California lawmakers pass bills to spark energy storage statewide

energy storage sept elp

California Gov. Jerry Brown and the state legislature signed four bills into law that should positively impact energy storage investment in the Golden State.

Collectively, these bills will 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 California’s renewable energy future, according to a release from the California Energy Storage Alliance.

The bills signed by Brown on Monday include:

·         AB 1637—Increases the Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) funding by $249 million, sending 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 percent of the program budget going forward is now reserved for energy storage.

·         AB 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. 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.

·         AB 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. This bill and resulting dispute resolution process will accelerate and reduce Rule 21 interconnection costs.

·         AB 33 (Quirk)—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. This bill ensures broader consideration of bulk energy storage’s unique capabilities and market roles.

“The leadership demonstrated by Assemblymembers (and bill authors) Evan Low, Phil Ting, Bill Quirk, and Mike Gatto was instrumental in the development and eventual passage of these groundbreaking bills,” said Janice Lin, Executive Director of the California Energy Storage Alliance (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.”

Pacific Gas & Electric announced the state’s first 75 MW of energy storage contracts last year. Those projects are expected to come on line by May 2017.

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