Why Did L.A. County Create Another Utility?

As Los Angeles County moves to set up its own utility, customers will have a chance to break with longtime power provider Southern California Edison beginning in mid-2018.

The Board of Supervisors’ unanimous vote Tuesday to create the public energy program requires customers to decide whether to stay with Edison or sign up with the government operation. Los Angeles County is joining a broad shift in how electricity is produced and delivered to homes and businesses.

Here are some key questions about the effort:

What is the purpose of the new public utility?

L.A. County supervisors began investigating the creation of a public energy program two years ago and determined that offering residents the choice could save an average of 5% on customers’ electric bills.

In addition, the county said the public program would allow customers to determine the source of their energy. The aim is to focus more on clean energy, including the development of new community solar projects such as solar canopies in urban parking lots.

Eight such community choice aggregations programs are operating in California, with seven more set to launch this year.

L.A. County creates a lower-cost alternative for Southern California Edison customers »

Who is eligible for the new public energy program?

The new government-run utility will compete directly with Southern California Edison. All L.A. County residents in unincorporated areas will automatically become eligible to join the government-run program.

Utility customers in incorporated cities must wait for approval by their local government before joining the county program.

It will allow us to buy and create new sources of green energy while leaving more money in ratepayers wallets.

— Mark Ridley-Thomas, L.A. County supervisor

Who will oversee the new government-run program?

The public energy program will be governed by the Los Angeles Community Choice Energy Authority, which include representatives of the cities that are apart of the agency.

If I want the public energy program to provide my electricity, what do I need to do?

Call or email your local elected officials and tell them you want your city to join the county’s new LACCE Authority. Once your city joins, residents and businesses will receive access to government-run utility power, rates and programs when the rollout begins in mid-2018.

If your city already operates its own municipal electrical utility, such as the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, then your city is not eligible to join.

When will I know if my city will be part of the public energy program?

Cities have 180 days to join the government-run program, which will give them a seat on the governing board and provide their residents and businesses with access to the utility’s programs and power. Cities can continue to join after the open enrollment period but may be subject to additional requirements as determined by the governing board.

What if I want to stay with Southern California Edison?

You will receive four notices alerting you that your city has joined the program, and you will be able to opt out with each notice, which allows you to stay with Southern California Edison. Notices will be sent 60 days before the start of the program and will include directions for how to opt out.

Will it cost me anything to choose?

Initially, the decision to switch or to stay with Edison will be free for consumers. But if consumers choose to stay with Edison and then change their minds — or vice versa — they may be charged a small administrative fee to cover the cost of the change.

Who handles consumer billing questions and power outages under the government-run program?

Account, billing and outage concerns will continue to be handled by Southern California Edison, but questions related specifically to the government-run program will be directed to the public utility’s call center.

Why Did L.A. County Create Another Utility?, by Ivan Penn, Los Angeles Times, April 19, 2017.

Redondo Beach Moves Forward on Energy Program Study

The City of Redondo Beach is cautiously continuing its look toward providing renewable energy for itself and its residents, directing staff to analyze the effects of participating in a joint agreement with other cities throughout the South Bay or L.A. County.

The action is essentially a do-over of direction made on March 21, when a split vote among four present council members, including one abstention, caused confusion among the Council and the community.

The South Bay Clean Power Working Group has been developing a Community Choice Aggregation business plan over the past two years. Their goal is two-fold, according to staff. First, a CCA program would strive to provide secure energy supplies to customers at competitive prices; second, it would strive to sustain the development of clean, renewable energy. This would happen, proponents say, through negotiating and securing utility rates from renewable energy providers at low-rates.

According to SBCP acting chair Joe Galliani, 14 South Bay and Westside cities, including the Beach Cities as well as Torrance, West Hollywood, Santa Monica and Culver City, are targeted to join the program.

“We believe that ‘local’ is the name of the game in CCAs,” Galliani said. “Community is the key.”

The meeting also loomed in the shadow of a decision made by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, who unanimously approved a similar public energy program earlier in the day.

The SBCP and County programs are separate, but similar entities. In both programs, electricity is still to be delivered by Southern California Edison over its existing power lines. However, purchasing power and rates will be set by the controlling Joint Powers Agreement.

