Storage gets boost as 100% renewables, grid expansion fail in California

Source: By Peter Maloney, Utility Dive • Posted: Thursday, September 21, 2017

One of Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) key agenda items is expanding the California Independent System Operator’s electricity market to include neighboring states.

A full western ISO would provide a ready market for the state’s production of solar power, which can push power prices into negative territory during peak generation.

Being able to export solar power when production is high, or import renewable resources from surrounding states when in-state renewable production is low, would help the state better manage its grid and incorporate more renewable resources.

Amendments that would have restarted the process of market regionalization at the California ISO were inserted at the last minute, but in the end failed to pass and the effort is now delayed until the 2018 session.

The measure would have made it easier or at least more feasible for the state to meet an enhanced RPS of 100%, which also would have made California the second state, following Hawaii, to head toward an all renewable electric sector.

But the state will have the opportunity to take up the issue next year and “seize the opportunity to create more jobs, boost the economy, and cut harmful pollution,” Laureen Navarro, senior manager, California clean energy at the Environmental Defense Fund, said in a statement.

On the storage front, SB 801 directs LADWP to work with the city council of Los Angeles regarding potential deployment of 100 MW of energy storage solutions. If it determines such a deployment is cost effective and feasible, the bill directs LADWP “to consider deploying those cost-effective energy storage solutions after June 1, 2018.”

The bill also directs the California Public Utilities Commission to require an electrical corporation serving Los Angeles to deploy at least 20 MW of energy storage “to the extent that doing so is cost effective and feasible and necessary to meet the reliability requirements” of the Los Angeles area.

These storage provisions are designed “to help address the Los Angeles Basin’s electrical system operational limitations resulting from reduced gas deliverability from the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility,” the bill states.