Category: Distributed Generation

1
California Energy Storage Update – What’s In the Latest Procurement Plans?
2
Event: Blockchain in Energy Forum 2018
3
FERC Rejects DOE’s Grid Reliability and Resilience NOPR
4
FERC to Discuss Interaction Between Competitive Wholesale Energy Markets and State Energy Policies
5
FERC Proposes Reforms to Large Generator Interconnection Procedures and Agreements
6
Duke Energy Issues RFPs for Distributed Energy Resource Program
7
Georgia Allows Third Party Ownership (TPO) of Solar
8
A new model for clean energy: Community solar gardens
9
Regulatory implications of new products and services in the Australian electricity market
10
Washington UTC clarifies its authority to regulate third-party ownership of solar panels and requests further legislative direction

California Energy Storage Update – What’s In the Latest Procurement Plans?

By Buck B. Endemann and  Kristen A. Berry

Just as Prometheus hid fire in a fennel stalk to gift it to the unaware ancients, the pioneers of energy storage technology seek to harness and store energy in increasingly novel ways. Transforming captured energy into storable and consumable power stands at the forefront of this century’s revolution in green energy technology. In 2017, the United States deployed 431 MWh of energy storage capability, largely spurred by state-specific energy storage mandates.[1] California’s state legislature has continued to lead the nation and spread Prometheus’s “secret spring of fire.”

While the concept of storing energy is centuries-old, new battery technologies promise to mitigate California’s infamous duck curve and provide the low carbon, flexible ramping resources necessary to accommodate the state’s increasing penetration of solar power. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates the United States’ total current storage capacity at 23 gigawatts (GW), which approximates the capacity of 28 coal plants.[2] Ninety-six percent of this capacity, however, derives from pumped hydroelectric storage, most of which was built in the 1960s and 1970s and is increasingly vulnerable to drought and other environmental risks. More recently, energy storage developers have focused their efforts on battery technologies, with lithium-ion batteries in particular making great strides in terms of duration and cost-effectiveness. Market watchers have projected that by 2020 the price of battery storage could decline to $200 kWh, compared to today’s market price of approximately $340/kWh.[3]

As detailed in the K&L Gates Energy Storage Handbook (Version 2.0), California’s two landmark energy storage bills require California’s Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs) to procure and install nearly 2 GW of storage by 2024.[4]  Under AB 2514, the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) required California’s IOUs to procure by 2020 1,325 MW of storage capacity split among the transmission, distribution, and customer domains.  In AB 2868, the legislature set an additional procurement target of 500 MW for distributed-connected energy storage systems, with individual 166 MW goals established for Southern California Edison (SCE), Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), and San Diego Gas & Electric (SD&E). Under both laws, California’s IOUs must submit periodic procurement plans to show progress toward each law’s targets.  In February and March 2018, SCE, PG&E, and SDG&E submitted their 2018 energy storage procurement plans, which lay out each IOU’s strategy to meet its energy storage goals in its respective service territory.

SCE proposes to procure a total of 60 MW of energy storage by 2018 in two separate procurements of 20 MW and 40 MW.  The 20 MW of procurement would respond to an additional legislative directive, SB 801, under which SCE is required to deploy energy storage in response to the natural gas shortages caused by the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility’s well failure.  For the remaining 40 MW, SCE plans to launch programs and investments to solicit utility-owned storage, as mandated under AB 2868. SCE’s procurement plan also seeks CPUC approval to allocate $9.8 million to install energy storage at low-income, multi-family dwellings.

PG&E’s procurement plan focuses on the 166 MW of energy storage under AB 2514 that it is required to procure in the 2018-2019 procurement period.  To meet that target, PG&E proposes an energy storage request-for-offers framework. To achieve its AB 2868 target, PG&E outlined its four categories of distribution-connected storage investments: (1) researching the role of distributed energy storage in wildfire safety, particularly within the context of the North Bay Wildfire rebuilding efforts, (2) launching a behind-the-meter storage program for up to 5 MW of thermal storage, (3) identifying and seeking immediate CPUC approval (via a Tier 3 advice letter) for storage investments up to 166 MW, and (4) requesting authorization for additional investments beyond the categories identified in the 2018 application.

