2015 Resource Adequacy Proceeding
Phase 1: Annual Refinements to
the Resource Adequacy Program


Each year, the CPUC makes refinements to improve the Resource Adequacy program and to adjust to a changing electric grid. The CPUC adopts new capacity requirements for the following year and reviews the Resource Adequacy program to ensure that it continues to meet its goals to support reliability for California’s electric needs. Capacity is the maximum electric output a generator can produce. 

On January 6, 2015, the CPUC issued a Scoping Memo ordering Phase 1 to examine 2016 Resource Adequacy needs:   

  • Local Capacity:  Needs for locally constrained areas, where transmission is limited in providing power to regions such as the L.A. Basin, San Diego, and the San Francisco Bay Area. 
  • Flexible Capacity:  Needs to balance the electric grid resulting      from the intermittency of wind and solar resources. 
  • Effective Load Carrying Capacity:  New modeling being developed by CPUC staff to more accurately determine the capacity benefit provided by wind and solar resources in order to increase grid reliability.  
  • Proposed  Refinements:  Workshop discussions of more than a dozen proposals to modify the Resource Adequacy program, submitted by various stakeholders.  

Each year, the CAISO issues its studies on Local and Flexible Capacity Requirements for the purpose of determining the capacity levels necessary for grid reliability. 

On January 6, 2015, the CPUC issued its Energy Staff Proposals recommending:  

  • Development of new capacity calculations to differentiate between solar thermal and solar photovoltaic technologies.
  • Modification of the current calculation methodologies that account for resource outages.
  • Use of standard planning assumptions for transmission line losses. 

The CPUC held a workshop on February 9, 2015, to obtain stakeholder input to modify the Resource Adequacy program. 

The CPUC expects to issue a Decision by June 2015 on 2016 program modifications.


ORA Position 

ORA advocates for customer benefits by achieving electricity reliability on a least cost basis and facilitating the evolution of an electric grid that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. ORA asserts that the Resource Adequacy program will work best when all resources are allowed to participate in the Resource Adequacy market to reduce capacity costs for consumers. Additionally, the CPUC should work diligently to create ways for non-polluting resources to contribute to system reliability so that California can prepare for a future electricity grid with lower greenhouse gas emissions.
ORA works with other stakeholder and analyzes data in the CAISO’s annual capacity study processes. ORA’s objective in this process is to  maintain electricity reliability in the most cost-effective manner.

ORA supports changes to the Resource Adequacy program that more: 

  • Fully calculate the contributions of Energy Storage to receive full benefit from these resources.
  • Fairly allocate Flexible Capacity requirements based on contribution to need.  

There may be potential merit in proposals to coordinate resource standards to qualify for different types of capacity and to relax Resource Adequacy restrictions against resources that cannot operate for four continuous hours. However, these proposals require more research and stakeholder input to fully analyze their impacts prior to adoption. 


See ORA’s January 30, 2015 Comments CPUC Staff Proposal.  

See ORA’s February 27, 2015 Comments on the CPUC Workshop.

Proceeding Docket

See the Proceeding docket.


Other Resources

CPUC Webpage on Resource Adequacy Modeling