On May 31, 2011, the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) issued a scoping memo (“Scoping Memo”) identifying issues to be considered and setting a procedural schedule for its energy storage proceeding. In December, 2010, the CPUC opened Rulemaking 10-12-007 to implement the provisions of Assembly Bill 2514, which directs the CPUC to determine appropriate energy storage procurement targets for load serving entities. To date, the CPUC has issued an Order Issuing Rulemaking, held an initial workshop and a prehearing conference, and received public comments from interested parties. After considering such background and input, the CPUC issued the Scoping Memo.

The Scoping Memo splits the proceeding into two phases: Phase 1 – Policies and Guidelines and Phase 2 – Cost Benefit Analysis and Allocation. The Scoping Memo provides that Phase 1 will consider the following topics:

  1. How are energy storage technologies currently being used? To what extent are these current uses indicative of how energy storage should be utilized on a going forward basis? As the Commission is developing a generalized view towards energy storage, what lessons learned should the Commission consider, both in terms of successes and failures?
  2. What policies are needed to encourage effective energy storage that will: reduce greenhouse gas emissions; reduce peak demand; defer and/or substitute for an investment in generation, transmission or distributions; and improve reliable grid operations?
  3. How can energy storage technologies be best integrated into the utilities’ existing portfolios?
  4. How could energy storage technologies be integrated with the Commission’s loading order, such as energy efficiency, demand response, renewable procurement, distributed generation and other items in the Commission’s loading order? What about other overarching policies like smart grid?
  5. Are there current state or federal policies that impede the ability of energy storage technologies from being utilized more widely or serve as barriers to the development of energy storage systems? What, if anything, can be done to remove these impediments and barriers?
  6. Is it possible to develop a single unifying policy for energy storage when storage has a wide variety of uses?
  7. Regardless of the technology used, are there certain energy storage applications/attributes that should be encouraged? To what extent do the costs and benefits associated with these different applications/attributes differ?
  8. How should ownership model of energy storage be considered? Do the current value streams favor one type of ownership model over another?

The Scoping Memo contemplates that Phase 1 will involve a series of workshops, the first of which is set for June 28, 2011 at the CPUC Golden Gate Room, 505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA.

The Scoping Memo notes that the outcome of Phase 1 will influence the scope of Phase 2. Accordingly, the Scoping Memo declines to set the scope of Phase 2, but states that Phase 2 shall consider at least the following topics:

  1. How should energy storage applications/attributes be valued?
  2. What are the costs for the various types of energy storage applications?
  3. What should be taken into consideration to determine whether energy storage technologies are cost effective? Should they be compared against the other types of resources currently being procured by the utilities? How should the benefits associated with energy storage technologies be taken into consideration when determining cost-effectiveness?
  4. How should the costs and benefits associated with energy storage technologies be allocated among retail end-use customers?

The CPUC will issue a future scoping memo to definitively set the scope of Phase 2.