California, a state facing an unprecedented challenge in balancing its growing share of intermittent solar and wind power supply on the grid, is turning to wholesale and retail electricity customers for help.
But can the state that leads the nation in energy efficiency also create systems to get millions of residents and thousands of big power users to save power when the grid needs it the most?
That’s the task that the California Independent System Operator has set out in its Demand Response and Energy Efficiency Roadmap (PDF). The 27-page document released last month lays out a four-track plan for a wide array of changes in state energy policy from now to 2020, aimed at turning energy efficiency and demand response into “integral, dependable and predictable resources” for a grid that’s both green and stable.
That’s a challenge, both on a statewide level and within specific regions of the state. It will also require a significant collaborative effort between California ISO and other state energy authorities, including the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Energy Commission (CEC), to create new market mechanisms to bring the two sides of the supply-demand equation into balance.