Energy Exchange

Energy Storage in California Finally Getting Attention it Deserves

Energy storage is gaining important and well-deserved policy attention in Sacramento due to its wide-ranging potential. Last month, Assembly Bill 2514, which focuses on energy storage, overcame a major hurdle when it passed through the rigorous Utilities and Commerce Committee.

AB 2514 is sponsored by California Attorney General Jerry Brown (front running Democratic candidate in this year’s governor’s race) and authored by Nancy Skinner (founder of ICLEI, former director of The Climate Group and one of the Legislature’s top environmental leaders).

Brown and Skinner identified an effective way to advance energy storage technologies in California. The bill calls for increasing the consideration of energy storage by requiring the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to advance a rulemaking process where storage technology is evaluated based on both the costs and the range of values it can provide. The bill requires the CPUC and utilities to look beyond ability to simply discharge energy and toward a full-scope evaluation that’s not currently performed. Utilities will then be assigned targets for installing storage technology in their service territories over the next decade.

AB 2514 has a way to go to become law, including votes on the Assembly floor and by the State Senate and State fiscal committees. If California is to meet its renewable energy portfolio standards and energy demand and cut greenhouse gas emissions, this bill should get full consideration and support.

Either way, the tide may be turning in the direction of increased energy storage. Consider:

  • The Cal-ISO is performing pilot testing to see how certain storage applications respond to remote signals.
  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) through Order 890 is also requiring system operators to allow storage providers to price in the value of the ancillary services when competing for energy market share.
  • Numerous large greenhouse gas emitters are buying storage to reduce energy costs and gain the benefits of storage.

These advances send a strong signal that widespread energy storage is a great idea whose time has finally come. Storage can and should be compared against the entire range of energy solutions. It should then be strategically integrated into a package of solutions designed to meet California’s ambitious clean energy and emissions reductions goals.

Posted in General / Comments are closed

After the Aliso Disaster: Less Gas Storage, More Clean Energy Through Increased Market Efficiency

By: Mark Brownstein & Tim O’Connor4157619250_29ac89191b_o

The nearly four-month disaster at the Aliso Canyon storage facility owned by Southern California Gas Company has spurred widespread calls to close the sprawling underground reservoir, and cast intense scrutiny on the 13 other similar facilities around California. But others, including Governor Jerry Brown and key state agencies, say the facilities may be needed to keep the electric grid running reliably.

Ironically, one reason for dependence on this fossil fuel is California’s renewable energy boom.

As things currently stand, there aren’t enough responsive resources on the grid to simultaneously manage the large daily swings in consumer electricity demand typical in California and swings in renewable energy output due to variations in time of day and weather.

A more robust grid in combination with innovative energy storage and energy management technology will eventually reduce these swings, but may take decades to fully deploy.  Until then, fast-acting gas-fired generation is necessary for balancing system operations. This has become a rallying cry for SoCalGas and the rest of California’s oil and gas industry in the wake of Aliso Canyon. Read More »

Posted in Aliso Canyon, California, General, Methane, Natural Gas / Read 2 Responses

Puerto Rico communities and Energy Bureau chart path to a clean, resilient future

En español

Last month marked a major victory in Puerto Rico’s pursuit of a reliable and sustainable energy system, as the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau issued its resolution on the long-term plans laid out by the Electric Power Authority.

Thanks to the long-standing engagement of local communities and vigorous advocacy from an array of organizations on the island, regulators in San Juan issued an order largely responsive to public calls to accelerate renewables, reject fossil fuels and embrace distributed energy generation via innovative solutions like microgrids and virtual power plants.

The Energy Bureau’s order on the Integrated Resource Plan, which will guide the development of Puerto Rico’s energy resources over the next two decades, puts the archipelago’s energy future on a cleaner, more resilient path with a renewed emphasis on accountability, transparency and customer-centric solutions.

Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Puerto Rico, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy / Comments are closed

Puerto Rico can achieve reliable and equitable clean energy. Here’s what it’ll take.

By Fred Krupp and Ramón Cruz, Sierra Club President

En Español

Puerto Rico sits in the eye of what’s been the busiest hurricane season on record with an old and historically unreliable power system. The all too common occurrence of blackouts left more than 400,000 people in San Juan in the dark hours before Tropical Storm Isaias made landfall on the U.S. territory this week. Isaias is the latest storm to test Puerto Rico’s preparedness after Hurricane Maria tore apart its electric grid in 2017.

Lack of funding to rebuild critical infrastructure and the Trump administration’s ongoing neglect have elevated the risk that unimaginable human suffering awaits with the next storm.

Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy, Energy Equity, Grid Modernization, Puerto Rico, Solar Energy / Comments are closed

Resilience in the eye of the storm: how Puerto Rico can build a stronger, more sustainable energy future

By Agustín Carbó and Amalia Saladrigas

En español

The Atlantic hurricane season is under way and scientists predict it will be one of the strongest in recent memory, as climate change makes more frequent and severe storms the new normal. For communities across Puerto Rico, already battered by an array of crises, the need to plot a more resilient future is urgent.

Energy is a critical lifeline for Puerto Ricans, and residents’ health and well-being depend on a stable and reliable source of power. Previous disasters, from hurricanes to earthquakes, have shown how unreliable and fragile the current centralized energy system is.

Now, the archipelago has an opportunity to reimagine its electric infrastructure in a way that puts communities first with more sustainable and resilient solutions.

Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Community Solar, Grid Modernization, Puerto Rico, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy / Comments are closed

The energy job market is in trouble. Here’s how we fix it.

The coronavirus is inflicting a heavy toll on America: Over 100,000 dead, almost two million infected, and more than 40 million unemployed. Beating the virus is the top priority. But we also need to put people back to work as fast as safety allows. How we go about that now will determine our nation’s economic future for decades.

To achieve lasting prosperity, we need to rebuild better by investing in jobs that restart the economy, improve the environment and move us to a cleaner future.

Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy, Climate, Energy Efficiency, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, Renewable Energy / Comments are closed