California PUC proposes 1.3 GW energy storage target for 2020


Carla Peterman
San Francisco, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — June 13, 2013 – The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has proposed a 1.325 GW energy storage procurement target for 2020 for the state’s three investor owned utilities.

For Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric the proposed 2020 targets are 580 MW each, starting with 90 MW each in 2014. They then ramp up – to allow for learning – by approximately a third each successive two years to 120 MW in 2016, 160 MW in 2018 and 210 MW in 2020.

For San Diego Gas & Electric the proposed 2020 target is 165 MW, starting with 20 MW in 2014, and ramping up to 30 MW in 2016, 45 MW in 2018 and 70 MW in 2020.

According to the proposed ruling by the assigned Commissioner Carla Peterman, the main principles for the introduction of storage are the optimization of the grid, including peak reduction and contribution to reliability needs, integration of renewable energy, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

The proposals are aimed to the procurement of viable and cost effective energy storage systems from among emerging storage technologies. The primary mechanisms proposed are a reverse auction mechanism and a requirement to include energy storage alternatives in distribution system planning.

The hoped-for result is that when the energy storage market becomes sustainable, procurement targets for storage will no longer be needed and it will compete to provide services alongside other types of resources.

The targets, which cover the three use cases of transmission connected, distribution connected and customer side applications, are stated to be “aggressive but realistic, with opportunities for amendment and cost containment.”

Further, the targets for the first (2014) auction reflect a modest to moderate reach above the storage projects that are currently planned, authorized for procurement, or in development by the three utilities. These include:

  • SCE – at least 50 MW of energy storage and the energy storage portion of any other generation resources that are procured to meet local reliability needs in the Western Los Angeles basin, the 8 MW Tehachapi wind energy storage project, and the Department of Defense vehicle-to-grid electric fleet project at the Los Angeles Air Force Base
  • PG&E – the power purchase agreement with Rice Solar for a solar thermal generation project paired with molten salt storage
  • SDG&E – the Borrego Springs microgrid project, and up to 44.6 MW of distribution system storage approved as part of Sempra’s general rate case application.

The proposals, which also cover energy storage procurement design, the reverse auction procedure, and project evaluation, are now open to comment, up to July 3.