Tag Archives: Grid Integration

Inside the Minds of Regulators: How Different States Are Dealing With Distributed Energy

By Julia Pyper, Greentech Media

With distributed generation steadily rising and creeping into new states, electricity regulators in each region of the U.S. are dealing with change very differently. Regulatory officials from California, Texas, Minnesota and Arizona discussed how they’re addressing some of the most pressing issues in their service territories this week at the National Town Meeting on Demand Response and Smart Grid in Washington, D.C.

California: California is the national leader in the deployment of solar PV, plug-in electric vehicles, grid-scale energy storage and home automation technologies. Today, about 20 percent of the state’s electricity comes from renewable energy, putting California on track to meet its 33 percent renewable energy target by 2020.

But while the Golden State continues to come up with new ways to promote and integrate advanced energy technologies, the focus will shift from renewables in the coming years, said Michael Picker, president of the California Public Utilities Commission.

“We’re moving away from a technology-based discussion to [a discussion of] grid values — what does the grid need, what do customers need?” he said. “And we will probably move away from a focus on renewables per se as a series of technologies, to a series of metrics on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” Picker added that this shift away from individual technologies toward holistic grid solutions will reinforce a convergence between traditional electric utilities, the transportation industry, the natural gas industry and all types of distributed energy resources (DERs).

Read full article from Greentech Media

Solar Becoming ‘Least-Cost Option’ For US Utilities

Solar energy is fast becoming a “least cost” option for U.S. utilities. Declining technology costs, policy support and retail rate levels are cited as contributing factors. Issues, including rate restructuring and grid integration, need to be addressed; meanwhile community solar programs are garnering “strong” interest.

In its latest Utility Solar Market Snapshot, the U.S. Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) reports that solar energy is growing increasingly attractive for utilities. Overall, the top ten utilities accounted for 72% of all new installations in the U.S. in 2014, which is estimated to total around 5.3 GW (AC) across 183,00 systems.

According to the utility rankings, Pacific Gas and Electric installed the most solar in 2014, at 1.68 GW, followed by Southern California Edison at 1.04 GW: these two Californian-based utilities accounted for 48% of total installed capacity by utilities last year. Claiming four of the top ten spots, utilities in California are by far the most active in the field of solar, although those in Arizona, North Carolina, Hawaii and New Jersey have been noticeably active too.

Read full article from pv magazine