California, where utilities added 830 MW of wind and solar capacity last year, is a great example of how smart policies can help drive deployment of clean energy – and lower electricity prices.

That new capacity is an annual record for the state, which has the most aggressive renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in the country.

Take a look at the year-over-year increases in the amount of renewable energy installed to meet the RPS, according to the latest report from the state utility regulator, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC):

It’s not just the quantity of renewable electricity in California that’s exciting. The development of a robust market for clean power capacity and the falling costs of contracts for renewable electricity are equally encouraging. (AWEA’s blog has a good take on the report here.)

As the CPUC sums it up:

“The overall picture is that the renewable market is robust, competitive, and has matured since the start of the RPS program. Based on the current 2011 RPS Solicitation, costs are decreasing, making renewable energy more competitive with fossil fuels.”

Clean power and lower-cost power are two primary goals when we look at building the modern, strategic electricity grid, and incorporating all of that new power into the grid requires transmission. The wires that connect wind and solar electricity to people and businesses are, in fact, a prerequisite to meeting renewable energy goals in California and around the country.

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