Using Renewables to Serve Local Capacity Requirements

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On January 24, the California Public Utitlies Commission will vote on an important precedent for using renewables to enhance grid reliability.

Grid reliability requires that there be a certain amount of local generation–known in wonkspeak as ‘local capacity requirements’, or LCR.

In the Los Angeles Basin, a transmission constrained area, thousands of megawatts of gas-fired once-through cooling generators are being retired (due to water quality regulations).

The question before the California Public Utilities Commission is: how will LCR be served with those generators going down?

Utilities would like to repower those sites with new, more efficient gas-fired generation.

Vote Solar advocated that we should first rely on as much local renewables as possible, as well as energy efficiency, storage, and demand response. Paired and deployed intelligently, the full suite of tools can effectively provide for local capacity requirements. Our filings can be found here.

In late December, the CPUC issued a Proposed Decision that replaces almost 5,000 MW of inefficient, GHG spewing, sea life destroying, old fossil plants on the LA coast with as much as 1,519 MW of incremental, clean, advanced, distributed generation, at least 50 MW of storage, and as much as 400 MW of incremental demand response and energy efficiency. Utilities would also be allowed to build no more than 1,200 MW of new, cleaner, more efficient, fossil generation that will not impact the delicate ocean ecosystem. The fabulous foursome of distributed generation, energy efficiency, demand response and storage will provide Southern Californians with reliable, cost effective and environmentally preferable electricity, as well as setting major precedent for the right way to solve energy problems in the future.

It’s a major, precedent-setting milestone…should it be adopted. The Commission is due to vote on the Proposed Decision on January 24.

Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.