The California Independent System Operator (ISO), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) unveiled a comprehensive roadmap to assess the current market environment and regulatory policies for connecting new energy storage technology to the state’s power grid.
California envisions energy storage technology as a critical component in reducing global warming, improving air quality and promoting energy independence. The state currently has several pilot projects, and is working toward commercialization of energy storage.
“Advancing and Maximizing the Value of Energy Storage Technology – A California Roadmap” is the product of collaboration by the three organizations and input from more than 400 interested parties, including utilities, technology companies, generators and environmental groups.
The roadmap focuses on actions that address three categories of challenges expressed by stakeholders:
- Expanding revenue opportunities
- Reducing costs of integrating and connecting to the grid
- Streamlining and spelling out policies and processes to increase certainty
The roadmap analyzes the current state to identify needed actions, sets priorities for the next steps and defines the responsibilities of each organization to address the issues. The document highlights actions and is intended to serve as a platform to inform future regulatory proceedings, initiatives and policies; however, it does not lay out a plan to perform them.
in general, high-priority concerns that need to be addressed include refining existing products and driving new ones to market; clarifying operational constraints to connecting energy storage to the grid; reducing costs of metering and connection; and creating a predictable and transparent process for commercializing and connecting storage projects . deliberate collaboration in the execution of this roadmap will advance energy storage technology to better enable a more efficient, reliable and greener grid.—California Roadmap
In 2013, California established itself as an early advocate of energy storage technology when it mandated that investor-owned utilities reach a combined target of 1,325 megawatts of energy storage to be online by 2024.
As we aim to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and—by 2030—get 50 percent of our electricity from renewable sources, flexible resources like storage will be important to balance the electric system. The collaborative effort of this roadmap will help by identifying barriers to energy storage technologies so we can keep our electricity supplies safe, affordable and reliable.—Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller
The state has seen significant growth in sustainable and renewable energy sources, particularly with solar rooftop installations more than doubling in recent years. But power from renewable sources, such as solar and wind power plants, is intermittent and its generation often doesn’t conform to the instantaneous nature of electricity demand. Overgeneration—too much generation at times when demand is low—creates instability in the marketplace and forces renewable energy to be underused.
One of the challenges of electricity for a large-scale grid is that the energy has to be used virtually at the instant it’s generated. Since the discovery of electricity, inventors have looked for ways to store energy for use on demand. Technology to store energy is vital to optimizing the grid, increasing renewable energy sources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Some of the technology being tested and marketed are batteries, flywheels, compressed air, thermal and pumped hydropower. Several utilities have made substantial investments in storage projects, and have signed contracts and announced they are looking for future commercial potential.