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Recent progress with grid integration of renewables

Recent progress with grid integration of renewables

Vote Solar has been putting a lot of effort into regulatory reforms so we can successfully run this old power grid of ours with high levels of renewables. In practice, this runs the wonky gamut from interconnection processes to energy storage to a new energy imbalance market.

What’s an energy imbalance market, and how does it help renewables?  The short of it is that, if we can get utilities and grid operators to coordinate across a bigger area (think region rather than state), it’ll help make a renewable-powered grid a cost effective, reliable and highly achievable endeavor. If you want the longer version, our own Jim Baak explains it all in this RenewableEnergyWorld article.

Stay tuned for a Vote Solar webinar on the topic with Doug Larson of the Western Governors Association & Dave Olsen of CAISO, coming up March 13th.

In other news, we have an update on our efforts to provide a renewable solution to Local Capacity Requirements in Southern California.  As per this blogpost, we were on the cusp of a big win, with a proposed decision (directly reflecting our testimony and advocacy) that would have heavily relied on distributed generation (DG), storage, and demand response to offset the need for more gas plants.  The final decision (PDF), voted out last week, redlined most of the DG.  The new decision now requires procurement of 1000-1200 MW of gas, 50 MW of storage, and 150 MW of Preferred Resources (essentially energy efficiency and demand response).  An additional 400 to 600 MW of preferred resources and storage may also be procured, provided the total MW do not exceed 1800. This isn’t a horrible outcome — the gas procurement remains at 1200 MW or below, there is a required 200 MW procurement of storage, DR and EE, and another possible-but-don’t-hold-your-breath 400-600 MW preferred resources/storage procurement, but 1,000 or more MW of extra DG was completely removed.  So, we thought we hit a triple, but the umps walked it back to a single.