As California looks to get half its electricity from renewables by 2030, energy regulators in the state have never been busier.
Among the many pressing issues facing the California Public Utilities Commission this year: how to share data between utilities and distributed energy providers; how to allow utilities to rate-base distributed energy assets like storage, rooftop solar and electric-vehicle chargers; how to design new dynamic rates to shift demand and avoid cost-shifting; and whether to allow third parties to deploy infrastructure-as-a-service models in place of traditional generation, transmission and distribution build-out.
So are regulators prepared to address all these issues? GTM talked with CPUC Commissioner Catherine J.K. Sandoval about how to break down traditional regulatory silos in order to give California utilities the tools to manage large amounts of variable distributed energy.
In June, Commissioner Sandoval will join us at the Grid Edge World Forum in San Jose to share her insights on the state’s challenges. She’ll join a roster of the top names in the utility and distributed energy world — so be sure to attend that three-day distributed energy extravaganza for a look at the future of the electricity system.
Stephen Lacey: What do you think the biggest near-term hurdles are when it comes to integrating more distributed renewables into California’s grid?
Commissioner Sandoval: I think we’re on the threshold of overcoming one of the big challenges: interconnection. I think this commission has been a leader in trying to promote interconnection, but we are a long way from the plug-and-play system that we see in the telecommunications network. Making distributed energy interconnection a more certain, more transparent and faster process is going to be very important.