California Legislature and Governor Enact Four Bills that Accelerate Energy Storage Markets
September 28, 2016 -- The California State Legislature and Governor recently signed into law four important new bills that directly impact energy storage. Collectively, these bills are intended to grow the behind-the-meter and utility-scale energy storage markets, create new clean energy jobs, reduce distributed energy resource interconnection challenges, and ensure that bulk energy storage is part of California's renewable energy future. Governor Jerry Brown signed the following bills into law on September 26, 2016:
- AB 1637 (Low) - Increases the Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) funding by $249 million, sending a clear market signal to industry stakeholders that behind-the-meter energy storage will play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting the next-generation electric grid. Thanks to the California Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC) recent SGIP reforms, 75% of the program budget going forward is now reserved for energy storage.
- AB 2868 (Gatto) - Requires the CPUC to direct California's three investor owned utilities (IOUs) to accelerate the deployment of distributed energy storage by filing applications for new programs and investments of up to 500 megawatts. This bill directly increases the market for energy storage in California, as the 500 MW is in addition to the 1.325 gigawatt procurement goal that California established in 2013.
- AB 2861 (Ting) - Authorizes the CPUC to create an objective, expedited dispute-resolution process for distributed, behind-the-meter energy resources attempting to establish an interconnection to an IOU's electricity distribution network. This bill and resulting dispute resolution process will accelerate and reduce Rule 21 interconnection costs.
- AB 33 (Quirk) - Directs the CPUC and California Energy Commission to evaluate and analyze the potential for all types of long duration bulk energy storage, such as pumped hydro, to help integrate renewable generation into the grid. This bill ensures broader consideration of bulk energy storage's unique capabilities and market roles.