Hill & Williams Discuss the Status of California’s Energy Storage Mandate

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“With support from policy makers such as those in California, as technology improves and costs become more competitive, the 'cool kids' in energy storage could conceivably help to reshape an entire industry.” —Attorneys Randy J. Hill and Elliott J. Williams on the possible impact of creators of innovative methods of energy storage
Stoel Rives attorneys Randy Hill and Elliott Williams authored an article for the Renewable Energy World website titled “At the Halfway Point: The Effect of California’s Energy Storage Mandate.” In the article, the authors discuss steps being taken by California utilities to fulfil the requirements of AB 2514, the state’s energy mandate, with regard to meeting the timeline for bringing energy storage online.

Energy storage helps renewable power sources respond to the changes in demand that occur throughout a day or due to other reasons for an increasing or decreasing need for electricity. AB 2514 required California’s three largest utilities to contract by 2020 for an additional 1.3 GW of energy storage power generation to support California’s renewable power standards.

The authors examine the projects underway or announced in California for energy storage and point out that approximately 84 percent of the projected total power output is from projects outside the requirements of the storage mandate. As a result, the main impact of AB 2514 is on “non-traditional” methods of storage, which they say “illustrates a new mindset in grid management that looks for localized solutions to localized problems,” including an array of innovative storage methods with power ratings less than 5 MW.

The authors conclude, “For the time being, traditional storage continues to dominate the grid’s requirements. However, the first four years of AB 2514 storage projects may ultimately ‘stick,’ i.e., prove their value to the grid notwithstanding the mandate. In that case, the projects currently underway will provide the experience and insight for rethinking power delivery at every level.”

Read “At the Halfway Point: The Effect of California’s Energy Storage Mandate,” published November 22, 2016.

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Randolph J. Hill
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