Should Redondo opt into either the County or the SBCP program, residents would be automatically enrolled into the program, but may opt-out at no charge and continue purchasing power from Edison. Participating residents would be able to decide whether they wanted their rates to support varying levels of renewable energy, up to 100 percent of their electricity.

“I think it’s important to focus on goals and beneifts,” said Gary Gero, the county’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “With competition comes better rates.”

However, a coalition of opponents, led by conservative activist Arthur Schaper, vehemently opposed the plans espoused by Galliani and Gero, describing them as “expansion of government” and an uncertain proposition. Sitting directly behind the podium, the opponents waved signs, heckled, and scoffed during the presentations.

“This is definitely a scam,” said one resident. “The people behind me realize that this is an expansion of government…the free market doesn’t like renewable energy.”

“This CCA thing has boondoggle written all over it,” said another, clad in a Donald Trump for President T-shirt, who identified himself as “Mike Hunt” from Orange County.

Councilman Christian Horvath, who has led community meetings introducing his constituents to the topic of CCAs, noted that he believes that the City has a fiduciary responsibility to look into joining a CCA program; L.A. County estimates that their program could lower customer rates by an average of five percent.

“I think this is a no-brainer,” Horvath said. “Edison has written a white paper saying that they’re getting out of the procurement business…[other CCA models] have been profitable within two years.”

Councilwoman Laura Emdee was skeptical.

“I don’t like that this adds more bureaucracy, and I’m concerned about financial risk,” Emdee said. “I want to see what differs from the ones who didn’t succeed, what they did and what this plan does to combat that.” Emdee also added that she’s concerned about City staff taking time away from providing its core community services.

By a 3-2 vote, with Council members Emdee and Martha Barbee against, the Council directed staff forward on study and providing a recommendation on whether to join either program.

Redondo Beach Moves Forward on Energy Program Study, by David Mendez, Easy Reader News, April 19, 2017.

L.A. County Plans a Utility to Compete with Southern California Edison

Southern California Edison customers in Los Angeles County soon will have a new way to get their electricity under a plan approved Tuesday by the County Board of Supervisors to lower bills and increase clean energy use.

The board, which voted 5-0 in favor of the public energy program, says the plan will help reduce customer power bills by as much as 5% below Edison’s costs. Residents and business operators will have the choice to stay with Edison or join the new government-run utility.

Initially, as many as 500,000 residential and 200,000 commercial utility customers in unincorporated cities throughout the county will be eligible to join the county-run operation. Incorporated cities such as Long Beach and Torrance require approval by elected officials.

The decision does not affect existing municipal utilities such as the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Pasadena Water and Power or Burbank Water and Power.

Board members began studying creation of a so-called “Community Choice Aggregation” program, or CCA, about a year ago. In addition to choosing between Edison and the public program, customers can pick who provides the electricity and the type of generation, whether solar, wind or some other clean energy source.

“It’s an alternative to Southern California Edison, which is where everybody but L.A. city and a few in the county really has no choice but to buy their electricity,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who helped lead the effort.

“The most important thing is you get green energy at a lower cost,” Kuehl said in an interview. “Individual residences, individual businesses, every single person can join.”

Southern California Edison issued a statement saying that its “position is neutral” on such power programs.

How the utility will work

Governments from Southern California to Humboldt County in the north have been adopting the public energy alternative as consumers face higher electric bills and the state pushes for clean energy over centralized, fossil fuel production sources.

Under the CCA model, cities and counties become responsible for generating and purchasing power as well as setting rates and establishing customer programs. The investor-owned utility, such as Edison, continues to maintain the electric grid’s transmission and distribution lines, as well as read customer meters and send out the bills.

The new utility, to be governed by the Los Angeles Community Choice Energy Authority, is expected to start providing electricity next year.

The supervisors approved initial funding of $10 million — $2 million of administrative costs and $8 million to buy power.

The reshaping of the electric utility industry is similar to that of the telecommunications shift from centralized, universal phone service where the utility also maintained the telephone lines. As technology redefined the role of the phone company, so it is with electric companies.

The state passed legislation in 2001 that made possible the creation of public energy programs. Few cities and counties had taken advantage until recently.

There are eight CCAs now operating in California, with seven more set to launch this year.