SDG&E’s filing proposes seven utility-owned micro-grid projects, all of which would exist at the distribution circuit level. These projects would provide services to entities that contribute to public safety, like police stations and firehouses, by providing storage capabilities separate from the main grid.  SDG&E argues that these distributed storage systems will provide a wide-range of benefits, including grid resiliency, wholesale market revenues, and reduced dependency on non-renewable energy sources by minimizing the need for back-up generators.  SDG&E also plans to contribute $2 million toward a pilot energy storage incentive program for non-profit facilities, such as nursing homes.

Each of these utilities will roll out its initiatives over the remainder of 2018 and beyond.  K&L Gates will continue to monitor energy storage developments and provide updates.

[1] GTM Research / ESA, U.S. Energy Storage Monitor, https://www.greentechmedia.com/research/subscription/u-s-energy-storage-monitor#gs.KZIlnzQ (2017).

[2] Union of Concerned Scientists, How Energy Storage Works, https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/how-energy-storage-works#.WtAsTq2otD8 (2013).

[3] McKinsey & Company, The New Economics of Energy Storage, https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability-and-resource-productivity/our-insights/the-new-economics-of-energy-storage (August 2016). Energy Storage Report, Study: Flow Batteries Beat Lithium Ion, http://energystoragereport.info/study-flow-batteries-beat-lithium-ion/#sthash.c07jCAVv.gXdjY17t.dpbs (July 2017).

[4] K&L Gates, Energy Storage Handbook, http://www.klgates.com/epubs/Energy-Storage-Handbook-Vol2/ (April 2018).

Event: Blockchain in Energy Forum 2018

We invite you to join us for GTM Squared’s Blockchain in Energy Forum on March 7, 2018 live in New York City and available to stream online. Washington, D.C. associate and co-author of The Blockchain Energizer, Benjamin Tejblum, will be presenting on the implementation of blockchain and how to best navigate regulations and new business models. Additional topics to be covered will include a discussion on distributed ledger technologies, re-envisioning the future, enabling a transactive grid, and optimizing operations and identifying new opportunities.

Please note you must be a member of GTM Squared to participate.

FERC Rejects DOE’s Grid Reliability and Resilience NOPR

By William M. Keyser, Molly Suda, Gillian R. Giannetti and Toks A. Arowojolu

On January 8, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (the “Commission”) issued an order rejecting the Department of Energy’s (“DOE”) notice of proposed rule making (“NOPR”) that would have allowed fuel secure generation that would include coal and nuclear generation facilities with a 90-day fuel supply to “fully recover costs” to maintain the resiliency of the electric grid. The Commission found that the NOPR did not comply with Section 206 of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”). Instead, the Commission initiated a new proceeding to “examine holistically the resilience of the bulk power system” and directed regional transmission organizations (“RTOs”) and independent system operators (“ISOs”) to respond to questions outlined in the order addressing grid resilience issues by March 9, 2018. All other interested entities may submit reply comments by April 9, 2018. Commissioners LaFleur, Chatterjee, and Glick each issued separate concurring opinions.

Read More

FERC to Discuss Interaction Between Competitive Wholesale Energy Markets and State Energy Policies

By Molly Suda and William M. Keyser

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) has scheduled a technical conference on May 1 and 2 to discuss and obtain input on the interaction between competitive wholesale markets and state energy policies. In recent years, several states that are part of organized wholesale energy markets have adopted legislation or policies to support or promote certain generation resources or resource types.  As a result of these state policy initiatives, FERC has been forced to grapple with questions about state versus federal jurisdiction and the effect of the state policies on competition and prices in the organized wholesale energy markets. The technical conference offers an open forum to discuss potential solutions and find ways to reconcile states’ interests with interests in preserving the benefits of regional competitive wholesale markets.     Read More

FERC Proposes Reforms to Large Generator Interconnection Procedures and Agreements

By William M. Keyser and Elizabeth P. Trinkle

On December 15, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) to revise Parts 35 and 37 of its regulations, as well as the pro forma Large Generator Interconnection Procedures (“LGIP”) and pro forma Large Generator Interconnection Agreement (“LGIA”).  The proposed reforms are designed to improve certainty, promote more informed interconnection, and enhance interconnection processes.

The pro forma LGIP and LGIA establish the terms and conditions by which public utilities subject to the Federal Power Act must provide interconnection service to Large Generating Facilities.  FERC defines “Large Generating Facilities” as facilities with generating capacity greater than 20 MW.  While FERC has previously undertaken steps to reduce undue discrimination in the generator interconnection process, interconnection customers have continued to express concerns regarding inefficiencies and discriminatory practices.  Moreover, FERC proposes that recent changes to the resource mix, the emergence of new technologies, changes to state and federal policies, and challenges with the interconnection study process warrant reforms.  Based, in part, on input received from stakeholders following a 2015 technical conference on these issues, the NOPR identifies reforms to benefit both interconnection customers through timely and cost-effective interconnection and transmission providers by mitigating the potential for re-studies associated with late-stage interconnection request withdrawals.

