Last week the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously approved a long-term procurement decision that orders Southern California Edison (SCE) — the primary supplier of electricity for much of Southern California — to procure between 1,400 and 1,800 megawatts of energy resource capacity in the Los Angeles basin to meet long-term requirements by 2021.
The good news is that, of those numbers, the CPUC instructed that at least 50 MW be procured from energy storage resources, as well as up to an additional total of 600MW of capacity required be procured from preferred resources — which now include energy storage resources.
In his introduction before the dais, Commissioner Michel Peter Florio, the Assigned Commissioner responsible for the CPUCs long-term procurement planning rulemaking, expressed the rationale for the “monumental” decision during the CPUC’s discussion, stating “we need to move beyond paralysis by analysis with respect to energy storage.”
The CPUC’s final decision included a need for energy storage resources to be considered “along with preferred resources” including energy efficiency, demand response, and distributed generation.
Janice Lin, Executive Director of the California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA) and Managing Partner of Strategen Consulting, LLC, said that “this landmark decision represents a major breakthrough for energy storage market development in California and nationwide.” According to Lin, “required energy storage procurement under this decision provides a much needed market signal that energy storage will be considered as a key asset class to help California address its long term local reliability needs.”
Energy storage will become a critical component of many renewable energy solutions as the industries develop, especially for intermittent generation methods — like wind and solar — so as to keep supply regular. For the moment, however, investments by government bodies in energy storage as a viable alternative is vital to the growth of the technology.
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