California Energy Commission Adopts Expedited Siting Order for Energy Storage

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Stoel Rives - Renewable + Law

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has continued its efforts to implement Governor Newsom’s July 30, 2021 Emergency Proclamation, which was intended to free up energy supply to meet demand during extreme heat events and wildfires, and to expedite the deployment of additional generation.

The Emergency Proclamation authorized the CEC, which is responsible for licensing thermal powerplants of 50 megawatts (MW) or more, to also license new, or expansions of, battery storage systems of 20 MW or more that are capable of discharging for at least two hours and will deliver net peak energy by October 31, 2022.

At its September 8, 2021 business meeting, the CEC unanimously adopted an order (Order) establishing procedures to implement the battery storage licensing authority delegated to it in the Emergency Proclamation.  The Order establishes informational requirements for applications for licensing battery storage systems, and delegates authority to the executive director to establish additional informational requirements for those applications.  The requirements developed by the executive director will be published within 10 days of the date of the adoption of the Order.  The Order also establishes strict timelines for the licensing process.  The executive director is authorized to make a final decision on the application, which will not be subject to further consideration or appeal.

The CEC’s adoption of the battery storage Order comes on the heels of its adoption, at its August 17, 2021 business meeting, of two orders, one establishing a process for post-certification petitions for changes in design, operations, or performance of existing facilities, and one establishing a process for expediting licenses for new emergency or temporary power generators of 10 MW or more that will deliver net peak energy before October 31, 2021.  Both of these orders were also issued pursuant to direction provided in the Governor’s Emergency Proclamation.

As noted in a previous blog post (here), the California Department of Water Resources and the CEC are working to site at least four 30 MW temporary gas turbines at two existing facilities: two at Greenleaf 1 in Yuba City, and two at Roseville Energy Park.  On August 24, 2021, the California ISO filed a petition for tariff waiver to expedite the interconnection of the two turbines at Greenleaf 1.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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