Southern California Activities

CEERT continues our long-time work to reduce Southern California’s dependence on fossil-fueled power and increase its reliance on clean energy resources. In addition to our regulatory advocacy to promote renewable energy and the building of a low-carbon grid for the region, we are particularly focusing on Los Angeles and the Imperial Valley.


Recent Developments:

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP)

CEERT’s Jim Caldwell has been active as a member of the Public Advisory Committee for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s study, which NREL is conducting, of how to get to 100% clean energy.  Jim has also been meeting with LADWP management as they develop plans for accelerating investment in transmission expansion, in-Basin solar, demand response, and electrification of the Port of Los Angeles and Los Angeles International Airport to replace three retiring in-Basin natural gas plants. These plants are scheduled for closure between 2024 and 2029, and there has been strong environmental and community pressure not to invest $4 billion in gas infrastructure as a first step in moving to 100% clean energy.  The transmission element of the plan is due to be made public in September.

CEERT has been reaching out to potential preferred resource providers and clean energy companies to participate in LADWP’s recent Request for Information, and we expect an announcement of an upcoming procurement opportunity in the fall for on the order of 1 gigawatt of battery and thermal storage, demand response, targeted energy efficiency, and commercial solar projects.  So far, the only formal announcement has been a doubling of the Feed-In Tariff target.  The existing program is essentially fully subscribed and LADWP did not want to lose momentum while it developed the other pieces of its ambitious distributed energy resources plan.

In July, LADWP announced an agreement with 8minuteenergy for a 400 megawatt (MW) solar + storage project in the Upper Mojave Desert that establishes a new record-low price for PV at less than $20/MWH.

Glendale

Jim Caldwell has been providing technical support to a group of local environmental intervenors, including the Sierra Club and Earthjustice, that oppose construction of a new 280 MW gas-fired plant by the Glendale Water and Power (GWP) municipal utility.  The proposed Grayson plant would replace an aging gas facility that is being retired.  Jim has worked with CAISO, LADWP, and GWP staff to explore expanding transmission connections between Glendale and LADWP, which would reduce the need for some of the proposed plant’s output.

In addition, the City has put out an RFP for preferred resources, including storage, demand response, and distributed solar.  While GWP management continues to strongly favor some additional gas, the size of the proposed plant keeps getting smaller.  In late July, the City Council voted to procure 125 MW of local preferred resources and establish the maximum amount of new gas at 93 MW, with an objective of cutting that roughly in half before the purchase order is issued in 2021.  Glendale will also contract for a piece of the new solar + storage project with LADWP.

Both LADWP and Glendale are key venues for moving away from gas generation, and for demonstrating the economic and technical feasibility of providing grid reliability services with zero-carbon resources.

Southern California Edison (SCE)

CEERT is working with SCE Senior Vice President Colin Cushnie and his team on ways to remove barriers to greater reliance on preferred resources, especially demand response and local solar.  We discussed pending CPUC decisions on Resource Adequacy (RA) and the Integrated Resource Plan/Procurement Track, and share SCE’s sense of urgency about the need for a large procurement of preferred resources to be available by 2021.  We hope to work with SCE on a proposal we submitted in our RA Comments urging the utilization of a “portfolio net qualifying capacity” to enable preferred resources to count and be paid for providing grid reliability, and to diminish the market power of incumbent natural-gas generators.