Victory in the economic realm (increasingly the case with solar, solar-plus-storage and wind) is no guarantee of market victory if the regulations are stacked against renewables.
The California Independent System Operator has warned state regulators that there could be a 4.7 GW capacity shortfall in 2022, in the early evening hours of the annual peak demand events of September. The grid operator has suggested the alteration of water cooling laws, as well as increased procurement of resources.
The state grid operator has shown that for most of the period between 1:50 PM and 3:05 PM on Sunday, more carbon emission-free electricity than users demanded was generated in its region.
The state grid operator reported breaking 11 GW of instantaneous power from large scale solar on Saturday at 1.50pm. Just 20 minutes earlier, the CAISO grid was exporting a record 1.5 GW of electricity, and last Wednesday it hit 93% clean electricity for a moment.
On Saturday afternoon, utility-scale solar output on California’s grid peaked at 10,745 MW – its highest level since last summer. More importantly, California is wringing greater flexibility out of its imports, meaning more renewables with less curtailment.
As a leader in the global energy transition, California is putting some of the highest levels of solar and wind on its grid in the world to date. And while the state’s grid operator has made some progress, the integration of these resources is currently limited not by physics, but by market rules and operational practices.
As the conclusion of a 15-month rule-making, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will require grid operators to value the contributions of energy storage, and begins a process to look at how aggregated distributed energy resources can compete in wholesale markets.
An abundance of hydroelectric power and wind is pushing up renewable energy in the spring months, but there is a need for more power during the summer peak, as well as issues with the geographic location of resources.
With California getting a higher portion of its electricity from solar than any non-island nation, the stakes are high with this summer’s eclipse. Fortunately, Europe has already been down this road.
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