By Janina Turner, Center for Climate Protection
The Center for Climate Protection (Center) was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to participate in a collaborative research effort to explore new ways solar energy can improve the affordability, reliability, and resiliency of the nation’s electric grid.
The Advanced Rate Structure project, formally titled “Exploring Advanced Rate Structures to Expedite Solar + Distributed Energy Resources Deployment,” is part of the Grid Flexibility group of NREL’s Solar Energy Innovation Network program. The solutions developed and demonstrated by the Advanced Rate Structure Team will serve as a blueprint for other communities facing similar challenges and opportunities.
Joining the Center on the Advanced Rate Structure team are key partners TerraVerde Energy LLC; Chris Cone Consulting; Grid Policy, Inc.; California Solar and Storage Association; and two California Community Choice agencies (CCAs): Lancaster Choice Energy and Peninsula Clean Energy. TerraVerde Energy will lead technical development, and the CCAs will advise from the perspective of an operational electricity provider and help design a virtual pilot of the rate structure.
The Center’s team is one of just nine teams selected to join the nationwide Solar Energy Innovation Network.
“We selected teams that are experimenting with promising ideas to use solar power to improve the future of grid security and reliability in their communities.”
National Renewable Energy Lab
California energy policymakers have established decentralized energy resources as a key strategy for reaching the State’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets. This project will help the state meet these goals by creating a tool that can produce rate structures to incentivize deployments that integrate solar, energy efficiency, energy storage, electric vehicles, and demand response technologies.
“Community Choice agencies in California can not only set their own rates but can also establish their own rate structures. We have more and more customers combining solar with storage, electric vehicles, and other energy technologies. We are looking for a win/win for both our load management and customer benefits,” said Jan Pepper, Chief Executive Officer of Peninsula Clean Energy.
The Advanced Rate Structure Team is ready to hit the ground running on the project, which is expected to conclude in mid-2019. “We are very excited about this project and see it as an opportunity to truly push the envelope of advancing distributed energy resources. Our Community Choice partners are ideally suited to playing a key role because of their close relationship to their local community and their ability to be flexible and creative,” said Rick Brown, PhD, President of TerraVerde Energy.
NREL is operating the Solar Energy Innovation Network with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. NREL pursues fundamental research and development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies to transform the way we use energy.