State regulator issues report on California’s smart grid activities


According to the CPUC, the whitepaper provides an overview of the energy regulator’s recommendations for a smart grid and plans and deployment of smart grid technologies by the state’s three largest investor-owned utility companies PG&E, SDG&E and SCE.

The report provides an analysis of the costs and benefits of smart grid projects to ratepayers.

Highlights of the 2016 CPUC Smart Grid-related activities include the energy regulator’s adoption of its Distributed Energy Resources Action plan. The plan aims to develop policies to improve the development and integration of distributed energy resources with grid network to help utility firms improve the stability of their grid networks.

The CPUC also developed the Distribution Resources Plan (DRP) responsible for the establishment of collaborative working groups to help investor-owned utility firms to develop methodologies for two analytic tools which will calculate available hosting capacity and identify optimal locations for DER deployment.

In regard to demand response, the CPUC started registering third-party demand response providers.

In the energy storage sector, the commission approved expediting 64.5 MW of storage to address reliability concerns posed by the shutdown of Aliso Canyon, and SCE procured an additional 20 MW of utility-owned storage for similar purposes. Out of the 84.5 MW procured, 79.5 MW were brought online by January 2017.

Some of the smart grid activities highlighted in the whitepaper include:

  • Integrated Distributed Energy Resources (IDER) – The Commission approved a competitive solicitation framework and a utility regulatory incentive mechanism pilot which will facilitate the deployment of DERs to displace or defer the need for capital expenditures on traditional distribution infrastructure.
  • Interconnection – The Commission issued a decision that directed significant improvements to Electric Tariff Rule 215 by streamlining and increasing the cost certainty of the interconnection process.
  • Electrification of Transportation – The Commission issued three separate decisions authorising the IOUs to deploy charging infrastructure to support plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). [California utility partners to increase EV charging infrastructure].
  • Enhanced Reliability Reporting – The Commission ordered the IOUs to increase reliability reporting, improving transparency as well as grid reliability and security assessment

Image credit: 123rf