In regulatory proceedings across the country, we have long made the case that consumer investment in solar and other clean energy options can be a real cost-saver as it reduces the need for expensive new and upgraded utility infrastructure. Now, with solar on the rise, we're seeing that promise turn into reality.
The governing board of the Golden State's grid operator, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), recently approved its 2015-2016 Transmission Plan which ... wait for it ... calls for canceling THIRTEEN sub-transmission projects that had been planned for PG&E’s service territory. According to the April 1 edition of the industry publication California Energy Markets:
"In his remarks to the board, Eric Eisenman, PG&E's director of ISO relations and FERC policy, conveyed the utility's support for the plan, including the project cancellations. "The need for those is just not there anymore," he said. "We really appreciate the reappraisal of those projects." Load forecast has flattened in the service area from a combination of energy efficiency and rooftop solar, which eliminates the need for these upgrades, Eisenman said."
The total price tag on the cancelled projects was $192 million, a significant savings to California's energy consumers. It's not everyday that you witness a major utility publicly confirming the savings that energy efficiency and rooftop solar can provide by making costly grid infrastructure projects unnecessary. With strong energy policy and proper grid planning, we can make these kinds of savings - along with cleaner air and healthier communities - more commonplace for consumers all across the country.