Low-Carbon Grid

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.

Recent Developments:

Grid Modernization and Reform

CEERT has continued our efforts to find solutions to decrease the gas burn in California.  Grid Policy Director Liz Anthony has been updating the gas-fleet database with additional metrics on NOx emission rates, and has added the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power balancing area’s gas-fired power plants.  Liz reached out to environmental, environmental justice, and clean energy advocates, asking them to pro­vide insights into how the gas fleet is operating and to gain feedback on further directions for ex­pand­ing the analysis.  With this feedback, she developed a workplan to incorporate other datasets and ad­dress issues pertaining to an orderly retirement of gas-fired capacity, the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility mitigation plans, and comparison to resource planning models.

Liz and Senior Technical Consultant Jim Caldwell have maintained their engagement in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) 2018-19 Transmis­sion Planning Process (TPP), with CEERT submitting comments in support of the Local Capa­city Requirements Potential Reduction Study.  This study will offer guidance on potential economic trans­mission upgrades that would reduce the need to contract with gas-fired power plants within load pockets for resource adequacy.  Although the study is “information only,” it will provide valuable feed­back to re­duce local capacity requirements in future TPP and Resource Adequacy cycles.


Western Grid Integration

CEERT continues to work with the Fix the Grid campaign to identify a path to a regional system opera­tion that can aid in the transition to a cost-effective and reliable low-carbon grid.  A current bill dealing with regionalization and requirements for California load-serving entities, AB 813, is still active and has been referred to multiple committees in the state Senate.  Clean Power Campaign continues to be sup­port­ive of the bill and to work with Assemblymember Holden and Energy Committee staffer Kelly Smith.

CEERT has also continued to collaborate with colleagues in the Pacific Northwest to identify other means to increase regional coordination.  We led comments jointly submitted with Pacific Northwest advocates to support the 2018-19 CAISO TPP Informational Study on Increased Capabilities for Transfers of Low Carbon Electricity between the Pacific Northwest and California.  The study was framed as a strategy to decrease reliance on the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility in the LA Basin.  CEERT recommended fur­ther collaboration with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), as LADWP operates the southern end of the Pacific DC Intertie, and better coordination between the LADWP and Pacific Northwest balancing authorities would in itself create greater efficiencies in the LA Basin.

We also recommended studying the impacts on local capacity requirements, as opposed to system capacity requirements, as the local require­ments generally drive gas burn more in the LA Basin.  Finally, CEERT and colleagues recommended utilizing updated clean energy portfolios in the Pacific Northwest to more accurately define the potential benefits.

Although the study will provide useful information for future policy initiatives, the CAISO unfortunately chose to take a conservative approach and only study current law for carbon reduction, declining to model more integrated approaches to the Western grid.


Discussions with the Governor’s Office

V. John White and Liz Anthony met with Saúl Gómez and Alice Reynolds of the Governor’s Office to discuss the deficiencies and errors in the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC’s) Integrated Resource Planning decision and the agency’s failure to recognize the need for near-term procurement of renewables and large-scale, long-duration storage in order to achieve the necessary trajectory of GHG emission reductions to meet California’s 2030 targets. John also talked with Saúl and Alice about wildfire prevention and mitigation issues, strategies for Western grid integration, and the CPUC’s proposed decision to kill the 19 preferred-resources contracts from Southern California Edison’s Preferred Resource Pilot for the Johanna and Santiago substations area.