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California Commission Provides Transmission Planning Guidance to CAISO

Feb. 16, 2021
Guidance aimed at procuring more clean energy resources to help California meet energy needs and climate goals.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) continued its work in helping the state meets its ambitious decarbonization goals by providing guidance aimed at procuring more clean energy resources for the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to use in its 2021 to 2022 Transmission Planning Process.

The CPUC's role in the CAISO's Transmission Planning Process is to select generation and storage resources for the CAISO to study for its transmission needs. The recent decision recommends the CAISO to study a transmission plan that:

  • Includes a base case portfolio with more than 28,000 MW of new greenhouse gas (GHG)-free resources, including geothermal, long-duration storage resources, and 9000 MW of new battery storage. The vast majority of the resources are assumed to be located in California. This resource portfolio is consistent with meeting a 46-million metric ton (MMT) GHG emissions target for California's electricity sector in 2031 and in line with California's target of reducing overall GHG emissions statewide by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, and also with what is necessary to meet the state's reliability goals.
  • Maps resources to specific locations on the electric grid to minimize local air pollutants in disadvantaged communities and areas with poor air quality.
  • Includes two "sensitivity" portfolios that study the transmission needs for two other scenarios:

1. An accelerated scenario that meets a 38-MMT GHG emissions target in 2031, including a portfolio of 20,000 MW of new in-state renewables, more than 10,000 MW of new battery storage, and 3000 MW of out-of-state renewables.

2. A scenario including the significant development of offshore wind to better understand the transmission needs for California.

"Our decision is an important step in helping us prepare for the large-scale investment in clean energy resources that we will need to meet our ambitious climate goals," said Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen. "It also positions us well for the adoption of more aggressive targets going forward."

In addition to these planning efforts, over the next two years, more than 8000 MW of new clean energy resources are coming online in response to CPUC directions.

For more information on the CPUC's integrated resource planning (IRP) processes, visit here.

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