The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously approved a proposal to bring 1.3 GW of energy storage online in California by 2020 in what the California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA) called “the biggest regulatory decision of its kind in the world.”
The move sets targets for California’s investor-owned utilities and direct access providers to acquire given amounts of storage every two years. Some of the energy storage facilities are expected to come online as early as 2015, according to CESA. These facilities would help phase out dirtier power plants, defer expensive transmission and transmission upgrades, and help integrate renewable energy into the grid, CESA said.
“This is the market signal we have been waiting for,” said Janice Lin, co-founder and executive director of CESA. “With procurement targets now in place, utilities and all other stakeholders have the guidance they need to develop procurement mechanisms to realize new energy storage capacity on the grid.”
Storage is finally getting added to the electric power system, and will result in a more efficiently run, affordable, reliable and cleaner electric power system for all ratepayers, she said.
Earlier, Vincent DeVito, who served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Energy for Policy and International Affairs and is a partner at Bowditch & Dewey in Boston, told Energy Efficiency Markets the mandate could become “vaporous” because it’s so difficult to achieve: