Energy Storage Gets Legislative Boost In The Golden State


Gov. Jerry Brown, D-Calif., has signed into law four new bills that are expected to directly impact energy storage in California.

According to the California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA), the bills will collectively grow the behind-the-meter and utility-scale energy storage markets, create new clean energy jobs, reduce distributed energy resource interconnection challenges, and ensure that bulk energy storage is part of the states’s renewable energy future. The four pieces of legislation include the following:

– A.B.1637 increases the Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) funding by $249 million, which (CESA) says sends a clear market signal to industry stakeholders that behind-the-meter energy storage will play a key role in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and supporting the next-generation electric grid. Thanks to the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) recent SGIP reforms, 75% of the program budget going forward is now reserved for energy storage, adds CESA.

– A.B.2868 requires the CPUC to direct California’s three investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to accelerate the deployment of distributed energy storage by filing applications for new programs and investments of up to 500 MW. CESA says this bill directly increases the market for energy storage in California, as the 500 MW is in addition to the 1.325 GW procurement goal that California established in 2013.

– A.B.2861 authorizes the CPUC to create an objective, expedited dispute-resolution process for distributed, behind-the-meter energy resources attempting to establish an interconnection to an IOU’s electricity distribution network. CESA says this bill and resulting dispute resolution process will accelerate and reduce Rule 21 interconnection costs.

– A.B.33 directs the CPUC and California Energy Commission to evaluate and analyze the potential for all types of long-duration bulk energy storage, such as pumped hydro, to help integrate renewable generation into the grid. CESA says this bill ensures broader consideration of bulk energy storage’s unique capabilities and market roles.

“The leadership demonstrated by Assemblymembers Evan Low, Phil Ting, Bill Quirk and Mike Gatto [sponsors of the legislation] was instrumental in the development and eventual passage of these groundbreaking bills,” states Janice Lin, executive director of CESA and chair of Energy Storage North America. “CESA is proud to have played a key role in these bills, which further enable energy storage to become a valued piece of the mainstream energy toolkit, mitigate unwarranted market or interconnection barriers, and allow bulk storage technologies to be appreciated as a solution to renewables integration.”

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