In Southern California, Lancaster established its program in 2015 and Apple Valley in San Bernardino County began its effort on April 1.

A driver for the renewed focus on CCAs is the falling cost of solar power. Public energy programs can take advantage of the low cost of solar by building large community solar programs that not only provide power to their customers but can also feed the electric grid.

“I think the more choices the better,” said Mark Cooper, senior research fellow at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School.

But as the public program captures customers and produces its own power, Edison and other investor-owned utilities will have to revisit the structure of their business model.

“They will have to change,” Cooper said. “The old system was in place for over 100 years.”

L.A. County Plans a Utility to Compete with Southern California Edison, by Ivan Penn and Nina Agrawal, The Los Angeles Times, April 18, 2017.

GE, SCE Debut Unique Battery-Gas Turbine Hybrid in California

GE and Southern California Edison (SCE) showed the world a new battery-gas turbine hybrid system that should help balance out renewable energy and demand fluctuations, officials with both companies said Monday.

The system, called the LM6000 Hybrid Electric Gas Turbine (Hybrid EGT), includes two units GE delivered for SCE earlier this year. The units went operational in March.

The Hybrid EGT unit which was debuted in a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday is located in Norwalk, California. SCE also deployed an LM6000 Hybrid EGT at the peaker unit in Rancho Cucamonga, California.

The units integrate a 10 MW/4.3 MWh battery energy storage system with GE’s 50-MW LM6000 aeroderivative gas turbine. Aeroderivative units are lighter than conventional gas turbines and operate using a mixture of air and fuel and operate in a way similar to aircraft engines.

“This unlocks a lot of value,” Vibhu Kaushik, SCE’s principal manager for asset management and generation strategy, said. “Peakers require about 10 minutes to start and come to full load. . . By adding the battery it changes a 10-minute delay to an immediate response.”

The GE release claimed the hybrid storage-gas turbine system to be the first of its kind globally. The potential market potential, however, could be huge, a company leader said.

There are about 400 peaker units throughout the U.S. electric power industry and 1,000 worldwide, Stephane Cai,  vice president of commercial solutions for GE Energy Connections, pointed out. The battery-turbine combinations could offer cost-competitive add-ons to existing systems or new builds in areas which are heavy in renewable generation and need flexible, resilient backups.

“We are experiencing a big industrial transformation in the utility space” such as decentralization and digitization of resources which challenge the central generation model, Cai said. “With the increasing share of renewables, the grid needs new attributes to remain responsive.”

At the heart of the Hybrid EGT is a control system which blends output between the battery and the gas turbine. The energy storage capacity is designed to provide enough time to allow the gas turbine to start and reach its designated power output, thus dispatching power immediately when required and without burning fuel at first.

The footprint for the upgrades was about 8,000 square feet per site, SCE’s Kaushik said. This includes the battery and external gear such as transformers and inverters.

GE and SCE developed this system in response to changing energy needs in California. The state has committed to derive 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

“As the electrical grid network continues to evolve, with more intermittent renewables being added every day, products like the Hybrid EGT can help smooth out the delivery of electricity,” said Reinaldo Garcia, President and CEO of Grid Solutions from GE Energy Connections. “Storage and the ability to quickly push power to the grid also play a key role in emergency situations, dispatching energy immediately to the grid ensuring that we are able help keep the lights on for everyone.”

The project was first announced in October 2016. The Hybrid EGT partners say this combined unit will help balance variable energy supply and demand, including during evening hours when the sun sets and solar power production falls while use surges as customers return home and turn on lights and appliances.

GE, SCE Debut Unique Battery-Gas Turbine Hybrid in California, by Rod Walton, Electric Light & Power, April 17, 2017.

Greener Energy and Lower Utility Bills?

If I offered to reduce your utility bill, help green the environment and even create new jobs, you might be tempted to question my sanity. Or worse. But you’d be wrong because there’s a proven and exciting new way of providing green power to Los Angeles County consumers that can reduce greenhouse gases as well as consumer bills, and help build a whole new green economy. This Earth Day, while Washington is gleefully slashing environmental protections and further jeopardizing the future of the planet, we in L.A. County are moving in a visionary new direction.

