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:

Regional Grid Integration

CEERT has been engaging in discussions with regional partners, such as Nicole Hughes of Renewable Northwest and Vijay Satyal of Western Resource Advocates, on stakeholder governance issues and oversight of the prospective Extended Day-Ahead Market (EDAM). We are also working with Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) and Energy Foundation on the multistate campaign to build public support across the West for a regional transmission organization. A California legislative resolution, ACR 177 (Holden), is setting the stage for the issues of future governance and regional grid integration in 2023.


Concentrating Solar Power (CSP)

CEERT Executive Director V. John White and Policy Coordinator Maia Leroy have been working closely with Fred Morse of MAI and Hank Price of Solar Dynamics on a DOE-funded study exploring how concentrating solar power paired with long-duration thermal energy storage (TES) could help California reach its clean-energy goals.

CSP, often trumped by cheaper photovoltaics (PV), is an older technology that many might have misconceptions or lack knowledge about, but with solar panel supply-chain interruptions and possible tariffs, it may be the solution to keeping solar affordable and on the grid. When paired with TES, a CSP plant can supply power around the clock, 24 hours a day, thus taking pressure off the peak load that PV cannot serve alone.

This study entails organizing and meeting with a Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) that includes members of publicly owned utilities, investor-owned utilities, California state agencies, environmental nonprofits, and solar companies. The role of SAG is to inform each organization of the benefits and technical feasibility of CSP+TES, and how the next generation of these plants can best be optimized.