idled renewable energy was also more than the combined net output of California's single largest solar and wind farms in 2021, according to S&P Market Intelligence data. Berkshire Hathaway Energy's 586-MW Topaz Solar Farm in San Luis Obispo County, Calif., and Pattern Energy Group Inc.'s 265-MW Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility in Imperial County, Calif., together generated about 1,740 GWh last year.
More: Calif. solar, wind oversupplies top record 2 TWh in H1'22