California Regulators Direct Southern California Edison to Expedite Call for Energy Storage

The California Public Utilities Commission, in a May 26 resolution, directed Edison International subsidiary South California Edison (SCE) to hold an expedited competitive energy storage procurement solicitation for capacity that must be available by the end of the year.

According to the resolution, SCE must hold the solicitation in order to address grid reliability risks in the Los Angeles Basin due to a moratorium on injections into the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility. The amount of energy storage was not specified in the resolution.

The resolution allows SCE to contract for storage that will count towards the company’s overall storage mandate.

Last October, a leak at one of Sempra Energy subsidiary South California Gas Co.’s (SoCalGas) natural gas storage wells was discovered at the Aliso Canyon storage field. The well was sealed as a result. Aliso Canyon is critical to helping meet peak electrical demands during the summer and peak gas usage demand during the winter, the resolution said. Limited operational capabilities at Aliso Canyon is putting SoCalGas at risk of not being able to meet the gas supply needs in the Greater Los Angeles area, which would cause electric service interruptions in the area by the end of the year.

At the direction of Gov. Jerry Brown, California agencies are working to resolve the reliability issue, including identification of energy storage resources that could provide fast-responding, firm and dispatchable service.

The resolution directs SCE to seek in-front-of-the-meter energy storage that can be operational by Dec. 31 under a term of 10 years or less.

Costs associated with the procurement are unknown at this time, but the new capacity must be “price-competitive with previous solicitations in which SCE has awarded contracts to comparable energy storage resources,” the resolution said.

SCE already has secured contracts for more than 275 MW of storage to help meet the state’s mandate that California’s three investor-owned utilities bring online 1.3 GW of energy storage by 2024.

Lead image: The Tehachapi storage project. Credit: Edison International

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