New Energy Providers Join Forces Against Entrenched Agency Rules

California Current

Bureaucratic red tape at the California Public Utilities Commission prevented East Bay Community Energy from contracting for clean, behind-the-meter electricity last year that could have provided power or lowered demand during the August heat waves. The resources were designated to help meet East Bay’s 2020 resource adequacy obligations. The community aggregator says it also is hitting a wall with regulators who have limited its ability to invest in clean demand response and capitalize on aggregated residential solar-plus-storage resources, Stefanie Tanenhaus, EBCE senior regulatory analyst, told Current.

EBCE has now joined with other community energy organizations and third-party demand response suppliers who share similar frustrations, and together are pushing back.

In a letter to the Chair of the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee last week, they laid out specific ways California’s clean capacity reserves can be increased, averting blackouts. These range from removing market uncertainties and other hurdles faced by large and small energy storage projects, to doing away with outmoded caps on conservation. The group is urging the grid operator and CPUC to take five steps, or else risk a repeat of the unacceptable mid-August rolling blackouts.

“It’s imperative that we immediately implement these common-sense changes that can not only help stabilize the grid by 2021, but save consumers on their electricity bills, while also having the benefit of reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from burning more natural gas,” Tanenhaus said.

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