Facing Stricter Climate Goals, California
by Robert Walton
California is generating nearly 30 percent of its generation
from non-hydro renewable energy so far this year
As the California legislative session wound down, lawmakers voted on four separate bills aimed at giving a boost to energy storage.
AB 33 directs the CPUC to consider large-scale storage, specifically pumped hydro. The bill comes after the California ISO identified a need for fast-ramping, flexible resources to balance the grid and mitigate the potential impacts of over-generation from renewables.
In either a new or existing proceeding, the law would direct regulators to "assess the potential costs and benefits of all types of long duration bulk energy storage resources, including impacts to the transmission and distribution systems of location-specific long duration bulk energy storage resources."
While California already has an energy storage mandate, AB 2868 would allow utilities to develop an additional 500 MW of storage capacity "divided equally among the state's three largest electrical corporations."
AB 1637 aims to double the Self-Generation Incentive Program. Earlier this summer regulators updated and revised the program, which currently provides $83 million a year through 2019 for behind-the-meter generation technologies including wind, fuel cells and energy storage.
And a final bill, AB 2861, directs the CPUC to establish a resolution process for interconnection disputes. The bill sets a goal of resolving disputes within 60 days, and would require the commission to appoint a "qualified electrical systems engineer with substantial interconnection expertise to advise the director of the energy division and to provide adequate commission staff to assist in resolving interconnection disputes."
As California moves toward higher penetrations of renewable energy and less reliance on traditional fossil generation, energy storage is expected to play an increasingly important role in maintaining reliability and power quality.
This spring, the California Public Utilities Commission approved expedited storage purchases for utilities near the Aliso Canyon gas leak outside Los Angeles, which depleted local gas supplies for generators. Already, SDG&E has announced a 150 MWh project for the region, and SCE unveiled a plan to retrofit an existing gas plant with 80 MWh of batteries.
PG&E also showed its increasing reliance on energy storage this summer when it announced it would retire the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant and replace it with zero-carbon resources, a task that will likely require it to store renewable power for use during peak demand hours.
California legislature: AB 33
California legislature: AB 2868
California legislature: AB 1637
California legislature: AB 2861
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