On Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission officially opened a proceeding that will set the ground rules for a multi-year transformation of distribution grid planning (PDF). It’s the first state in the country to take explicit steps to merge the traditional world of distribution grid planning — centralized, one way and predicated on the past — and replace it with a two-way, customer-engaged, networked grid model.
Under state law AB 327, California’s big three investor-owned utilities have until July 1, 2015 to come up with suggestions for how they can integrate these systems into their long-range grid plans. That’s not a lot of time, given the complexities of the changes being considered and the significance of what the state is attempting. CPUC Commissioner Mike Florio noted in a Thursday statement that this effort is “one of the most important proceedings that the CPUC has launched in recent years.”