Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies
Providing global warming solutions for California and the West.
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CEERT’s Low-Carbon Grid Program promotes the integration of large amounts of renewable energy on the grid by tracking and intervening in crucial proceedings at the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and other agencies. We also seek to foster joint operating agreements between the CAISO and the state’s municipal and investor-owned utilities, and promote coordination and consolidation of the Balancing Areas in our state and region as a low-cost means of integrating renewable power. The issues are often highly technical, but have enormous impact on the price of renewable energy projects and their access to the transmission and distribution system.
Grid Modernization and Reform
CEERT has continued its efforts to find solutions to decrease the gas burn in California. Grid Policy Director Liz Anthony has begun to use the now largely completed gas-fleet database for policy applications. Her outreach to environmental and environmental-justice advocates has helped to further coordination and assistance on policy issues directly relating to the gas fleet, an orderly retirement of gas-fired capacity, and the potential retirement of the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility. The gas database has also been utilized to map gas capacity and usage for local capacity areas and requirements.
Western Grid Integration
In the wake of a legislative session that did not result in governance changes to the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) that could lead to its becoming a regional system operator, processes have continued for more incremental progress toward Western grid integration. CEERT Executive Director V. John White and Grid Policy Director Dr. Liz Anthony Gill met with clean energy and environmental advocates from around the West at an Energy Foundation meeting on the direction of future grid-integration advocacy. CEERT shared in the consensus view that incremental steps, such as expanding the Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) to the day-ahead market and increasing bilateral cooperation, are the best — and likely the only — viable path forward.
The CAISO has begun stakeholder processes for an EIM Enhanced Day Ahead Market (EDAM). EIM expansion to a day-ahead market will require resolution of both governance challenges and such technical challenges as transmission charges, transmission availability, and a resource sufficiency test.
The EIM Board now has primary jurisdiction over issues that affect just the EIM, while hybrid authority exists for issues that affect both the CAISO and EIM markets, and suggested changes under consideration would give EIM hybrid authority over changes to the real-time market. If an EDAM moves forward, there are open questions about how EIM and CAISO Board responsibilities would change. Liz and John are working with advocates in the region on solutions that would both attract utilities from other Western states and retain California’s ability to ensure that grid operations enable state policy goals.
Liz and CEERT Technical Director Jim Caldwell have continued to advocate for increased coordination and resource sharing between California and the Pacific Northwest. CEERT led comments submitted to the CAISO on the 2018-19 Transmission Planning Process’s (TPP’s) informational study on Increased Capabilities for Transfers of Low Carbon Electricity between the Pacific Northwest and California. The CAISO has made great strides in improving its ability to adequately model Pacific Northwest hydro. CEERT has pushed for continued study in the next round of the TPP on evaluating potential infrastructure upgrades and their impact on the gas burn in California, particularly the LA Basin.
Discussions with the Governor’s Office
CEERT held discussions with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research on the technical and commercial feasibility of processing forest waste and other forms of biomass as part of wildfire preparedness and prevention. (With the prospective departure of the Brown Administration, we had fewer meetings with the Governor’s office than usual.)
James Caldwell, Jr. is CEERT’s Senior Technical Consultant. His academic and professional background includes over fifty years of experience in the energy industry. For the past thirty years, he has specialized in renewable technology and project development including photovoltaic solar, concentrating solar thermal power, wind, biomass, and geothermal. He has been employed in technical and executive positions in the oil industry (Atlantic Richfield), the California utility industry (Los Angeles Department of Water and Power), the U.S. Department of Energy, renewable trade associations, and several large and small renewable re¬source developers. Jim has a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from California State University at Long Beach.
Director of Grid Policy
Dr. Liz Anthony is CEERT’s Director of Grid Policy. She began at CEERT as a UC Davis ELIPPS Fellow while completing her doctoral research on a clean energy focused project at the University of California, Davis. While at UC Davis she also developed and taught renewable energy modules to local students through a National Science Foundation fellowship. She has since completed her PhD in Chemical Engineering and has joined CEERT full time.