Virtual Power Plants

Distributed energy resource aggregations, or virtual power plants, are emerging as a critical tool for achieving California’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.  The necessary characteristics and services of virtual power plants will vary depending on grid needs, community and customer values, and operational feasibility.

To better understand virtual power plant functions and values, Silicon Valley Clean Energy and Gridworks are releasing the Silicon Valley Clean Energy Virtual Power Plant Options Analysis Discussion Draft to generate thoughts, ideas, and feedback on possible solutions and the path to achieving those solutions in Silicon Valley.  Options discussed in the paper include Real Time Pricing, Critical Peak Pricing, Demand Response Auction  Mechanism, Load Shift Resources, and a Distribution Services Model. Further information and materials can be viewed here

Vehicle Grid Integration Initiative This Initiative is a collaborative effort to grow California’s VGI market. The initial scope of the Initiative will be:

  1. Identify and assess opportunities in which VGI can create value from multiple market participants’ perspectives
  2. Identify regulatory, labor, or industry market barriers to realizing VGI value creation, and
  3. Provide recommendations on the market or policy actions needed to more appropriately value, procure, or put into operation VGI resources.

The Initiative begins with a focus on California but with an aim to support VGI across the US and internationally. This Initiative was convened and facilitated by Gridworks, beginning in March 2019. Materials from this initiative can be viewed here

Load Shift Working Group The Load Shift Working Group was established by Decision 17-10-017 to develop proposals for new models for demand response to integrate into the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) wholesale market.  Table 2 from D.17-10-017 describes the tasks of the working group, including:

  • Defining and developing new products including load consumption and bi-directional products;
  • Developing a proposal of whether and how to pay a capacity value for load consuming and bi-directional products to provide to the resource adequacy proceeding prior to January 31, 2019;
  • Developing a list of data access issues relevant to new models that should be addressed prior to launching new models;
  • Developing a proposal on how to better coordinate the efforts of CAISO and the Commission to integrate new models of demand response into the CAISO market; and
  • Identifying the value of new products to provide to the resource adequacy proceeding prior to January 31, 2019.

Read more and see the working group materials here…

Building Decarbonization Coalition

The Building Decarbonization Coalition is building a policy roadmap to address decarbonizing the building sector throughout California. As a vital component to reaching the 2050 emission targets the BDC believes that now is the time to take action. Bringing together stakeholders throughout California to develop and drive policy adaptation in several key ways:

  • Identify the key areas to update emission standards based on current realities
  • Drive buy-in from key stakeholders on decarbonizing the building sector
  • Lead the way on market transformation for the sector

You can see the documents from the Roadmapping process and the final product here.

California Rule 21 Working Groups 2 and 3

The Rule 21 Working groups have been charged with streamlining and improving the interconnection policies for distributed energy resources in California. Gridworks has lead multiple stakeholder groups with the goal of considering and developing a variety of refinements to the interconnection of distributed energy resources under Electric Tariff Rule 21. Gridworks is currently leading Working Groups around the Fourth round of policy considerations from the Commission.

Previous Working Group materials and reports are available here.

Rule 21 Working Group 2 Page

Rule 21 Working Group 3 Page

Community Choice Aggregation

Gridworks convenes and supports stakeholders to better align the energy decisions of California’s Community Choice Aggregations (CCAs) and state policy-makers in support of the state’s  decarbonization goals. View our resources from this Working Group here.

Sustaining Solar Beyond Net Metering 

Gridworks convenes and supports stakeholders reexamining net metering, asking how to build on its success to further decarbonization, account for location value, fairly recover grid costs, and enable customer choice. View our resources from this Working Group here.

Distribution Resource Plan (DRP) Working Groups on ICA and LNBA

California leads the country in deployment of distributed energy resources. The CPUC’s Distribution Resources Plan proceeding (R. 14-08-013) continues the state’s work in developing supporting policies to enable increasing DERs in a cost-effective manner that promotes the state’s clean energy and climate goals, and ordered the three IOUs to develop Distribution Resource Plans (DRPs). These DRPs act as blueprints for how the IOUs can plan for and optimize the use of DERs. Our framework paper, “More than Smart: A Framework to Make the Distribution Grid More Open, Efficient, and Resilient” paved the development of a Walk-Jog-Run roadmap of how California plans to integrate increasing levels of DER, focused on distribution planning, operations, and markets.

Since then, each IOU has published their DRPs, initiated pilot projects deferring grid upgrades using DER alternatives, and initiated several technical working groups on grid planning, DER valuation and DER growth scenarios.

As part of the More Than Smart initiatives, Gridworks facilitated stakeholder discussion processes for the IOUs, specifically around the development of Integration Capacity Analysis (ICA), Locational Net Benefits Analysis (LNBA), and DER growth scenarios and distribution load forecasting, to better inform the CPUC’s Distribution Planning Process (DRP) proceeding, otherwise known as Working Groups. Gridworks has hosted over 50 meetings to support the IOUs; nearly 100 people and organizations participated in the development of these recommendations. View our resources from this Working Group here.

Pathways to an Open Grid, O’ahu

The Pathways to an Open Grid (POG) O’ahu project is an independently facilitated, data-driven, collaborative process. Over the next year, participants will forecast potential resource adoption scenarios, analyze the O’ahu electric grid’s renewable hosting capacity, and assess location-specific net benefits of distributed energy resources. A team of experienced facilitators and analysts collected and integrated stakeholder input into a secure, internet-accessible platform with publicly accessible features. View our resources from this Working Group here.

Transmission-Distribution Operations Interface Working Group

Between 2016 and 2017, More Than Smart led a T-D Operations Interface Working Group, comprised of the California ISO, state utilities, DER providers, and interested stakeholders that evaluate a potential operations framework for coordination between the transmission and distribution grids in high-DER penetration futures. Results are captured in More Than Smart’s paper, “Coordination of Transmission and Distribution Operations in a High Distributed Energy Resource Electric Grid“.

The T-D Operations Interface Working Group originated in January 2016.

Final meeting presentation available here

More Than Smart Working Groups

MTS’s inaugural Working Group works to provide an open, voluntary stakeholder forum to educate and discuss core issues toward identifying potential common ground regarding the evolution of California’s distribution system and the seamless integration of DER to meet customers’ needs and public policy. These meetings led to the development of the Walk-Jog-Run framework paper.U.S. Department of Energy’s Distribution System Platform of Tomorrow (DSPx)

This project supports the creation of an integrated distributed electricity system and evaluates innovative approaches to engage stakeholders in its development. Gridworks contributes to DSPx efforts through facilitation, outreach to state leaders, and development of policy reports. Review the work of the DSPx initiative.