California PUC looks at changes in energy storage development plan

The California Public Utilities Commission at its Jan. 28 meeting is due to look at a proposed decision that would give Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) a break on energy storage mandates.

This proposed decision addresses certain energy storage policy and program issues that must be resolved prior to commencement of the investor-owned utilities’ (IOU) 2016 energy storage procurement solicitations. It would:

  • Approve the investor-owned utilities’ request for additional flexibility of energy storage targets between grid domains. It allows the IOUs to satisfy some of their transmission and distribution domain targets through customer-connected projects, up to a “ceiling” of 200% of the existing customer domain targets.
  • Deny the requests for modifications to the Request for Offer process to require additional specificity regarding operational need or location.
  • Clarify that DC-based storage used as part of a DC microgrid is an eligible storage product for purposes of meeting the storage targets established in Decision (D.) 13-10-040 and the requirements of Assembly Bill (AB) 2514, but finds that a hydrogen-based power-to-gas option (P2G) is ineligible to meet the storage targets established in D.13-10-040 and the requirements of AB 2514 when injected into the natural gas pipeline.
  • Find that credit for SGIP-funded energy storage projects should be split evenly between an unbundled customer’s IOU and the Community Choice Aggregation/Energy Service Provider for purposes of meeting the storage targets.
  • Find that voluntary energy storage deployments should count towards the storage target established for that customer’s Load Serving Entity.
  • Extend the authorization of the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment mechanism to recover potential above-market costs associated with departing load for market/”bundled” energy storage services procured via the 2016 solicitation.
  • Defer the resolution of the request for extension of the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment mechanism for market/”bundled” energy storage contracts beyond 10 years to applications for approval of contracts resulting from the 2014 storage solicitation process.
  • Defer the resolution of the requests to change the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment mechanism to the applications for approval of contracts resulting from the 2014 storage solicitation process.

In March 2015, the commission opened rulemaking (R.) 14-03-011 to address ongoing implementation of Assembly Bill (AB) 251 and to continue to refine policies and program details as required or recommended by Decisions (D.) 13-10-040 and D.14-10-045, which established the Energy Storage Procurement Framework and Design Program and approved the utilities’ applications and framework for the 2014 biennial procurement period. The commission also proposed the consideration of recommendations included in the California Energy Storage Roadmap, an interagency guidance document that was jointly developed by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the California Energy Commission, and the utilities commission. This rulemaking is the successor to R.10-12-007.

In D.13-10-040,4 the commission adopted a total energy storage procurement target of 1,325 MW, allocated to each of the investor-owned utilities in four biennial solicitations through 2020 (non-IOU load serving entities have targets based on 1% of annual peak load by 2020). That decision provided a basis for cost/benefit analysis in several use cases, adopted caps for procurement of storage in various grid domains (transmission, distribution and customer), and allowed for some flexibility across the transmission and distribution grid domains, but not into and out of the customer grid domain.

In addition, the decision allowed each IOU to utilize its proprietary protocols for assessing and selecting winning energy storage bids but required the IOUs to develop a consistent evaluation protocol (CEP) for reporting/benchmarking and facilitating a consistent comparison across utilities, bids, and use-cases. D.13-10-040 also directed that a comprehensive evaluation of the Energy Storage Framework and Design Program be conducted no later than 2016 and once every three years thereafter.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.