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

V. John White participated in several strategy and communications meetings with the teams working to create a West-wide regional transmission organization (RTO), including campaigns by the Energy Foundation and Western Freedom’s Lights on California. Meetings and briefings with key policymakers are planned for early 2023 around the release of the ACR 188 study report, which will document the affordability and reliability benefits of regional grid integration.

John also took part in meetings with Western Clean Energy Advocates on the evolution of governance discussions in the context of the Energy Imbalance Market and Extended Day-Ahead Market, and the danger to California if the rest of the West decides to join the Southwest Power Pool (SPP). Other Western states could end up joining the SPP if California is unwilling to open up the governance of the California Independent System Operator (CAISO)—as called for in a consensus developed across the region—by repealing the existing authority of the Governor to appoint, and the state Senate to confirm, a CAISO/Western RTO board.


Concentrating Solar Power (CSP)

CEERT is in ongoing partnership with Solar Dynamics in a DOE-funded project on CSP. The project establishes a stakeholder advisory group (SAG) of industry, investor-owned utilities (IOUs), publicly owned utilities (POUs), energy agencies, environmental NGOs, and individuals with back-grounds in solar development. The SAG has previously met to reintroduce CSP to the solar landscape and review initial stages of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s CSP siting study, and we plan to hold a second SAG meeting in the months ahead to review the study’s results and acquire feedback on siting locations. CEERT and Solar Dynamics have prepared presentations for further discussion of CSP’s potential at the CEC, CPUC, and possibly other agencies, identifying how CSP can best be utilized and serve to complement our growing energy grid.