Distribution Resources Plans: Track 2 - Demonstration and Pilot Projects

Background

The Distributed Resources Plan (DRP) proceeding consists of three tracks. Track 1 focuses on developing the methodologies for the Integrated Capacity Analysis (ICA) and Locational Net Benefit Analysis (LNBA) and Track 3 addresses policy issues that have been raised in comments on application and in the course of the rulemaking proceeding.

 

Track 2 of the proceeding focuses on the design and authorization for Demonstration Projects C, D, and E. Demonstration Project C requires investor owned utilities (IOUs) to demonstrate their Distributed Energy Resources (DER) locational benefits modeling is consistent with LNBA. Demonstration Project D requires utilities to integrate high penetrations of DERs into their distribution planning operations using ICA and LNBA while relying on both third-party owned and utility owned resources. Demonstration Project E requires utilities to demonstrate a microgrid where DERs (customer owned and utility owned) serve a significant portion of customer load and provide reliability services.

 

ORA Position

ORA supports the state's goals to move the utilities to fully integrate DERs into utility distribution system planning, operations, and investment in order to leverage customer investments in DERs and optimize ratepayers' investment in smart grid technologies and to help achieve the state’s climate change goals and grid management benefits.

 
ORA successfully advocated for cost caps to be placed on Track 2 Demonstration Projects in order to protect ratepayers from excessive costs.

  

Track 2 Workshops

On June 28, 2016 the Commission held a workshop to discuss the merits of the utilities’ proposed DRP Project C (Demonstration of DER Locational Benefits), Project D (Demonstration of Distribution Operations at High Penetration of DERs), and Project E (Demonstration of DER Dispatch to Meet Reliability Needs) and alternate project proposals.

Workshop details can be found on the CPUC’s website.

CPUC Rulings On Track 2 Demonstration Projects

On May 17, 2016, the CPUC issued a Ruling setting the process and schedule for addressing Track 2 issues, setting filing requirements for project proposals, requesting revised Track 2 Demonstration Projects, and requesting Comments and Reply Comments.

On July 12, 2016, the CPUC issued a Ruling requesting additional detail in parties’ comments on Track 2 Demonstration Projects.


By email, on August 1, 2016, the Assigned Administrative Law Judge granted ORA’s request for evidentiary hearings on Track 2 Demonstration Project proposals. Evidentiary hearings were held on August 10 and 11, 2016.

  

CPUC Decisions On Track 2 Demonstration Projects

On January 10, 2017, the CPUC issued a Proposed Decision on the Track 2 Demonstration Projects. ORA generally supported the Proposed Decision and recommended that the IOUs be required to file applications for approval of procurement contracts or modifications to the adopted cost cap.


The CPUC voted out a Track 2 Decision (Decision 17-02-007) on February 9, 2017. The Decision adopted ORA’s recommendation that the utility leverage existing Research Development & Demonstration (RD&D) projects to minimize project costs and accelerate learning about the impact DERs have on the distribution system. The Decision rejected several Demonstration Projects and required projects to be re-filed, based in part on insufficient information from the IOUs and poorly designed projects which were identified by ORA in its previous comments on the Demonstration Projects. The Decision required the IOUs to re-file their rejected projects in comments and provided an opportunity or parties to respond to the re-filed projects in reply comments.

  • See ORA’s reply comments on Pacific Gas and Electric Company's (PG&E’s) Request for Approval of New Track 2 Demonstration Project C.
  • See ORA’s reply comments on San Diego Gas & Electric Company's (SDG&E’s) Request for Approval of New Track 2 Demonstration Project C.

The CPUC voted out Decision (Decision 17-06-012) on June 19, 2017. The Decision approves PG&E’s and SDG&E’s revised Track 2 Demonstration Project C, and Southern California Edison’s revised Track 2 Demonstration Project E.

CPUC Proceeding Docket

See the Proceeding docket.

Visit the docket to subscribe to proceeding updates.

Other Resources

ORA DRP Track 1 Webpage
ORA DRP Track 3 Webpage