by Peter Maloney
Posted November 6, 2019
Several California community choice aggregators and public power utility Silicon Valley Power have joined together to issue a request for proposals for the installation of about 32.7 megawatts of battery energy storage devices intended to offset the effects of Pacific Gas and Electric’s Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS).
PG&E, along with California’s two other investor-owned utilities, have been shutting down power lines to reduce the risk that a sparking line could ignite a wildfire. Most recently, PG&E shut off power to about 1 million customers in Northern California at the end of October in response to dry conditions and expected high winds.
The RFP, issued by East Bay Community Energy, Peninsula Clean Energy, Silicon Valley Power, and Silicon Valley Clean Energy, aims to combine battery storage with new or existing solar power installations in order to provide power to about 6,000 homes and hundreds of businesses in Alameda, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties.
A minimum of 50% of the systems are earmarked for residential customers with the remaining capacity for multi-family properties and commercial buildings.
The aim of the program is to use local resources to fulfill the resource adequacy (RA) requirements that load-serving entities must meet to ensure the safe and reliable operation of the state’s power grid. Instead of relying on a distant power plant to meet RA requirements, the LSEs hope to shift their RA purchases to local solar-plus-storage resources.
CCAs East Bay Community Energy, Peninsula Clean Energy and Silicon Valley Clean Energy are each seeking to procure 10 MW of RA, while pubic power utility Silicon Valley Power is looking to procure 2.7 MW of RA capacity.
Eligible systems include new battery storage systems, new solar-plus-storage systems, storage systems retrofitted on existing solar systems, and existing battery storage systems. All systems must be capable of “islanding,” that is, operating independently from the grid if necessary.
Vendors will be selected via the RFP in early 2020 with further details of the program announced in the spring of 2020 with projects getting under way soon thereafter in order to pre-empt the next fire season. A portion of the new storage capacity is slated to be deployed by September 2020 with the remaining capacity online by either June 2021 or September 2021.
The issuers say one potential model for the program is East Bay Community Energy’s 10-year agreement with Sunrun for 0.5 MW of energy storage in and around Oakland drawn from new solar plus storage installations on low-income housing.
East Bay Community Energy, formed in 2016, is a not-for-profit joint power authority that operates a community choice energy program for more than 550,000 residential and commercial customers in Alameda County and 11 incorporated cities.
Peninsula Clean Energy, formed in 2016, is a community choice energy aggregator and San Mateo County’s official electricity provider. It serves about 300,000 customer accounts.
Silicon Valley Clean Energy, formed as a joint power authority in 2016, is a community choice energy agency that serves about 270,000 residential and commercial electricity customers.
Silicon Valley Power is the municipal utility of Santa Clara.