California’s PUC directs utilities to prepare back-up options for summer outages

California’s PUC directs utilities to prepare back-up options for summer outages

California’s PUC directs utilities to prepare back-up options for summer outages 150 150 Energy Storage Journal

March 18, 2021: California’s public utilities will be directed to prepare for power outages caused by extreme summer weather conditions in plans outlined by the Public Utilities Commission on March 5.

The PUC will consider exactly what directions to make at its next meeting on March 25, and they could include encouraging electric vehicle participation in demand response programmes.

The so-called Proposed Direction was prompted by events last August, when most of the western US suffered from a prolonged extreme heat event in which thousands of people lost their homes as acres of land were ravaged by wildfires. Rotating power outages had to be implemented.

To avoid similar outages this year and next, the PUC says “there is a need for incremental physical resources and modified demand response measures to address grid needs”.

Suggested directions included providing incentives such as capacity and energy payments or payments for EVs that can export to the grid.

“CESA commented that EVs with bi-directional charging capabilities offer a potential grid reliability resource,” the proposal says, and suggested the issue be explored in an upcoming workshop.

The Proposed Direction includes the following options:

  • Flex Alert paid media campaign to persuade consumers to voluntarily cut their consumption when the grid is stressed
  • Modifications to and expansion of Critical Peak Pricing Program
  • The development of an Emergency Load Reduction Program
  • Modifications to existing demand response programs
  • Expedited Integrated Resource Plan procurement
  • Modifications to the planning reserve margin
  • Parameters for supply side capacity procurement
  • Expanded electric vehicle participation

The full text of the Proposed Decision can be found here.