A big step forward for clean local energy in California: ICA 2.0

UPDATED 10/9/18

California is poised to take a major step forward in bringing clean local energy online. The Clean Coalition has played a significant role in this progress as a leading advocate for streamlining the interconnection of wholesale distributed generation (WDG) projects to the electric grid.

WDG refers to distributed generation systems, often commercial-scale solar projects, that connect to the distribution grid and sell the electricity they produce to the local utility to serve local energy demand. The WDG market is severely underserved in the U.S., but California will soon be one step closer to unleashing this crucial market.

That step takes the form of a promising upgrade to the Interconnection Capacity Analysis (ICA) maps provided by California’s major utilities — or ICA 2.0. Continue reading

Bridging the gap: PAEC Master Case Study reveals ways to accelerate advanced energy solutions

The gap between the clean local energy future we need and where we are today is still wide. For the past 21 months, the Peninsula Advanced Energy Community (PAEC) Initiative, with grant support from the California Energy Commission, has been studying what we can do to bridge this gap and accelerate the deployment of Advanced Energy Communities (AECs). A new Master Case Study report from the PAEC Initiative details measures that government agencies and utilities can take to help build this future as soon as possible.

AECs are communities that strive to meet zero net energy (ZNE) standards for the built environment, and that take full advantage of local renewable energy, demand response, Solar Emergency Microgrids, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure (EVCI). More than the sum of their components, AECs provide numerous benefits, including:

  • Minimizing the need for new energy infrastructure
  • Providing energy savings through ZNE
  • Improving grid reliability and resilience
  • Offering easier grid integration
  • Modeling replicable and scalable solutions
  • Providing affordable access to distributed energy resources and energy efficiency for all electricity ratepayers

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Transmission Access Charges distortion in California: There is a solution

Now several years into our Transmission Access Charges (TAC) Campaign, the Clean Coalition continues leading the effort to ensure that California’s ratepayers aren’t stuck with billions of dollars in unnecessary electric transmission spending. We have worked with California Senator Ben Allen to draft new bill language for Senate Bill (SB) 692, to create a certain path to the most viable solution for implementing our widely supported reform strategies.

Today, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) charges exactly the same amount for “using” the transmission grid whether the energy comes from a source thousands of miles away or a source next door. That means that the real costs of building long transmission lines are hidden. So if a load-serving entity (LSE) such as a utility or community choice aggregator uses local energy to meet its customers’ needs, the LSE is penalized for the very actions that reduce the need for an ever-expanding transmission grid. And the LSE’s customers pay the price.

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Partnering with NREL and the City of San Diego to drive local solar development efforts

This spring, the Clean Coalition partnered with the City of San Diego to participate in the Solar Energy Innovation Network (SEIN). The partnership got the attention of Solar Power World and other publications, who recognized it as a significant step in helping San Diego meet its ambitious clean energy goals.

SEIN will explore new ways solar energy can improve the affordability, reliability, and resilience of the nation’s electric grid. The City of San Diego is one of nine teams selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for this collaborative effort.

Participation in SEIN will include financial, analytical, and facilitation support as the City develops programs to address the challenges and opportunities related to local solar and other distributed energy resources in San Diego. The solutions developed by the San Diego team will serve as a blueprint for other communities nationwide facing similar challenges and opportunities.

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Supercharging the expansion of electric vehicle charging infrastructure

California Governor Jerry Brown set a goal of five million electric vehicles (EV) on the roads by 2030. To achieve this, California is planning for 250,000 EV chargers, including 10,000 fast chargers, by 2025. Having an extensive network of charging stations will reassure people considering EVs that charging will be available where and when they need it.

While California has made great strides toward the goal of 5 million EVs by 2030, the figure below shows how far the state still needs to go. A key to making progress is knowing where to focus efforts to expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure (EVCI).

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