CEC Approves RPS Integration Costs Part 1

By Published On: March 20, 2004

Over the objections of Southern California Edison, the California Energy Commission at its St. Patrick?s Day meeting approved its staff valuation of the cost to integrate renewables into the state?s grid under the renewables portfolio standard (RPS). The move was seen as an important step in moving forward the RPS rules, which are slowly being developed by the California Public Utilities Commission and are needed to allow a launch of green power solicitations. ?This is giving us hope we can have progress this year? on the RPS solicitations, said John White, executive director of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies. In order to meet state RPS requirements set for utilities, renewables have to bid for capacity into investor-owned utilities? power plant portfolios. The crux of the debate over the CEC?s integration cost findings has been how to assess renewable technologies? ability to meet peak demand. A value is assigned to a facility?s capacity to be on peak, and that figure has been a bone of contention. The CEC, using confidential California Independent System Operator (CAISO) 2002 data, reached a number in the 20 percent range. Edison balked because it has rated renewable supplies?in particular, wind power?much lower, at 13 percent for 2003. Edison director of policy and regulatory affairs Manuel Alvarez objected not only to the percentage assigned to what is known as the ?effective load-carrying capacity,? but also to the underlying CAISO data being kept secret. This first phase of the CEC?s findings will be sent to the CPUC and melded into its RPS rules.

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