Clean Coalition policy wins in 2019 set the stage for Community Microgrid proliferation in the next decade

In 2019, the Clean Coalition continued to lead on renewable energy and grid modernization policy — with over a dozen public filings in California regulatory proceedings.

Our work designing and staging Community Microgrids continues to inform our policy focus. The obstacles we encounter in these deployments help us identify the policy improvements needed to unleash the microgrid market.

It’s time for Community Microgrids

In 2018, the California legislature passed SB 1339, with the aim of reducing barriers to resilience-focused microgrids. This year, the Clean Coalition filed comments to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on the rulemaking for SB 1339:

Our comments highlight the need for a Community Microgrid approach to establish energy resilience, and urge the CPUC to consider community-level interests as well as the integrated capabilities of distributed energy resources (DER).

In late November, the Clean Coalition also filed comments in support of Community Microgrids to the California Energy Commission (CEC), as part of the CEC’s Integrated Energy Policy Report Workshop. Our comments focus on establishing the policies and market mechanisms that will help proliferate Community Microgrids.

Proliferating Community Microgrids

Designing state-of-the-art Feed-In Tariffs

Our work this year extended to the City of San Diego. The Clean Coalition designed a state-of-the-art FIT with streamlined interconnection for San Diego that recommends the use of Market Responsive Pricing (MRP), which allows the price paid for both solar and storage to adjust based on market response, ensuring the community pays the optimal price for clean local energy. The FIT also includes a Dispatchability Adder to make renewable energy available via available storage capacity, regardless of whether the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, and to leverage time-of-delivery and other market values associated with flexible energy dispatch.

Fixing a market distortion that disadvantages clean local energy

TAC reform got the attention this year of publications such as Microgrid Knowledge, pv magazine, and Utility Dive. In addition, the need for TAC reform was mentioned by numerous parties in comments filed on the CEC’s Integrated Energy Policy Report Workshop; public comments delivered at a hearing on PSPS held by the California State Senate’s Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications; and public comments at a CPUC workshop on microgrid deployment.

The TAC Campaign continues to pursue the goal of passing legislation in California that will direct the CPUC to take up TAC reform.

Streamlining interconnection

Distribution Resources Planning

DER valuation

2019 was also the first full year of implementation of the distribution investment deferral framework (DIDF) and associated procurement of DER to avoid more costly conventional grid investments. While utilities are initially focused on gaining experience with a highly selective portfolio of projects, this marks a major milestone that has fundamentally changed the grid planning process in recognition of the capabilities and cost-effectiveness of DER.

Looking forward to the next decade

Originally published at on December 11, 2019.

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