SB 1339, a bill enacted in 2018, directs the California Public Utilities Commission, in consultation with the California Energy Commission and California Independent System Operator, to undertake a number of activities to further develop policies related to microgrids. The legislation added Chapter 4.5, Sections 8370-8372 to California's Public Utilities Code. Read the full bill and statutory language here.
The California Public Utilities Commission voted to initiate a new rulemaking to consider how to implement the requirements of SB 1339 at its September 12, 2019 public meeting. The "Order Instituting Rulemaking" (OIR) that formally launched the new proceeding was then officially issued on September 19, 2019. Read it here. The OIR includes a preliminary description of the issues the Commission intends to address in the rulemaking.
Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma, the Assigned Commissioner for the rulemaking, released a Scoping Memo on December 20, 2019. Read it here.
The Commission voted to approve a decision for Track 1 of the proceeding on June 11, 2020. The decision adopted short term actions to accelerate microgrid deployment and related resiliency solutions. Read it here.
Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma, the Assigned Commissioner for the rulemaking, released a Scoping Memo for Track 2 on July 3, 2020. Read it here.
Administrative Law Judge Colin Rizzo issued a ruling on July 23, 2020 requesting comment on staff's proposal for facilitating the commercialization of microgrids pursuant to SB 1339. Read it here. (Staff proposal and concept paper attached).
Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma and Administrative Law Judge Colin Rizzo issued a joint ruling on September 4, 2020 requesting comment related to utility deployment of temporary generation and alternatives to diesel fuel and technology for the purpose of providing power to customers at safe-to-energize substations during transmission outages. Read it here (Proposal and August 25th Workshop Challenge Statement attached).
The Commission voted to approve a decision for Track 2 of the proceeding on January 14, 2020. The decision adopted rates, tariffs, and rules facilitating the commercialization of microgrids pursuants to SB 1339 and resiliency strategies. Read it here.
Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma, the Assigned Commissioner for the rulemaking, released an Amended Scoping Memo and Ruling for Track 3 on February 9, 2021. Read it here.
Resiliency and Microgrids Working Group
As part of the rulemaking, the CPUC is organizing a working group to facilitate thoughtful and informed discussions to continue to support the goal of resiliency and the commercialization of microgrids. Specifically, the Resiliency and Microgrids Working Group (RMWG) will further explore the issues identified in the proceeding thus far which may include but not limited to the standardized metrics for measuring resiliency and reliability values, CAISO wholesale market, critical facilities, and other topics. The topics may be subject to change and reprioritization as the discussions evolve over the course of the working group meetings.
For past and upcoming working group meetings, please refer to the Resiliency and Microgrid Events and Materials section here.
Microgrid Incentive Program
In January 2021, the Commission authorized the Microgrid Incentive Program, with a $200 million budget, to fund clean energy microgrids to support the critical needs of vulnerable communities impacted by grid outages and to test new technologies or regulatory approaches to inform future action.
The Microgrid Incentive Program is intended to provide funding for community, local and tribal government-driven, reliability and resilience projects with benefits including:
Increased electricity reliability and resiliency in communities that may be at higher risk of electrical outages.
Increased reliability for critical infrastructure facilities such as fire stations, schools, and nursing homes that keep communities safe.
Reduced impacts of power outages and minimized disruptions for low-income households, individuals who rely on un-interrupted power, utilize assistive and/or medical equipment, or experience other access and functional needs.
Reduced Greenhouse Gas emissions by deploying clean generation technologies and expanding the market for resiliency solutions that do not rely upon diesel generation.
While the program concept is approved, the program design and implementation details still need to be worked out. Staff and the program administrators will continue to seek input from a wide range of stakeholders via public workshops and other public processes on how to best serve the electrical needs of vulnerable communities with the program investments.
The anticipated launch date is at the end of 2021.