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Utility Dive:

California utility regulators last week issued a draft distributed energy resources (DER) action plan, intended to create a roadmap to roll out “forward-thinking” policy amid expected increases in DER deployments across the state.

The plan is split into four tracks, which include creating more effective retail rate and demand response structures; ensuring that utility infrastructure planning can maximize the value of DERs that are connected to the grid; integrating DERs into wholesale markets; and creating a framework to help customer programs deepen their greenhouse gas emission reductions.

The effort from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) comes against the backdrop of steep forecasted increases in DER deployments. According to regulatory analysis, behind-the-meter solar generation, behind-the-meter storage capacity, and electric vehicle demand in the state will increase by 260%, 770% and 370% respectively from 2019 to 2030.

California has rolled out multiple policies that are expected to contribute to DER growth. Lawmakers in 2018 passed legislation setting the state on the path to 100% clean electricity sales by 2045, and a September executive order from Gov. Gavin Newsom, D, calls for all new cars and passenger trucks sold in California to be zero-emission by 2035. These factors, coupled with the push for electrifying buildings and incentive programs for distributed resources, mean “the time is ripe to prepare a new DER Action Plan,” according to the CPUC.

[Kavya Balaraman]

More: California PUC unveils draft plan for ‘forward-thinking’ distributed energy policy

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