Specifically, FERC proposes reforms that focus on improving aspects of the pro forma LGIP and LGIA, the pro forma Open Access Transmission Tariff, and the Commission’s regulations.  These reforms fall into three broad categories:  (1) reforms intended to improve certainty in the interconnection process; (2) reforms intended to improve transparency by providing more information to interconnection customers; and (3) reforms intended to enhance interconnection processes.  FERC requests comment from interested stakeholders on specific issues related to development and implementation of each of the proposals within these three broad areas of reform.  An overview of FERC’s proposals and request for comment on each area of reform are summarized below.

Comments on the NOPR will be due 60 days from publication in the Federal Register.  A copy of the NOPR is available here.

Read More

Duke Energy Issues RFPs for Distributed Energy Resource Program

Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress (collectively, Duke) recently issued two requests for proposals (RFPs) as part of the implementation of Duke’s Distributed Energy Resource Program (DERP). The DERP, which was developed pursuant to South Carolina’s Distributed Energy Resource Act of 2014 (Act 236), was approved by the South Carolina Public Service Commission earlier this year. (See more information about Duke’s program.)

Read More

Georgia Allows Third Party Ownership (TPO) of Solar

Recently, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed into law House Bill 57, known as the Solar Power Free-Market Financing Act of 2015 (the Solar Power Act). The Solar Power Act, which both houses of the state’s General Assembly passed unanimously, allows homes and businesses to install solar technology under third party ownership (TPO). Although it sailed through the General Assembly, the Solar Power Act is the product of detailed negotiations and compromise between lawmakers, electric service providers, and consumers. The introduction of TPO through the Solar Power Act is expected to provide a significant boost to the residential and commercial solar markets in Georgia. Read More

A new model for clean energy: Community solar gardens

Declining prices for solar equipment and generous government incentives have broadened the appeal of community solar gardens. Community solar gardens, which are arrangements in which multiple users invest in and benefit from a solar array, provide a simple and cost-effective means for power consumers to acquire clean energy without having to bear the entire cost of purchasing or leasing a solar array. According to GTM Research, the community solar market is forecasted to grow fivefold in 2015.

For a variety of reasons, most energy consumers cannot own or lease a solar array—for example, they may not control the rights to their roof or their roof may be physically unsuitable. Community solar gardens offer these consumers the opportunity to invest in an offsite, local solar array in exchange for reductions in their energy bills. This new model expands consumer access to solar energy while also conferring a host of ancillary benefits.

This alert outlines the foundation of community solar gardens and describes their main legal considerations. While this alert cannot describe all the legal issues of community solar gardens nationwide, it covers common federal and state law issues that individuals involved with community solar gardens should anticipate.

Read the full alert here on K&L Gates Hub.

Regulatory implications of new products and services in the Australian electricity market

The Energy Market Reform Working Group in Australia released a consultation paper at the end of 2014 regarding the regulatory implications of new products and services in the national electricity market.

New products and services include energy supply from generation facilities installed at the customer’s premises (which may be combined with energy storage), products and services relating to demand management and energy information and advice.

The paper outlines some of the potential regulatory implications of these new products and services. It seeks feedback from stakeholders as to the types of new products and services which may be offered to small customers and whether regulatory reforms may be necessary – from either a consumer protection or a power system operations perspective.

Stakeholders are invited to make submissions on the issues raised by the consultation paper by close of business on 20 March 2015. Written submissions can be sent by email to energycouncil@industry.gov.au. Alternatively, please contact us and we would be happy to assist you in preparing a submission.

To read more about this consultation paper and the key findings and issues identified, please click here.

Washington UTC clarifies its authority to regulate third-party ownership of solar panels and requests further legislative direction

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) has issued an interpretive policy statement clarifying its jurisdiction to regulate third-party owners of solar panels and other net metering systems as “Public Service Companies.” Docket No. UE-112133 (July 30, 2014) (statement).  While the WUTC’s policy statement  provides useful guidance on the agency’s current position and the action it will likely take in the future, the statement is not binding on the agency. Read More

Copyright © 2018, K&L Gates LLP. All Rights Reserved.