ORIGINAL REPORTING: California’s Bold Plan For A Western, New Energy Grid
The head of California's ISO is on a mission to regionalize and decarbonize; Steve Berberich wants utilities' help in bridging California’s borders and moving beyond 50% renewables
Herman K. Trabish, June 1, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: California’s farsighted plan for a grid-of-the-future to grow New Energy across the West has encountered resistance but is gathering momentum.
California’s system operator is moving ahead with its plans to organize 38 independent power providing systems into a western region grid and market, according to California Independent System Operator (the CA ISO) President and CEO Steve Berberich. Assessments of the regionalization plan show it could generate $1 billion to $1.5 billion in annual benefits to California ratepayers and provide between 9,900 jobs and 19,400 jobs throughout the West by 2030. It could also cut California emissions 8% to 10% and Western region emissions 3% to 4% in 2030. The $1 billion to $1.5 billion in savings to California electricity users from a fully integrated Western utilities market would boost household incomes by $300/year to $550/year, according to the analysis.
California is ahead of its schedule to achieve the capacity to meet its 33% renewables by 2020 mandate and Berberich is confident the state will meet its new 50% by 2030 mandate and manage over 50% renewables. On May 15 at 1:50 p.m., California served 56.2% of its load with 12,473 MW of electricity generated by a mix of California and out-of-state renewables, he said. Historically, resource portfolios were composed of coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy. State mandates across the West now require renewables, so their portfolios must have more wind, solar, and geothermal. The Warren Buffett-owned PacifiCorp and NV Energy utilities, serving eight states in the West, are partners in the proposal of a tariff-free Western transmission system that would extend from the Canadian to the Mexican border, and from the Great Plains to the Pacific…” click here for more