California Decision Means SCE Could Use Solar, Storage to Offset New Gas Generation

Last week, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) authorized Southern California Edison (SCE) to recover in customer rates the cost of contracts for innovative clean energy resources to offset the need for new natural gas generation.

The CPUC approved SCE cost recovery for 19 contracts totaling 125 MW of preferred resources, including distributed energy resources (DERs), such as energy storage.

Related: Load and Location: DER and the Grid

SCE began its Preferred Resources Pilot Request for Offers following the retirement of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station and anticipated closure of Once Thru Cooled plants, which represented 7,000 MW of generation.

In last week’s ruling, the CPUC found that DERs can be used to offset localized load growth, and that SCE’s Preferred Resources Pilot will help determine to what extent an integrated portfolio of preferred resources deployed at a high concentration can operate just as reliably as a traditional gas-fired power plant.

“SCE’s actions in executing these contracts drives market transformation and innovation and our decision today sends important signals to the investment community that California’s support for a clean energy transformation is unwavering,” said CPUC President Michael Picker, the author of the decision.

“The cost of the contracts is justified by the magnitude of their collective expected contribution to local system reliability, existing CPUC programs, and larger state policy goals, such as grid modernization, distributed energy resources penetration, and greenhouse gas reductions.”

The proposal voted on is available here.

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