The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has issued a proposed decision for energy storage targets and policies to bring about rapid deployment of grid-scale energy storage in the state.

“This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for,” said Janice Lin, Managing Partner of Strategen Consulting and Chair of Energy Storage North America (ESNA) Conference and Expo 2013, to be held September 10-12 in San Jose, Calif. “Commissioner Peterman’s historic proposed decision provides a critically needed market signal to realize the many benefits energy storage can bring to California’s ratepayers. We’re certain that other states will follow California’s example.”

According to a recent release from CPUC, the proposed decision’s framework provides essential goals and a timeline for the implementation of AB 2514 that became California law in 2010. Under AB 2514, the CPUC was required to open a proceeding to consider developing energy storage procurement targets for California utilities to integrate grid-scale storage into the state’s electrical power system if determined to be viable and cost-effective. The CPUC has now developed a proposed framework for implementing the law. Following are some of the highlights:

• The proposed framework outlines specific, year-by-year energy storage procurement targets for Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Pacific Gas and Electric. By 2020, these three utilities are expected to have contracted for 1.325 gigawatts of energy storage for their operations.

• The proposed targets increase between 30% and 55% every two years, creating economic incentives for multiple players with various technologies to enter the market.

• Utilities will be allowed to employ energy storage for a variety of functions, such as capacity, ancillary services, and peak shaving, which, in turn, will provide real-world data for further market expansion.

• Utilities may own some energy storage systems, and will procure at least 50% from independent developers across all segments of the grid via existing procurement processes or “all-source” solicitations starting in 2014.

• The first solicitation for new energy storage capacity will be required to occur no later than Dec. 1, 2014

CPUC Commissioner Carla Peterman, who authored the proposed decision ordering the procurement targets, will deliver the keynote speech at ENSA on September 11. She will also join a panel with Cliff Rechtschaffen, senior advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown, Jim Avery, executive vice President of power supply at SDG&E, and Mark Rothleder, VP market quality and renewable integration at the CAISO, to discuss the anticipated impact of the proposed new framework.