Solar-storage microgrids, CEC grants, SCE’s $1B ratepayer bond

By Published On: October 14, 2021

Solar advocates introduce an innovative way to advance clean microgrids and meet California’s urgent need for power system reliability and resilience. In a new California Public Utilities Commission filing, they seek incentives to add energy storage to customer-sited solar microgrids to provide 1.5 GW of peak demand, following the example being launched in Hawaii.

More than $20 million in new California Energy Commission grants focus on advancing the electrification of short-haul trucks and transit and school buses. The biggest grant is $13 million to create a research center that propels the development of powerful chargers for big trucks in smoggy Southern California. The second-largest amount of funding goes to the City of Los Angeles for clean buses.

A pending CPUC proposal incorporates business and residential ratepayer advocates’ call to cut Southern California Edison’s request to use $1 billion in 25-year ratepayer bonds to cover wildfire costs and unpaid utility bills. Using securitized bonds to recoup capital expenditures is not at issue. But SCE’s shorter-term operation and maintenance fire costs and utility bill debt are.

A dozen of California’s neighboring utilities are contemplating creating a regional energy trading market, separate from the California grid operator and the Southern Power Pool. The goal is to lower cost savings, improve reliability and provide carbon reduction benefits to the participants and region as a whole. Who makes it first to the finish line remains to be seen.

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