Approaches to Strategic DER Planning


Why is a DER strategy important, and why is it valuable to begin planning and experimenting early, possibly even before significant funding is available?

This section is intended to help CCAs collaborate and share approaches taken to strategic planning: ranging from organic efforts or pilots driven by community demand or instincts about high-impact actions, to broad-ranging structured efforts with consulting partners to proactively define a multi-year roadmap.

While assessing options and developing a strategy for DER is essential, experience shows it’s not trivial, and historically CCAs defer investing much time until initial operational and financial stability are established. Learning from, and leveraging, the experience of other CCAs is the goal of this section.

Three Sample Approaches and Documents (EBCE, SVCE, SCP)

1. East Bay Community Energy: Local Business Development Plan (LBDP) EBCE invested in a sophisticated analysis focused on driving local development, involving a wide range of experts and consultants, and soliciting feedback from a many community stakeholders. This was a very structured approach to developing a 2-year plan to achieve the East Bay Community’s goals.

a. EBCE Goals and Priorities:

    1. EBCE’s relationship with its customers is the highest priority
    2. Prioritizing the development and utilization of local clean energy resources in ways that maximize local benefits is highly important to the EBCE community
    3. Maintaining stable and competitive rates is essential
    4. Supporting the local economy & workforce through “new energy programs and local energy investments” is a core value
    5. The Local Development Business Plan is an important tool that will support EBCE’s ongoing efforts to deliver on each of these core goals and priorities

b. The Local Development Business Plan includes the following sections:

    1. Section I: Early Actions for Local Development
    2. Section II: Supporting Resources, Policies, & Strategies
    3. Section III: Ongoing Analysis, Implementation, & Refinement

c. Read the LDBP Document here (7/18/2018)

d. Community Engagement Symposium Presentation Slides (3/26/2018)

e. EBCE also conducted a series of Webinars on specific aspects of the LBDP during development. They are background info found at the bottom of this page

“EBCE’s Local Development Business Plan is a treasure trove of valuable insights, analysis, and program designs that CCAs can leverage as a ”playbook” for DER strategies.” (Chris Sentieri, EcoShift Consulting & LDBP Project Manager, 2018 Webinar)

CEO Message:

“The Local Development Business Plan (LDBP) is intended to develop a comprehensive framework for accelerating the development of clean energy assets within Alameda County. The LDBP explores how EBCE can contribute to fostering local economic benefits, such as job creation, customer cost-savings, and community resilience. The LDBP also identifies opportunities for development of local clean energy resources, explains how to achieve EBCE’s community benefits goals, and provides strategies for local workforce development for adoption by the EBCE Board of Directors.”

2. Silicon Valley Clean Energy: Decarbonization Strategy

SVCE took a systematic approach to defining a strategy to pursue deep decarbonization. Their decarbonization roadmap presents ten specific strategies to meet the goal of cutting carbon emissions in half by 2030 and also achieve deep decarbonization.

a. Overarching Strategy:

    1. Procure and maintain a sustainable, affordable, and carbon-free power supply
    2. Electrify the built environment and mobility
    3. Promote energy efficiency and successful grid integration
    4. Customer engagement and innovation

b. Read the SVCE Decarbonization Strategy and Programs Roadmap document here (12/2018)

c. SVCE’s Presentation Slides, providing some insight into the systematic approach taken to the strategic planning process.

CEO Message:

“The decarbonization roadmap expands our scope from providing clean electricity, to influence emission reductions from buildings and transportation. This is the imperative challenge of our time. Our community and our Board are engaged in having SVCE play a vital role in this decades-long endeavor. We will leverage technology, prioritize innovation and use data science to manage and influence carbon-free energy use. We will embody the spirit of the community we live and work in, the spirit of Silicon Valley, to bend the carbon curve downwards.”

3. Sonoma Clean Power: Programs Strategic Action Plan

SCP created a road map to clearly identify strategies, and actions needed to accomplish the strategies, to efficiently accomplish the 5 key goals of the JPA. The original document was created in June of 2017 and included already funded programs. The SAP is updated every January and June, and also attempts to prioritize actions based on available resources, regulatory constraints, and other areas of uncertainty. It can safely be assumed that all Immediate Actions have existing or imminent funding.

a. The plan currently includes eight program strategies, with 3 possible levels of action including immediate, near-term, and long-term.

    1. Promote the use of electric vehicles
    2. Promote fuel switching from gas to electric in new and existing building stock
    3. Apply for external funding for programs
    4. Promote the aggregation of loads and resources
    5. Support the integration of Distributed Energy Resources in SCP territory
    6. Support the transition to zero-net-energy (ZNE) building codes and practices
    7. Test and evaluate the use of new technologies
    8. Promote public education involving energy efficiency and fuel switching

b. Read the SCP Programs Strategic Action Plan document here (1/2019)