Creating a sustainable and robust distributed solar market in Alameda

color-seal-bluerim2-96dpi-02The Clean Coalition is working with Alameda Municipal Power (AMP) to evaluate options that support continued deployment of customer-sited solar in the City of Alameda, California.

The municipal utility, which provides electric service to approximately 75,000 customers east of San Francisco and south of Oakland, is nearing its 5% aggregate peak customer demand cap for net energy metering (NEM). On June 24, AMP is hosting a town hall meeting on customer-sited solar, and its issues and opportunities, including how to appropriately and equitably integrate solar into the electric grid.

Craig Lewis, Executive Director of the Clean Coalition, will serve as the lead facilitator at this meeting – presenting information on AMP’s current portfolio and NEM successor program options, as well as gathering community feedback. This will be the first of three town hall style meetings regarding Alameda’s energy future.

The Clean Coalition continues to be heavily involved in the California Public Utilities Commission’s proceeding on the development of a NEM successor and has provided consultation to multiple utilities across the country on innovative programs to support the deployment of distributed renewable generation.

FERC adopts our recommendations for improved interconnection transparency

In late 2014, the Clean Coalition filed a response to a California Independent System Operator (CAISO) motion with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which requested relief from a FERC requirement to file interconnection queue quarterly progress reports.

Our filing recommended that FERC modify its reporting requirements to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden on CAISO, while also improving and accelerating public access to important interconnection data.

FERC agreed with the Clean Coalition’s recommendation to eliminate the quarterly report requirement and instead allow all of the information required in the report to be uploaded to the Generator Interconnection Queue Spreadsheet (GIQ Spreadsheet) on CAISO’s website. According to FERC’s ruling, “Eliminating the report to the Commission but requiring that CAISO integrate the data into a well-known source allows CAISO to use its resources more efficiently and may increase stakeholder review and analysis of the data.”

CAISO’s GIQ Spreadsheet is an essential tool for keeping users updated on interconnection activity, including data on the amount of filed and accepted interconnection requests, points of interconnection, the status of all required interconnection studies, and the outcomes of independent study projects.

The Clean Coalition was the only organization to intervene, and as a result of our effort, CAISO’s new reporting practices will establish an improved standard for clear, public access to data that is important to interconnection applicants, as well as other parties working to further improve grid access in California. The GIQ Spreadsheet will now contain additional data, including: the number of requests for the fast track process that did not pass the required screens, and which screens the generators failed; and the reason for any rejections of projects requesting independent study treatment.

The improved reporting method sets a FERC jurisdictional standard for publishing interconnection data, whereby regulators and applicants will have more information at their disposal. The ruling builds upon California Public Utilities Commission interconnection data reporting requirements that the Clean Coalition successfully advocated for in the Rule 21 proceeding. All of these developments, in turn, will accelerate the deployment of renewable energy by providing data on current procedures in order to understand why costly delays are occurring and how they can be avoided.

Long Island Community Microgrid Project kicks off, receives NY Prize funding

The Clean Coalition’s Long Island Community Microgrid Project launches in New York, serving as a model for the state and country.

Earlier this month, Greg Thomson and Bob O’Hagan of the Clean Coalition led initial meetings in New York with project partners, which include PSEG Long Island, Long Island Power Authority, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Suffolk County Water Authority, the Town of East Hampton, and the Springs Fire District.

Planned for the East Hampton area, the Long Island Community Microgrid Project aims to achieve nearly 50% of its grid-area electric power requirements from local solar and sets the stage to avoid hundreds of millions of dollars in transmission investments that otherwise would be required to deliver power to the region.

The result will be an optimized local energy system combining up to 15 megawatts of solar power with a 25-megawatt-hour energy storage system. The renewables-based solution will also provide backup power to critical loads, including two Suffolk County Water Authority water pumping and filtration plants and the Springs Fire District facility, during outages.

The Long Island Community Microgrid Project delivers many benefits to the community such as: reducing the dependence on both the transmission grid and local, oil-based generators; significantly increasing the penetration of local renewable energy; maintaining electric services for critical loads during grid outages; and, demonstrating the feasibility of using energy storage in utility grid operations to increase local renewable energy while decreasing fossil-fuel consumption and transmission costs. In addition, it will serve as a model for New York and beyond proving that Community Microgrids provide cleaner, more affordable, and more reliable power.

The Long Island Community Microgrid Project was one of the first projects awarded funding by New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo through the NY Prize Community Microgrid Competition. Currently, the Clean Coalition and its partners are on track to complete several project milestones by the end of the year.