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California Commission Takes Action to Modernize Grid for DER Future

June 28, 2021
New proceeding to modernize the state's electric grid to integrate a high number of DERs, including EV charging.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), in ongoing actions to support energy reliability, recently took action, through the opening of a new proceeding, to modernize the state's electric grid to integrate a high number of distributed energy resources (DERs), including electric vehicle (EV) charging.

The proceeding focuses on preparing the grid to accommodate what is expected to be a high DER future and capturing as much ratepayer value as possible through actions such as clarifying grid roles and responsibilities, vehicle charging infrastructure forecasting, and community engagement.

"The expected proliferation of DERs in California, led by millions of new EVs, will pose new challenges for distribution planning and load management, as well as new opportunities for making customer demand more flexible, integrating renewable generation, increasing customer resilience, and promoting equity," said Commissioner Darcie L. Houck. "The new rulemaking serves as a timely forum to consider reforms to utility distribution planning to fully leverage this new wave of DERs toward promoting clean, safe, reliable, and affordable energy service."

The proceeding will consider increasing community engagement with distribution grid planning and investigating the evolving roles and responsibilities of utilities, distribution operators, and DER stakeholders toward achieving the following goals:

  • Enable swift evolution of grid capabilities and operations to integrate solar, storage, EVs and charging equipment, flexible load management, and other DERs to safely and reliably meet the state's 100% clean energy goals.
  • Improve distribution planning, including charging infrastructure forecasting to support cost-effective and widespread transportation electrification.
  • Optimize grid infrastructure investments by facilitating community input about planned developments, DER siting plans, and resilience needs.

As the successor to the Distribution Resources Plans proceeding (R.14-08-013), which opened in 2014, the new proceeding will continue to address how improved planning and increasing grid data transparency can inform optimal siting and operations of DERs. It will also investigate how grid modernization technologies such as advanced "smart" inverters and distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS) can support grid reliability.

"The electric grid is evolving as more DERs are anticipated. With the rapid growth of DERs in California, this rulemaking will lead the state in the right direction to accommodate this growth," said Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma.

A workshop on the proceeding's scope and organization is anticipated in September. To become a party to the proceeding, visit hereTo subscribe to receive proceeding documents, visit here.

The proposal voted on is available here.

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