Accelerating Rule Changes for Electricity System Resilience

CPUC adopts some good suggestions to engage local government in energy planning

Pursuant to 2018’s Senate Bill 1339 (Stern), which is all about accelerating microgrid development in California, The Climate Center became a Party to the proceeding and filed comments, along with others such as Vote Solar, in part calling for more collaboration with local governments and CCAs in localized energy planning. Since then, through our Advanced Community Energy (ACE) Initiative, one of the key suggestions we have made in several contexts is to break the proceeding into separate tracks that would allow for one of the tracks to be for near-term, expedited measures that can result in resilience-building technologies being deployed at high fire-risk critical facilities before the 2020 fire season arrives.
In the CPUC’s December 20th scoping ruling for the SB 1339 proceeding, the Commission did what The Climate Center and others have been asking them to do: set-up a fast-track proceeding (Track 1) and engage local government. The CPUC decision states:
“…the issues within scope of Track 1 are: 1. Prioritizing and streamlining interconnection applications to deliver resiliency services at key sites and locations; 2. Modifying existing tariffs to maximize resiliency benefits; 3. Facilitating local government access to utility infrastructure and planning data to support the development of resiliency projects; and 4. Investor Owned Utility proposals for immediate implementation of resiliency strategies, including partnership and planning with local governments.”
This is a welcome development. More recently, the Center filed comments regarding Commissioner Rechtschaffen’s Proposed Decision on Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) Revisions. In this more recent filing, The Center recommended that the final decision (1) create a new budget category as a subset of SGIP marketing, education and outreach (ME&O) administrative expenses to support local governments and CCAs in completing local government energy resilience planning, and (2) specify straightforward procedures whereby CCAs and local governments in their service areas can apply for and receive these funds and access needed utility infrastructure and planning data. We are hopeful that the Commission agrees with our SGIP comments.
For more on all of the above, visit our  ACE information page, where you can download our one-page handout on ACE and access more of our filings. Also good read in this arena is this December 17 Utility Dive article: California moves to boost storage to combat safety-driven power shutoffs
The ACE message about the importance of local government involvement in energy planning is starting to be heard!
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