Oregon PUC to Hold Energy Storage Workshop on May 9, 2016

The Public Utility Commission of Oregon (the “Commission” or “OPUC”) has scheduled a workshop on May 9, 2016 to assist the Commission with its task of adopting guidelines that utilities are to use when drafting and submitting energy storage proposals under House Bill (HB) 2193.  The workshop was scheduled in response to a Commission-request at the March 30, 2016 prehearing conference in Docket No. UM 1751, which was opened in compliance with HB 2193.  At the prehearing conference, Administrative Law Judge Ruth Harper informed the parties that the Commission wanted the proceeding to start with a Commission workshop to address the purpose and content of the guidelines, as well as the range of viable projects.   

As discussed in an earlier blog post, HB 2193 requires utilities to procure qualifying energy storage systems by January 1, 2020 and submit proposals for such systems to the Commission by January 1, 2018. HB 2193 also requires that the Commission adopt guidelines for utilities to use when submitting a proposal for energy storage projects.

The Commission has already held two workshops in this docket: one on January 27, 2016 and the other on February 29, 2016.  The purpose of the first workshop was to give interested parties an opportunity to offer input to Commission staff based on a set of questions posed by staff.  The purpose of second workshop was to hear and learn from industry experts, including Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, utilities, the Oregon Department of Energy, SolarCity and AES, as they answered four questions from staff.

As it did in the case of the earlier workshops, the Commission has released an agenda for the May 9, 2016 workshop.  The full agenda can be accessed here, but here is a snapshot of what will be discussed:

1. Utility Presentations: Pacific Power and Portland General Electric will each have 20 minutes to give a presentation about the projects that they may propose under HB 2193.  The presentations will cover questions such as the following:

  • What appear to be the most viable and beneficial applications of energy storage in your service territory over the time frame established by HB 2193?
  • What is the best technology to use for those applications?
  • How strongly should the Commission encourage investment in different applications or in different types of storage systems?
  • How will you evaluate costs and benefits to ratepayers, utilities and the general public?
  • How should the Commission evaluate and rank proposed projects?
  • How will you evaluate the potential to store energy in your company’s system?

2. Staff Comments: Commission staff will comment and respond to the utility presentations for 15 minutes.

3. Intervenor Comments: Intervenors will have the opportunity to comment on topics addressed during the workshop. If a large number of intervenors wish to comment, intervenors will be grouped and called together.

If you are interested in attending the workshop, here are the details:

Date:  May 9, 2016

Time:  1:30 – 3:30 pm

Location:  Public Utility Commission, Hearing Room, 201 High Street SE, Suite 100, Salem, Oregon 97301

After the workshop, a second prehearing conference will be scheduled to develop a procedural schedule.  This second prehearing conference will allow opportunities for additional comments.

Docket No. 1751 can be accessed here.  HB 2193 can be accessed here.  We will continue to provide you updates as the Commission implements HB 2193 and adopts its guidelines.

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