California boosts solar prospects with 1.325GW energy storage target

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The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has set the state’s three largest investor-owned utilities an energy storage target of 1.325GW by 2020.

The figure is the largest energy storage target in the world.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric have until 1 March 2014 to submit applications to kick-start their first procurement periods.

CPUC list the goals of the target as the optimisation of the grid, integration of renewables and the reduction of greenhouse gases to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. The technologies applicable are yet to be decided but the legislation states they should be “viable and cost-effective”.

“The CPUC's decision to ensure storage capacity will increase the reliability of our electrical grid and optimise solar, wind and other renewable resources,” said Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, author of the legislation.

“This decision makes our state the global leader in energy storage, spurring innovation and creating jobs across California,” she added.

The decision will require the utilities to set procurement targets for energy storage every two years but will themselves be allowed to own no more than 50% of the bnew installations.

Pumped storage exceeding 50MW will be excluded from the target.

The California Energy Storage Alliance said the decision would “optimise our electric power system, lower costs for consumers, enhance reliability and decrease pollution”.

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