CCA+DER Introductory Resources

This section features a selection of suggested resources and reference sites in the following categories. They are introductory resources we hope you will find useful, and provide context for the rest of the DER⌁Hub sections.   

  • Note: Resources and websites specific to a particular DER energy supply method (e.g. solar) or demand-side technology (e.g. EVs) will be located in those respective sections of the DER⌁Hub, rather than in this Introductory Resources section.  
  • To avoid duplication of legislative & regulatory tracking efforts, we recommend that you subscribe to the bi-weekly CPX e-news (see sidebar to the right). CPX also maintains regularly updated Legislative and Regulatory issues pages.

CCA + DER Intro Resources

CCA + DER Intro Resources

  1. Quickstart: If time is short, these slides concisely explain why CCAs should care about DERs.
    1. CCAs & DERs: Opportunities for Early Action
      (EcoShift Consulting, Chris Sentieri, 2018, 14 slides)Key Points: California’s CCA Industry is Scaling Rapidly, Mandates and Market Forces are Creating Opportunities, “Kicking the Can” on DER Planning is Risky, Opportunities for Early Action on CCA DER Programing, Collaboration and Knowledge Transfer are Crucial, Unlocking DER Potential with Integrated CCA Data
    2. CCAs + IDER: The Case for Why, and When (2018 online webinar recording – 1hr)
      This CPX webinar and related slide presentations are a great foundation for understanding Distributed Energy Resources in the context of CCAs and industry trends, the opportunities for early action, and risks of delayed action. This was the first in a series of four webinars focusing on the unique advantages of Community Choice agencies with regard to distributed energy resources. These advantages have great potential to result in a variety of community and environmental benefits.
    3. Get Ahead of the IDER Wave or be Crushed by It (Article by CCP’s Barry Vesser, 2018)
      Discusses the question: How will CCAs respond to a very dynamic market in California, with market and regulatory changes, new technologies, and will their strategies be successful?
    4. The California Grid Series – Executive Summaries (Summaries of 5 reports from Next 10, 2018)
      These five briefs examine key issues involving the state’s power system, and are a quick, useful foundation for further DER reading (not specific to CCAs). The briefs take a deep dive into how the grid might be challenged or helped by regionalization; the rise of electric vehicles; the growth of community choice aggregation;; and the increase in distributed energy resources, such as rooftop solar panels. To read the full series, visit www.next10.org/ca-grid
    5. Valuable Recorded Webinar Archives (Subscribe to be notified of upcoming webinars)

State Policy Context

California Capitol Building

The state of California has established policy goals of a 100% renewably-sourced electricity power mix, and a fully decarbonized economy by the year 2045. These are ambitious goals and policy leaders in the legislature and the regulatory agencies have affirmed that we will not be able to get there without substantial action at the local level. This is where CCAs+DERs come in.

California CCAs operate within a forward-looking state economy that is supportive of clean energy, but is largely predicated on the legacy model from the 20th century: the central station regulated monopoly model. This model is undergoing a transformation, not just in California, but everywhere, as new technologies and imperatives have rendered the old model increasingly obsolete. It is also a complex public policy and market environment that presents challenges for CCAs, requiring the development of approaches that will allow CCAs to thrive in a dynamic environment. Some state policies promote and provide support for an increase in DER advancement, but in the context of investor-owned utilities as the lead. Additionally, CCAs continue to be challenged regularly in the legislative and regulatory arenas, so constant vigilance is required to ensure that CCAs may participate on a level playing field.

One of the California state policies that is counterproductive to development of DERs is how the rules apply to what are called Transmission Access Charges (TAC), DERs by definition do not utilize power wheeled over the transmission system, and operate within the distribution level. Unfortunately, all electricity billed by an IOU has the TAC applied to every kilowatt-hour of power delivered, whether or not that power actually used the transmission system. DER projects would pencil better if this policy could be changed to more accurately bill customers for the resources they actually use

State and federal policies currently offer valuable incentives supporting DER deployment: Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Production Tax Credit (PTC), Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). Some of these programs are scheduled to ramp down but while in effect, these support DER deployment and can significantly reduce project costs.