The only downside of this great new green power alternative is its wonky name: “community choice aggregation” (CCA). That could be why not very many people know about it, despite the fact that there are eight CCAs already operating in California, as well as in other forward-thinking states like Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Ohio. These established CCAs are consistently demonstrating that such aggregates help increase green power consumption, lower utility bills, and create quality jobs in local renewable power. The county’s new Chief Sustainability Officer Gary Gero calls L.A.’s future CCA “[a]n incredible new initiative from which L.A. will reap benefits for generations to come.”

Here’s how it works: Community Choice Aggregation offers electricity customers a new energy option by allowing local governments to purchase electricity in the wholesale power market and sell it to their residents and businesses as an alternative to the electricity provided by an investor-owned utility like Southern California Edison.  Electricity consumers get a choice of power provider and local governments, not utilities, get to say how rates are set and customer programs are created.

For consumers, the benefits of the CCA are a no-brainer. CCAs elsewhere have lowered utility bills for homeowners and businesses as much as 5 percent. In addition, consumers can choose to increase the amount of clean energy they use thereby helping to reduce greenhouse gases and to reach, and even exceed, state and national clean energy goals. CCA customers have also benefited from consumer programs such as rebates on energy-efficiency upgrades and free energy consumption assessments.

Over the next few months, individual cities within the county will be able to join the county’s CCA so that they can take advantage of this win-win-win program. Cities that sign up will sit on the governing body in charge of operating the CCA and help make the decisions on how much renewable energy we get, from where, and how much we reduce consumer rates. Once your city joins, residents and businesses will have access to CCA power, rates and programs. We expect the rollout to begin next year.

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that, in the past, there’s been significant political opposition to establishing CCAs within California. The state Legislature passed a bill back in 2002 allowing communities to establish them, but political opposition by the utilities was fierce, and in 2010 Pacific Gas & Electric threw a lot of money behind a proposition designed to make it harder for local communities to form CCAs. But California’s voters defeated it. A few years later, state Assemblyman Steve Bradford introduced legislation designed to slow the expansion of CCAs. Even today, the pushback continues. Sempra is trying to derail this program in San Diego with a fear campaign, but Californians know a good thing when they see it. We want green power at good prices and jobs within a new local green economy.

If the county’s CCA motion passes this week, L.A. will be home to the state’s largest CCA and it will position the entire Los Angeles region as a national leader in providing clean green power to businesses and residents. This is an important and significant investment in a better future for our region. The county is proud to be at the forefront of making this historic shift from fossil fuel dependence and we invite cities from throughout the region to join us in building a greener future for American energy.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl represents District 3.

Greener Energy and Lower Utility Bills?, by Sheila Kuehl, Los Angeles Daily News, April 17, 2017.

Torrance City Council Votes to Review South Bay Clean Power Business Plan

April 4th the Torrance City Council Council voted 6-1 to approve their City Manager’s recommendations that they:

1) Receive and file the South Bay Clean Power (SBCP) Working Group’s draft Joint Powers Authority Agreement, Business Plan, and presentation; and

2) Receive and file the Los Angeles Community Choice Energy Working Group’s final Joint Powers Authority Agreement and presentation; and

3) Direct staff to perform an analysis of the business plans, joint powers authority agreements and potential participation in the Community Choice Aggregation programs and return with recommendations.

Here’s a video clip of the vote:

Torrance is the largest power user in our initiative and the City with the largest population and we’re very grateful to their staff and Council for their continued participation and engagement with our Advisory Committee.

Here’s the staff presentation and South Bay Clean Power Working Group Chair, Joe Galliani, presenting our status update:

We were very grateful for the many supporters who wrote letters and emails to the Torrance City Council including our friends at The Carson Coalition and Food & Water Watch.  We’re especially in the debt of those who gave up their evening to testify in person on our behalf.

Joe Sullivan, representing the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 11 and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) Labor Management Cooperative Committee (LMCC) explained why he backs the South Bay Clean Power Business Plan approach:

South Bay Los Angeles 350 co-organizer, Sherry Lear and Craig Cadwallader of Surfrider Foundation South Bay each offered support for Torrance to review and respond to the South Bay Clean Power Business Plan:

South Bay Clean Power Working Group member, rocket scientist (JPL Mission to Mars team), and leading community environmentalist, Jim Montgomery, spoke from his own experience to the Torrance City Council about his support for a local, DER-centric CCA program for the City.

