Energy storage is about to take off

Energy storage currently walks like an unsteady toddler. Right now, the toddler needs help to balance — whether from government financial subsidies or support from municipal permitting offices — before it can stand firmly on its own feet. But at a certain point in its market development, the toddler’s improving balance and growing strength will allow it to break into a run.

Government subsidies have helped storage get on its feet. Subsidies like the federal Investment Tax Credit, when coupled with solar photovoltaics (PV), and California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) have helped increase demand for energy storage. This increased demand has resulted in increased production and has driven economies of scale that allow companies to drop their price per unit.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, between 2014 and 2016, the cost per kilowatt-hour of energy storage fell 50%. Automotive batteries drove this trend. In 2017 alone, Tesla sold 8,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of automotive batteries. Compare this with 500 MWh of stationary storage sold the same year.

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Model ordinances: Showing the way to a clean energy future

The Peninsula Advanced Energy Community (PAEC) just took a giant step forward in creating Advanced Energy Communities (AECs): developing model clean energy ordinances for municipalities in California.

Model ordinances may sound a bit dry. But they’re one of several crucial policy approaches that will accelerate the transition to a clean energy future driven by AECs — communities that meet zero net energy standards for new buildings, include on-site renewables, and incorporate Solar Emergency Microgrids and electric vehicle (EV) charging capacity.

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Clean local energy is winning in 2017: A year-end review from the Executive Director

As we come to the end of a tumultuous political year with a climate-denying federal administration, it would be easy to feel discouraged. But worldwide interest in renewables remains strong, and the Clean Coalition is accelerating successes at the local level.

With the world moving in the direction that the Clean Coalition has been pushing over its 9-year existence, and several passionate and talented additions to the Clean Coalition team, our achievements are on the rise.

We kicked off 2017 by partnering with East Bay Community Energy (EBCE), part of California’s rapidly expanding Community Choice Energy market, to develop a program for deploying more clean local energy in Alameda County. Our Solar Siting Survey shows enormous opportunity for solar deployment in the region, and the innovative feed-in tariff (FIT) with Market Responsive Pricing we designed for EBCE includes a Dispatchability Adder to incentivize energy storage.

The Solar Siting Survey for EBCE

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Clean Coalition policy wins in 2017 set the stage for a bright 2018

In 2017, the Clean Coalition continued our active leadership and intervention on renewable energy issues, with over 50 public filings in regulatory proceedings nationwide. Our credibility on policy issues has allowed us to play a critical role in the regulatory working groups that advise decisionmakers about stakeholder concerns early in the rulemaking process. Our work on changing and developing policies in California and beyond to accelerate the transition to clean energy has gained wider recognition, and is providing expert solutions more than ever before.

The Clean Coalition policy team continued its work this year on California’s Distribution Resources Plans (DRP), through which California’s largest utilities have begun proactively planning for distributed energy resources (DER). The DRP process is an essential step in creating more grid transparency and helping developers get their clean energy projects off the ground more efficiently and effectively. Our foundational work on introducing and developing the DRP process is crucial for preparing the grid to leverage DER, including locational differences in siting and value. This work in pre-studying the grid is also instrumental in streamlining the interconnection process.

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Building owners may be losing money by not investing in energy efficiency

If you were the Chief Financial Officer of a business with $120,000 in profits to invest, where would you park this cash? In a money market fund yielding 0.39% annually — or in deep energy efficiency retrofits for your building that provide an 18% annual return?

When building owners consider upgrades for their commercial properties, energy efficiency may seem like a bottom-line expense that could be postponed. But when you take a deeper look at the costs and benefits, it becomes clear that energy efficiency yields a better return than most alternatives. Continue reading