Energy Solicitations in California & Connecticut for Innovative & Resilient Energy

Sept. 4, 2015
California and Connecticut are in various stages of issuing energy solicitations for a range of programs to bring innovation and more reliability and resiliency to power supply.

California and Connecticut are in various stages of issuing energy solicitations for a range of programs to bring innovation and more reliability and resiliency to power supply.

Three energy solicitations emerged this week out of the California Energy Commission: one offering grants for innovation clusters for energy entrepreneurs, another for market intelligence on emerging technology, and a third seeking help with a program to encourage promising new energy concepts. (See details below.)

Meanwhile, Connecticut regulators are considering solicitations for alternatives to new natural gas pipeline, including distributed generation and energy storage projects. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is focusing in particular on technology that can help avert blackouts in severe weather.

“Studies show that infrastructure to deliver natural gas to the region’s power plants could be a cost effective solution – but it is not necessarily the only solution,” said Rob Klee, state commissioner. “Clean energy resources and energy efficiency projects could also help meet our winter reliability challenges, while also cutting carbon pollution, growing jobs, and lowering energy bills for families and businesses right here in our state.”

State law (Public Act 15-107) allows the state to procure a range of resources to avert blackouts, including natural gas, energy efficiency, renewable energy, large-scale hydropower, and energy storage.  The act authorizes selection of the most cost-effective energy resources through an open and competitive process.

Connecticut is particularly concerned about problems New England has faced during extreme cold in recent winters when natural gas supplies became tight and as a result electricity prices skyrocketed. Natural gas fuels half of New England’s electricity.

“What we are doing here is undertaking a bold and innovative effort to build a more prosperous and sustainable future for our state by addressing market shortcomings and procuring the energy resources we need,” said Klee. “We are looking for the best deals for Connecticut ratepayers by letting all resources compete to provide a solution – renewables, hydropower, efficiency, natural gas, LNG and even the cutting edge technology of energy storage.”

Connecticut will seek resources that not only improve electric reliability during winter peak demand, but also:

  • Offer benefits that outweigh costs to electric ratepayers
  • Enhance fuel diversity
  • Help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality
  • Appears in the best interest of ratepayers
  • Aligns with state resource planning goals

DEEP is seeking comment from stakeholders on plans for the upcoming requests for proposals. Of particular note for distributed energy developers are the RFPS for 2-20 MW of renewable energy, demand response and energy storage. Comments are due to DEEP on September 30. The full notice is here.

Connecticut also was an early leader in microgrid development, allotting over $23 million for pilot projects in 2013 and 2014; a third microgrid RFP is in planning.

While the Connecticut RFPs are still under consideration, the California energy solicitations are already in circulation. Proposals are due Dec. 15, 2015 for three RFPs released this week by the California Energy Commission, which include:

  • $20 million for Regional Energy Innovation Clusters that support the development and commercialization of promising new energy innovations.  GFO-15-306. The RFP is here.
  • $7 million for market intelligence, analysis, and expertise to support the commercial success of emerging energy technologies and strategies. Funds must contribute to market facilitation and help with breakthroughs that overcome the barriers to the state’s energy goals. The RFP is here.
  • $33 million for the Sustainable Energy Entrepreneur Development (SEED) Initiative. The SEED Initiative will support the early development of promising early stage energy technology. The RFP is here.

The programs must benefits to electric ratepayers in Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric service territories.

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About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is the editor and founder of She is co-founder and former editor of Microgrid Knowledge.

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