Tag Archives: Grid Interconnection

Utility-Scale Solar Surpasses Wind in California for First Time in 2015

Recent analysis from Vaisala, a global leader in environmental and industrial measurement, reveals that in 2015 energy from grid-connected, utility-scale solar plants surpassed wind for the first time in California. While this is an exciting milestone for the solar industry, the rise of solar also brings with it a demand for better forecasting information to cope with the challenges that the increase in variable generation poses to the regional energy system.

California has been a national leader in renewables since first establishing its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in 2002, and, with a 50% RPS mandate recently signed into law, it is likely to maintain its position for years to come. Today the state is still one of the largest U.S. wind markets in terms of capacity, but the exponential growth of large-scale solar in recent years has considerably altered the structure of the regional energy market.

Public records from CAISO (California Independent System Operator) indicate that over the past five years, grid-connected, utility-scale solar generation in California increased fifteen-fold. It went from a total of 1,000 GWh in 2011 to an impressive 15,592 GWh in 2015, composing 6.7% of the system total and surpassing wind for the first time, which made up 5.3% of the system total.

Read full press release from Vaisala

The Perils of Wholesale Distributed Generation: Can California Live Up to Its Promise?

By Tam Hunt (Community Renewable Solutions LLC), Greentech Media

There has been a lot of excitement about the promise of wholesale distributed generation in California in recent years. But the state still hasn’t lived up to its promise.

Wholesale distributed generation (DG) refers to front-of-meter systems (typically sized between 1 megawatt and 20 megawatts) that sell power directly to the utility or a third-party offtaker. This is an important market niche that remains underdeveloped. But there are some reasons to be optimistic about the future of wholesale DG in California — if some key policy changes can be made.

I’ve written various columns over the years for GTM highlighting the opportunities, innovations and issues facing distributed generation. Last year, I wrote a very optimistic piece that reflected my excitement over the California Public Utilities Commission’s push for more DG. In particular, I highlighted the new Distribution Resource Plan proceeding and the new interconnection maps that utilities were required to produce as part of their DRPs.

GTM’s Stephen Lacey recently wrote a piece kicking off a series of articles on the utility of the future. In it, he said: “Today, experts across the energy industry are predicting a…shift toward a decentralized, digital and dynamic grid system.” I agree with his appraisal of this trend. But California — long considered the leader on these issues — has yet to address a number of hurdles that stand in the way of realizing that future. In fact, the obstacles now facing solar DG in PG&E’s territory threaten to kill this niche entirely…

Read full op-ed from Greentech Media

 

Grid Integration Puts California Ahead On Solar Goals

By R. Kress, EnergyBiz

[Editor’s note: The following is part of EnergyBiz coverage of the 2015 Itron Utility Week Knowledge Conference in Los Angeles.]

In 2006, the California legislature passed what was known as the “Million Solar Roofs” bill, laying out what seemed at the time to be an extremely ambitious set of goals for integrating solar power into the state’s energy mix.

With a $50 million budget, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) contracted Itron to manage the California Solar Initiative Research Development and Deployment Program (CSI RD&D) and lead the development of a sustainable and self-supporting solar industry in the Golden State within 10 years – by the end of 2016. The legislative target to meet was 3,000 megawatts of solar power distributed statewide-and, as Smita Gupta, principal energy consultant for Itron, said in her presentation at the Knowledge Conference on Tuesday, that goal has already been exceeded by about 400 megawatts.

Naturally, increasing the amount of power derived from the sun posed a host of complications. Itron, as program managers for CSI RD&D, zeroed in on the need for a deep focus on grid integration. Of the total funding for the project, between 50 and 65 percent was ultimately allocated to grid integration projects.

Read full article from EnergyBiz