CCAs are subject to State legislative mandates and new regulations that call for a proactive approach to DER planning. Below is a partial list of DER-relevant legislation: (as of Spring 2019 : does not include policies and regulations on the horizon)

  • Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) – This is the State’s policy regarding eligibility and minimum standards for renewable energy in LSE power mixes.
  • SB 350 – Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act (2015) – Focuses on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40 percent by 2030, including efforts to achieve at least 50 percent renewable energy procurement, doubling of energy efficiency, and promoting transportation electrification.
  • SB 100 – CA Clean Energy Act (2017) Builds on SB 350 in that it establishes an overall State target of 100% clean energy for California by 2045; Accelerates RPS goals to 50% by 2026, 60% by 2030. Aligns well with CCAs’ missions, and supports local renewable energy development.
  • SB 700 – Solar Energy Storage Initiative; Extended SGIP rebates through 2025; Up to $800M in customer-side-of-the-meter energy storage incentives will drive deployment.
  • Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) is a key component, requiring a process to identify optimal portfolios of resources to achieve the state’s GHG goals and meet the challenge of renewable integration, and DERs will play an important role.
  • Resource Adequacy – RA rules apply to CCAs; meeting requirements cost effectively while supporting clean energy and climate protection goals brings opportunities for dispatchable DERs such as energy storage, demand response, energy efficiency, and distributed generation.

Relevant Links: California Legislative & Regulatory DER-relevant materials
In an effort to avoid duplication of effort to track ongoing Leg and Reg status, DER⌁Hub suggests you follow ongoing CPX news updates and blog posts and reference the following key links.

The California Community Choice Association (CalCCA) – CalCCA actively tracks and engages on relevant legislative and regulatory activity affecting CCAs within the State. CalCCA represents the interests of California’s Community Choice agencies in the legislature and at state regulatory agencies, including the California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission and California Air Resources Board.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) – The CPUC is the most relevant regulatory agency vis a vis CCAs. Relevant Proceedings and programs:

  • The Integrated DER proceeding at the CPUC (R.14-10-003) is the main regulatory proceeding that aims to address IDER policy in California.
  • DER Action Plan (2017): to align the organization’s vision and actions in shaping California’s distributed energy resource future. The plan outlines a vision of DERs over the next several years, and serves as a roadmap in coordinating activities across multiple proceedings … The plan serves as a guide for decision-makers, staff, and stakeholders as they facilitate proactive and forward-thinking DER policy.
  • Self-Generation Incentive Program
  • Multiple-Use Application – Energy Storage (2018): CPUC approved new market rules to promote the ability of storage resources to realize their full economic value when they are capable of providing multiple benefits and services to the electricity system.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) – The CEC supports a number of advanced CCA DER projects that will yield actionable case studies and toolkits that other CCA’s can utilize:

  • Local Government Challenge Grant – MCE secured funding via this program for the Building Efficiency Optimization through DER deployment project.
  • EPIC Grants: Funding Opportunities for the Electric Program Investment (EPIC) Charge Program
  • CA Clean Energy Tour: This site showcases the types of projects that are being used to help California meet its ambitious clean energy and climate change goals, many of which are DER examples.

California Independent System Operator (CAISO)

Official California Legislation Tracking website is: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/ This is where you can find out about the status of any bill and subscribe to updates on specific bills.

Another excellent tool is the Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker that can be used to find energy-related bills in California, other states, and at the federal level.

The California Alliance for Community Energy (CACE) – CACE supports and defends Community Choice energy efforts in California with a special emphasis on advancing local clean energy for the environmental, economic, and social justice benefit of our communities. Publications page.

Reference Websites

DER Roadmap, CA Energy Commission

Integrated DER Page, CA Public Utilities Commission

Distributed Energy Resources 101: Required Reading for a Modern Grid, Advanced Energy Economy

CleanEnergyGroup,  Nonprofit advocacy organization working on innovative policy, technology, and finance strategies in the areas of clean energy and climate change. Projects and publications focus on resilience and storage.

Gridworks, Convenes, educates and empowers stakeholders working to decarbonize electricity grids. Several reports and publications offer valuable knowledge focused on DERs, the grid, and policy, including the role of CCAs.

GreenTech Media, Intelligence and insights from industry experts and leading companies on the global energy transformation.

Utility Dive, Provides original analysis on the latest happenings in the electric utility industry. Utility Dive is a publication of Industry Dive.

Next 10, Publications and programs focused on the clean economy. Selected publications focus on DERs and the California Grid. Next 10 is focused on innovation and the intersection between the economy, the environment, and quality of life issues for all Californians. See Next 10’s: The California Grid Series

National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), Wide-ranging research, publications, and collaborations. Search the NREL Publication Database for DER resources.

Quickstart: If time is short, these slides concisely explain why CCAs should care about DERs

CCAs & DERs: Opportunities for Early Action

Key Points:

  • California’s CCA sector is scaling rapidly
  • Mandates and market forces are creating opportunities
  • “Kicking the can” on DER planning is risky
  • Opportunities exist for early action on CCA DER programming
  • Collaboration and knowledge transfer are crucial
  • Unlocking DER potential with integrated CCA data.

(Credit: EcoShift Consulting, Chris Sentieri, 2018, 14 slides)