Pacific Gas & Electric required to procure more renewables after the Clean Coalition’s intervention

The Clean Coalition has played a major role in holding California’s investor-owned utilities accountable for the significant amounts of clean energy they were required to procure and connect to the grid under the California Public Utility Commission’s (CPUC) Renewable Auction Mechanism (RAM). The RAM program was designed to streamline and hasten the advancement of sub-20 megawatt (MW) distributed renewable energy projects in the state.

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has made various attempts to delay or cancel their clean energy procurements required under RAM. In response to these attempts, the Clean Coalition has intervened to ensure that this crucial market segment is supported in California. Continue reading

The North Bay Community Resilience Initiative gains traction

On the heels of a highly attended webinar early this month, the Clean Coalition’s North Bay Community Resilience Initiative, formerly known as the Sonoma County Community Microgrid Initiative, is gaining traction. In the face of natural disasters such as last year’s devastating North Bay fires in California, this initiative represents a real and vital solution for providing resilient power to Sonoma and Napa Counties.

The North Bay Community Resilience Initiative is a collaboration among the Clean Coalition, Pacific Gas & Electric, and North Bay leaders including Sonoma Clean Power, the Rebuild Northbay Foundation, the Center for Climate Protection, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Sonoma County’s Energy & Sustainability Division, Design AVEnues, and the Stone Edge Farm Microgrid, among others. The project seeks to make the best of an otherwise devastating situation. It presents a unique opportunity to rebuild a community from the ground up, while lowering the community’s environmental impacts, creating regional economic benefits, and helping to protect residents during future disasters. Continue reading

Advancing Distribution Resources Planning in Colorado and beyond

Since first guiding the introduction of legislation in 2011, the Clean Coalition has been a leading voice for Distribution Resources Planning. This foundational policy, known as DRP, has become essential in the 21st century due to the changing nature of how we generate, manage, and deliver electricity.

Distributed energy resources (DER) — including local renewables, energy storage, and demand response — offer a suite of valuable services to the grid, such as flexible loads, dispatchable storage and generation, and local voltage support. Coupled with growing deployment of DER by customers and utilities, distribution grids have emerged as centers of innovation and investment on both sides of the customer meter. Yet, traditional utility planning processes were not designed to account for the increasingly dynamic nature of distribution grids, two-way power flows, and utilization of DER. Therefore, new planning processes are necessary. Continue reading

Keeping the lights on after natural disasters

Solar energy is no longer just a nice-to-have amenity that only the wealthy can afford. Now that the price of solar has fallen 70% since 2010, solar is available to more people for more applications. The next growth area for solar should be Solar Emergency Microgrids.

A Solar Emergency Microgrid is a microgrid with four basic components: solar, energy storage, demand response, and monitoring, communications, and control to optimize operation of all the components. A Solar Emergency Microgrid is linked to the main electric grid, but during a power outage it can isolate and keep running, providing indefinite backup power for critical loads at priority facilities, such as police and fire stations, emergency operations centers and shelters, hospitals, and critical communications and water infrastructure.

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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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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