PG&E proposes clean energy alternative to new fossil fuel plant, transmission
- Pacific Gas & Electric has proposed replacing a 40 year-old jet fuel-powered generator in Oakland with a mix of substation upgrades and clean energy resources.
- According to the utility, if the plan is approved, it would be the first time local clean energy resources replaced fossil fuels in order to improve transmission reliability.
- PG&E will issue a request for offers to distributed energy resource providers, and expects to select 20 MW to 45 MW in clean energy resources depending on the final resource mix.
The Oakland generator, which runs on jet fuel, is only needed during high-demand periods. But because of its location, it is essential to the system. Owned by Dynegy, the plant has a reliability-must-run contract with the California ISO for up to 165 MW during peak periods.
In a statement, PG&E said a "conventional solution" would be to build either a new fossil fuel power plant, or to construct new transmission lines through heavily populated parts of Oakland. Instead, the utility is looking to non-traditional resources to eliminate or reduce the need for costly upgrades.
PG&E President and CEO Geisha Williams called the proposal an "exciting milestone" in the utility's work with the city, and said the plan could be "a model for other cities in California and beyond."
The plan is part of a growing trend of utilities turning to "non-wires alternatives" to delay or eliminate the need for expensive new infrastructure.
PG&E is proposing to upgrade existing substation infrastructure and develop new clean energy resources in the city. The utility will be working with East Bay Community Energy to run a market solicitation for distributed energy resource providers.
The proposal has been submitted to the California ISO through the operator's annual transmission planning process. CAISO is expected to make a decision on the project in early 2018. If approved, PG&E will open up the request-for-offers process and file for cost recovery with federal and state regulators.
The Oakland Clean Energy Initiative has a forecasted in-service date of mid-2022 for the project.
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