California PUC okays latest energy storage plans by three utilities

The California Public Utilities Commission issued a Sept. 20 decision that approves, with slight modifications, the applications of Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric that set forth their procurement plans for the 2016 energy storage procurement process.

The adopted modifications clarify how energy storage projects funded by the Self-Generation Incentive Program are counted towards utility storage goals, eliminate the contingency provision proposed by San Diego Gas & Electric related to adoption of its proposed time-of-use periods, and add a requirement for additional information for evaluation purposes in the applications for approval of 2016 contracts.

In December 2010, the commission opened a rulemaking to implement the provisions of Assembly Bill (AB) 2514. AB 2514 directed the commission to determine appropriate targets, if any, for each Load-Serving Entity (LSE) to procure viable and cost-effective energy storage systems and set dates for any targets deemed appropriate to be achieved. Consistent with AB 2514, the commission‟s energy storage procurement program is guided by three purposes:

  • Optimization of the grid, including peak reduction, contribution to reliability needs, or deferment of transmission and distribution upgrade investments;
  • The integration of renewable energy; and
  • The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, per California‟s goals.

The commission required the three utilities to file on or before March 1, 2014, and biennially thereafter through 2020, an application for approval of a plan to procure energy storage resources to address the targets and policies of the commission‟s Energy Storage Procurement Framework and Design Program. These latest applications were for approval of the 2016 biennial period framework. PG&E, SCE and SDG&E filed procurement applications on March 1, 2016.

  • PG&E proposed to procure 115.3 MW, and may count 4.7 MW of existing eligible projects, towards its 2016 procurement target.
  • SCE stated that it has already exceeded its 2016 procurement targets but will hold a 2016 Energy Storage Request for Offers (RFO) to solicit up to 20 MW of resource adequacy-eligible energy storage projects in specified locations. SCE is also exploring additional use cases to include in its 2016 solicitation.
  • SDG&E proposed to solicit up to 140 MW in its 2016 Preferred Resources Local Capacity Requirement Request for Offers from five different resource types, including energy storage. In addition, SDG&E plans to issue a Request for Proposals for up to 4 MW of Distribution Reliability/Power Quality energy storage resources.
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.