California is already a national leader in energy storage. Now, a member of the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC), Clifford Rechtschaffen, has submitted a proposed decision that would double funding for the state’s Self Generation Incentive Program.
The 15-year-old program offers payments to customers who generate and store their own electricity using various strategies, such as energy storage, fuel cells, combined heat and power, and solar. The program has encouraged adoption of energy storage, but this proposal would double the amount that utilities already collect from ratepayers, resulting in an increase of $83 million on an annual basis through 2019.
Additionally, the increased funding would be mostly earmarked for behind-the-meter energy storage and generation. Eighty-five percent of the increased funds will be used to provide storage incentive payments, but none will be used for residential storage. The other 15 percent will be earmarked for renewable-energy generation.
Incentive funding for residential storage systems of 10 kilowatts or less is still available out of the first $83 million allocation. Only the increased funds would be earmarked toward incentives for larger storage systems.
The PUC forecasts that the increased allocation will result in nearly $250 billion. Of this, nearly $200 billion will be available for energy-storage incentives. Another $35 billion will be available for renewable systems. The roughly $15 billion remaining will pay for administration.
The ruling would apply to Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and the Southern California Gas Co.
The full PUC will have to approve the proposal before it goes into effect. The regulatory agency began holding public hearings on the proposal in March.