California regulators have approved a massive build-out of clean energy, batteries and an as-yet-undetermined mix of long-duration energy storage and dispatchable zero-carbon resources. The new capacity will replace natural-gas power plants and the state’s last nuclear power plant that are set to shut down over the next five years.
And unlike previous proposals, Thursday’s order from the California Public Utilities Commission won’t require any natural-gas power plants in that mix.
California already leads the nation in solar installations, and this order could double the state’s current solar generating capacity, according to Ed Smeloff, director of grid integration at advocacy organization Vote Solar.
The CPUC’s midterm procurement proceeding calls for 11.5 gigawatts of zero-carbon capacity to be procured by 2026, with responsibility shared between utilities Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, as well as the 22 community choice aggregators that serve a large and growing share of the state’s electricity customers, and a small share from the state’s retail energy providers.