Statewide Partnership Aims to Deliver More Clean Energy Faster to Californians

Source: 4/18/2024, Location: North America

In a joint effort to deliver more clean energy at a lower cost to customers, the California Energy Commission (CEC), California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), California Independent System Operator (CAISO), Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and the University of California, Berkeley Energy Institute at Haas submitted a grant application for $2 billion to the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) Program the largest such application in state history.

The project, called California Harnessing Advanced Reliable Grid Enhancing Technologies for Transmission (CHARGE 2T), would deliver these customer benefits:
Increase statewide electric transmission capacity, which will boost supply, reducing renewable curtailment and reducing costs incurred when there is not sufficient capacity, known as congestion, which would lower costs to customers;
Improve technologies and coordination to streamline the process for renewable energy projects to interconnect to the grid;
Support workforce development through programs that facilitate access to union jobs with family-sustaining compensation; and
Improve energy education beginning in middle school through high school, community college, four-year degree programs and graduate research, unlocking the potential of local students.

The DOE's GRIP Program is administering $10.5 billion in grants to enhance grid flexibility and improve resilience of the power system against growing threats of extreme weather and climate change. If approved, the matching grant would provide $1 billion.

"This funding will continue to advance grid-enhancing technologies for the state's transmission planning process as we work toward 100 percent clean electricity," said California Energy Commission Chair David Hochschild. "These promising innovations can help lower costs for Californians through greater efficiency that lets us get more out of our shared system."

"Our changing climate demands new thinking, innovation and investment to decarbonize our economy at the lowest societal cost. We're proud to be part of this public-private partnership to build the clean, climate-resilient energy system necessary to meet our customers' future needs," said Patti Poppe, Chief Executive Officer, PG&E Corporation.

"As the clean energy transition accelerates, we must maintain a reliable, resilient and ready electric grid for what's ahead especially the state's transmission system, which is challenging due to lengthy siting and permitting processes," said Steve Powell, President and CEO of Southern California Edison. "This project will help California take aggressive action against climate change, drive economic growth and make costs more affordable for customers."

Advancing Technology Solutions
The project would upgrade over 400 miles of steel powerlines across the CAISO system, which serves 30 million people, with advanced conductors that contain carbon fiber and/or composite cores that allow lines to carry more capacity. It would also use grid enhancing technologies (GETs) to reduce congestion. Together, the economic impact to disadvantaged communities is estimated at $1.4 billion. The work would directly support about 1,000 IBEW and ESC union jobs, as well as approximately 20,000 indirect jobs throughout the project's lifecycle.

The grant also would fund technology and process improvements to enhance renewable energy interconnection, adding more clean energy to serve customers and help meet the state's bold clean energy goals.

Fueling Economic Growth through Workforce Development
Additionally, CHARGE 2T would help fund energy education and training programs supporting over 350,000 middle and high-school students, as well as community colleges and universities to develop a pipeline of future power engineers.

These programs will focus on disadvantaged communities and provide mentoring, internships and counseling for students at Title 1 schools, as well as later job training, apprenticeships, and scholarships. Programs would also support mid-career changes, and training developed with unions to help fuel economic development in the state.

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