Distributed Energy Resource Projects in the Works

The Climate Center, along with a variety of partners, pushing the local clean energy envelope

The Center is a partner in three grant-funded projects that are underway aimed at exploring how Community Choice agencies (CCAs) can play a leading role in advancing the decentralized clean energy economy of the future.

The most recent news is the award in early April of a grant from the Adobe Foundation. In order to help local Community Choice agencies (CCAs) attain maximum environmental and economic benefits in their communities, this new Center project will develop information and support materials intended to help operational CCAs in the Bay Area move into an advanced phase by rapidly deploying distributed energy resources (DERs), and help emerging CCAs to prepare to do the same. DERs are any number of clean energy generation resources, energy storage, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, fuel-switched appliances, and demand response technologies connected to the distribution system. DERs are broadly viewed as a key to unlocking the potential of these technologies, in optimized integrations, to reduce greenhouse gases while providing other community and system-wide grid benefits. The project’s services will include offering a database of resources and best practices, workshops, webinars and coaching to support advancement of DER among Bay Area Community Choice agencies.

Earlier this year the Center was selected by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to participate in a collaborative research effort to explore new ways solar energy can improve the affordability, reliability, and resiliency of the nation’s electric grid. The Advanced Rate Structure project, formally titled “Exploring Advanced Rate Structures to Expedite Solar + Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Deployment,” is part of the Grid Flexibility group of NREL’s Solar Energy Innovation Network program. Joining the Center on the Advanced Rate Structure team are key partners TerraVerde Energy LLC; Chris Cone Consulting; Grid Policy, Inc.; California Solar and Storage Association; and two California CCAs: Lancaster Choice Energy and Peninsula Clean Energy. TerraVerde Energy leads technical development, and the CCAs advise from the perspective of an operational electricity provider and help design a virtual pilot of the rate structure. This project will deliver a tool that can produce rate structures to incentivize deployment of DERs and will create a DER rate structure design tool that captures the value of DER projects; can be readily adopted, customized, and updated by electricity providers in response to load management imperatives, policy directives, technological advances, and customer demands; and enables informed and expedited deployment of DER resources. For more detail see the news release.

Lastly, as of the most recently filed monthly progress report in early May, things are on track in the California Energy Commission-funded MCE Building Efficiency Optimization Project, first reported on in the Center’s e-news in April 2017. The aim of this project is to empower MCE to achieve broad deployment of carbon free DER, energy efficiency, local renewable energy integration, and to identify other low cost solutions supporting the goal of delivering 100% carbon free electricity for its community by 2025. Three facilities, including the Buck Institute pictured in the heading of this blog, have been chosen where multiple integrated energy technologies will be deployed. By promoting best practices and lessons learned from the project through the California Community Choice Association, MCE seeks to rapidly scale building efficiency via DER procurement as a cost-effective means of meeting Community Choice Energy climate action targets across the State.

Stay tuned to CPX for future updates on these groundbreaking projects.

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