ORIGINAL REPORTING: Managing A Smart System Booming With Solar, Batteries, and EVs
Rethinking California Utilities’ Distribution Systems
Herman K. Trabish, May 31, 2022 (California Current)
Editor’s note: The proceeding is ongoing but its outcome is years away. Unfortunately, the climate crisis is not.
As California moves to accommodate high flows of bi-directional distributed energy resources (DER), distribution system reform is needed, according to a white paper introducing a new series of regulatory workshops on the distribution system.
Identifying reform is essential to meeting the commission’s 2021 High DER Future Proceeding order, California Public Utility Commission Energy Division Staff Rob Peterson said during the first in a series of stakeholder engagement workshops on May 3. The objective of the order (R.21-06-017) and workshops is to “guide public and private sector investment for a high DER future” while “integrating equity and access to DER considerations,” Peterson added.
DER are renewable generation resources that connect to lower voltage power lines, and include electric vehicles, energy storage, energy efficiency, and demand response technologies, according to the California Public Utilities Code.
Though currently threatened by reconsideration of rooftop solar supports, California DER growth will accelerate, workshop participants agreed. Customer demand, the 2045 zero-emissions goal, technology evolution, and falling prices will be drivers, the white paper added.
California’s 2021 Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR) forecasts statewide installed distributed solar capacity to increase from 2022’s 14,048 MW to 24,721 megawatts in 2030, according to California Energy Commission spokesperson Michael Ward. Distributed energy storage capacity is projected to increase from 2022’s 740 MW to 2,587 MW in 2030, he added.
CEC data forecasts the state’s estimated 839,000 zero-emission vehicles in 2021 will reach 5.7 million light-duty passenger and medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by 2030, Ward said. And an estimated 1.5 million households had smart thermostats, according to the commission’s 2019 Residential Appliance Saturation Study. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order, which requires new car and passenger truck sales be 100% zero emissions by 2035, is expected to drive exponential transportation electrification growth. Assembly Bill 327, programs supporting battery storage and heat pumps, other policy initiatives, and utility and private sector DER incentive programs will also accelerate growth, the white paper added… click here for more