Energy storage looms large in latest California PUC actions

Published on April 25, 2022 by Chris Galford

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In a series of actions undertaken last week by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the regulating body approved energy storage plans for several utilities, nine new energy storage contracts, and alterations to 20-year power purchase agreements at the Southern California Edison Company (SCE).

First, CPUC signed off on SCE’s power purchase agreements with AES Alamitos, LLC, and AES Huntington Beach, LLC to provide an additional 49.5 MW of capacity and 16.5 MW of energy and ancillary services without additional cost. The two combined cycle gas turbine sites opened in February 2020, but CPUC approved changes to the existing contracts to allow SCE access to all capacity at both projects for reliability purposes.

Next up were energy storage plans for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), SCE, and San Diego Gas & Electric. Those plans were originally created in 2020, but last week’s approval was predicated on ensuring the three utilities had met or nearly met the energy targets established by Assembly Bills 2514 and 2868. Under AB2514, the companies needed to procure 1,325 MW and bring them online by the end of 2024. Additionally, SCE gained the green light for two programs under AB2868: a New Home Energy Storage Pilot and a Smart Heat Pump Water Heater Program.

PG&E’s portion of planned clean energy capacity included 11,500 MW. After a competitive procurement process overseen by an independent evaluator, the company has also awarded – and had approved – nine additional energy storage contracts totaling 1,598.7 MW of capacity to come online between August 2023 and June 2024.