You’ll note two gentlemen holding signs in each of these videos. They oppose CCAs and all other environmental initiatives.

Torrance City Council Votes to Review South Bay Clean Power Business Plan, by CREATIVEGREENIUS, South Bay Clean Power, April 5, 2017.

Redondo Beach May Get into the Alternative Energy Game

Nothing at the Redondo Beach City Council seems to happen these days without controversy. In the final minutes of Tuesday’s council meeting, two demonstrators scolded the governing body and questioned the science behind global warming.

It was the last meeting for Mayor Steve Aspel, who lost his re-election bid earlier this month and for outgoing Councilmember Stephen Sammarco.

The incident occurred during a debate over whether to continue studying a plan to reduce utility rates through a Joint Power Authority. The motion called to study a proposal to join a nonprofit Community Choice Aggregation program among 14 cities. Similar agencies have formed throughout California and in six other states.

Taking advantage of a California law passed in 2002, cities can collectively purchase electricity through a nonprofit public agency and sell it back to ratepayers at a lower price and from greater levels of renewable sources.

The proposed South Bay Clean Power CCA would be the largest in the state, serving 660,000 people, although the County of Los Angeles is also looking at forming one even larger.

The public debate on Tuesday hinged on climate change denial and big government.

“This is a special interest boondoggle,” argued Arthur Schaper, the vocal leader of the Beach Cities Republican Club, which lost its official charter last month after a dispute with the Los Angeles County Republican Party

“This is another government subsidy propping up alternative energy. It’s a waste of money and a waste of time,” Schaper said.

“This is more government,” said Gary Johnson, who along with Schaper, showed up with signs in protest. “You’re talking about spending lots of money with no guarantee you’ll get it back.”

In the end, the council stood divided by a 2-1-1 vote with Sammarco abstaining, Councilmember Laura Emdee voting against, mayor-elect Bill Brand and Councilmember Christian Horvath voting for the proposal. Councilmember Martha Barbee left halfway through the meeting due to illness.

There was some confusion regarding whether the direction to staff passed or failed—while ordinances and resolutions require a larger majority, a direction to staff needs a simple majority. City Attorney Mike Webb said because the motion was a policy decision, the resolution passed.

“Given the confusion, it would be unfair to both sides,” Webb said. “Since the mayor-elect is sworn in on (April 4th), since this is a policy thing going forward, my recommendation is we just place it for further discussion on the next meeting.”

The issue will come before the council again in coming months after new councilmembers take office and the plan is shopped around to other cities, according to Joe Galliani, who heads the South Bay Clean Power Working Group, which has been studying the idea for nearly three years.

Galliani will head next to Palos Verdes Estates, Torrance and Manhattan Beach among others to gauge support before likely bringing the matter back to Redondo. In Hermosa Beach, the city council is considering a host of options that include forming its own CCA, joining with the county or with other cities.

A recent feasibility study looking at ongoing CCAs and factoring in local conditions found the South Bay agency could lower utility rates by as much as 5 percent with 50 percent renewable sources and 1 percent lower with 100 percent renewables.

Horvath, who has been looking at this idea since the plan was first considered two years ago, called it a “no-brainer.”

From a consumer’s point of view, nothing will change. Power would still be delivered by Southern California Edison, which is reportedly neutral on the idea. Ratepayers would still receive their bill from SCE.

“We don’t see this as competition with Edison,” Galliani said. “They put out a white paper that says they see themselves as a delivery service and not focused on procurement anymore.”

Under the proposal, consumers could choose to have 33 percent, 50 percent or a full 100 percent of their power being derived from renewable sources, helping to meet the state’s carbon reduction goals. SCE currently offers customers only up to 28 percent renewable energy.

Forming a CCA does come with initial costs both in staff time, funds to form the organization and so-called “exit costs” charged by the utility. Those costs are still largely unknown, but in the case of other CCAs in California, they have been recouped in less than two years, Galliani said.

Part of the plan also calls for investments in local renewable energy projects such as solar arrays, something well received by Joe Solomon a leader with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 11.

