We support SB 1414 and expanding demand response

Download the support letter (PDF)

The Clean Coalition supports SB 1414 (Wolk), which will ensure that regulators and utilities use Demand Response (DR) to meet system needs, and affirm the state’s existing Loading Order mandate to use cost-effective DR before fossil resources. 

DR programs rely on voluntary changes to the usage patterns of customers. These programs directly save consumers money through lower energy bills, and indirectly save consumers money by reducing the need for investment in costly and polluting “peaker” power plants. Although demand response can be one of the most cost-effective ways for California to meet its greenhouse gas emissions goals, the State lags behind much of the nation in implementing DR programs that capture the full range of benefits of DR. 

The Clean Coalition is a California-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and a modern grid through technical, policy, and project development expertise. The Clean Coalition drives policy innovation to remove barriers to procurement, interconnection, and realizing the full potential of integrated distributed energy resources, such as distributed generation, advanced inverters, DR, and energy storage. The Clean Coalition also works with utilities to develop community microgrid projects, that demonstrate how optimized portfolios – with high levels of local renewable energy balanced by intelligent grid solutions like demand response and storage – can maintain or improve grid reliability. 

Demand Response programs and energy efficiency are at the top of California’s loading order, which requires utilities to plan to procure all available cost-effective, reliable, and available energy efficiency, DR, and renewables before conventional power plants. However, when planning to make investments to meet electrical demand requirements in their Resource Adequacy studies, utilities are only required to plan out investments in generation. SB 1414 corrects this oversight and requires the utilities to also plan for meeting system needs with DR. 

DR can play a vital role in reliably meeting system needs at a reasonable cost while meeting California’s climate change and renewable energy goals. We are pleased to support SB 1414 and appreciate your attention to enabling California’s clean and secure energy future.

A note from the founder

Dear Friends,

Distributed energy resources are transforming the power system.  As utilities and policymakers determine how to best integrate these technologies, the Clean Coalition’s technical, policy, and project development expertise is more important than ever.

Details matter, and we are working to develop comprehensive, functional policies that successfully drive the deployment of distributed energy resources.  In Los Angeles, for example, the Clean Coalition leveraged its unique knowledge to help identify and remove a critical barrier in the CLEAN L.A. Solar Program.  Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) had been requiring developers to install expensive “Vista Switches” – devices that enable telemetry and remote shutoff capability – for all projects over 1 megawatt.  LADWP, however, was using an incorrect method to calculate the one MW capacity that triggers the Vista Switch requirement, which unnecessarily increased the cost of solar projects. With this barrier removed, greater amounts of cost-effective, local solar can now come online in Los Angeles.

Similarly, the Clean Coalition used its expertise to design an innovative request for proposal (RFP) to help Palo Alto bring solar projects to City-owned properties.  This RFP will provide a new model for cities and utilities around the country to deploy renewables on built-environments.

The design stage of the policymaking process is the best place to ensure successful outcomes.  The Resource Hub contains key information to effectively design energy policy, and a diverse audience of policymakers, utility staff, community advocates, and other energy industry stakeholders attended our latest webinar titled Powering Change: Tools to Draft and Track Advanced Energy Legislation.  In the coming months, the Clean Coalition will continue to conduct informative webinars about effective policy design.

This quarterly newsletter is full of additional details on the following highlights:

As always, thank you for supporting the Clean Coalition and its pursuit of making clean local energy accessible now.

Sincerely,
Craig Lewis

Clean Coalition sees interconnection wins in Rule 21 Proposed Decision

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently issued a Proposed Decision (PD) on Rule 21, which regulates interconnection, operation and metering requirements for distributed generators.

solar jobsThe PD includes a number of Clean Coalition recommendations that will streamline the deployment of large quantities of local renewables.  Importantly, California’s Rule 21 is widely used by other states as a foundation for their interconnection rules, so our precedent-setting work will accelerate the transition to clean local energy nationwide.

The CPUC’s PD calls for a Distribution Group Study Procedure (DGSP) – closely following Clean Coalition recommendations – to establish group interconnection studies for related distributed generation projects in the same area every six months.  Previously, related interconnection studies were performed sequentially, which frequently resulted in long and unpredictable delays.

Importantly, the DGSP ensures that related projects proportionally share upgrade costs.  This will avoid project cancelations from large – and potentially inequitable – individual cost assignment as existing equipment thresholds are reached.

The Clean Coalition also successfully petitioned the CPUC to require new quarterly reports from investor owned utilities.  These reports will allow the CPUC to track the utilities compliance with interconnection timelines and give regulators and developers a better sense of how all projects are progressing.  In order to maximize transparency about cost predictability and the potential to standardize costs, the PD empowers the CPUC Energy Division to ask utilities for additional information beyond what was specified in the ruling.

Lastly, the PD formally adopts the Clean Coalition’s Rule 21 initiative for pre-application reports, which gives applicants an opportunity to better evaluate the suitability of a site, identify known interconnection issues, and optimize their facility size to minimize grid upgrade costs.  Pre-application reports are available for a flat fee of $300 per report.

The Clean Coalition successfully motioned the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission to also require the pre-application option in the national Small Generator Interconnection Procedures.