California to require utilities to invest in 1.3 GW of energy storage capacity

State electric power regulators in Redding, California October 17 adopted a utility requirement to build or buy about 1.3 GW of energy storage capacity by the end of 2020. This would be the nation's first energy storage portfolio standard.

The law would require major electric utilities Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) to collectively buy at least 1,325 MW of energy storage.

The law's first goal is a combined 200 MW of storage capacity by 2014.

This is a capacity target that allows for the differences in energy storage technology and how they charge and discharge energy differently. The law's sponsors call it technology neutral, allowing for battery-based energy storage, flywheels, thermal storage and other applications.

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, authored the law, titled AB 2514. California Public Utilities Commissioner Carla Peterman proposed the law.

California already has a renewable portfolio standard requiring utilities to derive 33 percent of their energy from renewable power sources.

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