Solomon called CCAs “job creators” that have led to “hundreds of apprenticeships” to work in solar fields.

“We’ve seen CCAs come a long way,” Solomon told the city council. “Nearly all of them are providing lower rates and cleaner energy. These are some of the most forward-thinking agencies around.”

If the plan is approved later this year, Redondo Beach residents could enroll by the summer of 2018.

—Kelcie Pegher contributed

Redondo Beach May Get into the Alternative Energy Game, by David Rosenfeld, The Beach Reporter, March 22, 2017.

Does LA-Area Need All That Natural Gas from Aliso Canyon? Not Really, Study Finds

Southern California won’t plunge into darkness this summer or next winter if the Aliso Canyon natural gas facility remains untapped for a while longer, according to conclusions reached in a Los Angeles County study.

The findings, compiled by researchers with EES Consulting Inc., contradict warnings by state regulators of rolling blackouts and no heat if withdrawals of natural gas from wells in Aliso Canyon continued to be postponed.

Consultants said in the study several mitigation efforts that included using other sources of reliable energy and conservation worked well enough so that withdrawing natural gas from the wells in Aliso Canyon is unnecessary in the short term. In addition, the wells contain enough natural gas in case of emergencies so that injecting them with more product also wasn’t needed.

“There is sufficient time to aggressively implement demand-side mitigation measures that will eliminate the need to withdraw gas from Aliso Canyon during the next winter season,” according to researchers.

• RELATED STORY: Aliso Canyon bill hits road block in state Legislature

The study comes into public light just as a state bill aimed at temporarily keeping the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility shut down will be heard today by the Senate Energy Committee. Specifically, Senate Bill 57, co-authored by State Sen. Henry Stern, D-Canoga Park, calls for a deep examination into the cause of a massive 112-day natural gas leak from one of the Aliso Canyon wells. From October 2015 until February 2016, an aged natural gas well in Aliso Canyon spewed more than 100,000 metric tons of methane into the atmosphere. The event, which has been described as unprecedented, sickened hundreds of residents and prompted the relocation of more than 8,300 households and two schools in the northwest San Fernando Valley.

Residents from nearby Porter Ranch were most affected and have called on state regulators and Gov. Jerry Brown to decommission the facility once and for all. In addition, Los Angeles County filed a lawsuit against state regulators last month to keep the facility closed until the cause of the massive leak is known.

“This report confirms what we’ve been saying and is that the urgency to reinject is not urgent, and that they can go forward with root-cause analysis,” said Tony Bell, a spokesman for Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

• RELATED STORY: LA leader fights to boost Porter Ranch health study, says gas leak settlement ‘ignores’ community

But Southern California Gas Co., operators of the Aliso Canyon natural gas facility, maintain that use of the wells remains critical to the region’s energy consumption. In January, state regulators allowed SoCalGas to withdraw natural gas from functional wells in the area in anticipation of low winter temperatures.

“The consultant’s report to the county demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding about how our natural gas and electricity systems work,” said SoCalGas spokesman Chris Gilbride in a statment. “As the state clearly recognizes, Aliso Canyon is a critical energy resource that is necessary to maintain the reliability of our region’s natural gas and electricity systems. The state’s energy experts have concluded Aliso Canyon is necessary in three consecutive technical assessments. And, unlike the county’s report, the state’s assessments have been independently reviewed or verified by experts at the National Labs.”

Several state regulators, including the California Public Utilities Commission, offered cautious responses to the study, saying that voluntary reductions of gas usage on high demand days this summer would have to be used “if Aliso Canyon is unavailable for withdraws.”

“While the need for Aliso Canyon to meet demand in L.A. on high gas demand days has been reduced over the past year due to the success of mitigation measures and infrastructure upgrades to the electric transmission system, there is still a risk that there would be insufficient supplies of gas during a summer heat wave that could lead to curtailment of electric service,” Terrie Prosper, spokeswoman for the CPUC, said in a statement Monday.

“The CPUC will respond to the study as part of changes made to the final report in response to all comments,” she added.

• RELATED STORY: CSUN geology professor digs into Aliso Canyon fault

Both the CPUC and the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources are weighing whether Aliso Canyon can reopen as inspections of the wells continue.

“So far, 42 have passed all six of the tests required to resume injection, should it be allowed to resume at some point,” said Don Drysdale, spokesman for the oil and gas agency.

A spokesman with the California Energy Commission said only that several agencies will continue to work together “to assure the energy system for Southern California remains reliable given the situation at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field.”

Matt Pakucko, president of Save Porter Ranch, said the results in the county study came as no surprise and only confirmed that the region can live without natural gas from Aliso Canyon.

“How many reports, how many energy experts is it going to take?” he asked.

Does LA-Area Need All That Natural Gas from Aliso Canyon? Not Really, Study Finds, by Susan Abram, Los Angeles Daily News, April 3, 2017.

Southern California Edison To Bring Online 50 MW Tesla Powerpack 2 Systems

California will shortly bring more Tesla energy storage systems online in Southern California Edison’s (SCE’s) service area.

The 50 MW projects (utilizing Tesla’s Powerpack 2) are conducted by Macquarie Capital, the corporate advisory, capital markets and principal investing arm of Macquarie Group (a global finance corporation).

Tesla Powerpack 2

Beside the large scale of storage systems, Macquarie boasts an industry-first battery storage project financing.

According to the press release, SCE will actually purchase capacity from the Macquarie-owned fleet of behind-the-meter, battery-based energy storage systems, under a 10-year capacity contract to provide load reduction services, as part of SCE’s plan to modernize the grid by 2022.
“Macquarie Capital, the corporate advisory, capital markets and principal investing arm of Macquarie Group (“Macquarie”) (ASX: MQG; ADR: MQBKY), today announced the closing of the first non-recourse project financing of battery-based energy storage systems with CIT Bank.

The financing, led by CIT, backs a 50MW fleet of behind-the-meter, battery storage systems located in certain grid-constrained pockets of the West Los Angeles Basin service territory of Southern California Edison (“SCE”) that Macquarie Capital acquired from Advanced Microgrid Solutions (“AMS”) in August 2016.
Since the acquisition, Macquarie and AMS have been jointly developing and constructing the portfolio, which is expected to come online in phases over the next 12-24 months.”

“The fleet of energy storage systems, which will be located at various large-load commercial,industrial and government host sites in Los Angeles and Orange counties, will be used for utility grid services including flexible and reserve capacity, solar integration and voltage management in addition to retail energy services such as demand management, back up generation and enhanced power quality.

AMS, which led the development of the portfolio, will serve as the asset manager of the projects.”

“”The era of energy storage has begun.” SCE, which is California’s second largest utility, will purchase capacity from the Macquarie-owned fleet of behind-the-meter, battery-based energy storage systems under 10-year capacity contracts to provide load reduction services as part of SCE’s plan to modernize the grid by 2022.”

Southern California Edison To Bring Online 50 MW Tesla Powerpack 2 Systems, by Mark Kane, InsideEVs, April 3, 2017.

Energy Storage Takes Shape with Financing for Southern California Battery Installations

Energy storage is on. CIT Bank will lead debt financing for 50 megawatts of battery storage in a project that represents a new way to manage electrical grids and renewable energy generation.

The storage projects were acquired last summer by Macquarie Group, a large infrastructure manager, from Advanced Microgrid Solutions, a San Francisco startup that is pioneering the use of banks of batteries to manage loads and reduce costs.

Cost-effective energy storage is key to the broad deployment of intermittent solar and wind power, and gives grid operators, such as Southern California Edison, reserve capacity to manage demand peaks.

SoCal Edison has a 10-year contract to buy power from the projects, which will also generate revenues from Cal State Long Beach and Irvine Co., where the battery banks will be installed.

Macquarie expects billions of dollars of energy storage financing deals in the next few years.

Advanced Microgrid is one of the biggest buyers of Tesla’s Powerpack 2 lithium-ion batteries and the two companies share an early investor, Nancy Pfund’s DBL Partners.

“The era of energy storage has begun,” declared Advanced Microgrid’s Susan Kennedy.

This post originally appeared in ImpactAlpha’s daily newsletter. Get The Brief.

Energy Storage Takes Shape with Financing for Southern California Battery Installations, by David Bank, ImpactAlpha, March 31, 2017.