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March 01, 2010

California Braces for a Cleaner and Greener Future



When it comes to taking initiatives toward reducing the state’s carbon footprints, the State of California has always played pioneering role. The introduction of a new legislation keeps to this tradition. With an aim to help California become a leader in the green energy storage, Attorney General Jerry Brown and Assembly member Nancy Skinner introduced AB 2514.  
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The new legislation is designed to put the state in the path of greener and cleaner energy usage and storage with the setting up of a smarter, cleaner electric grid. This will help increase the use of renewable energy. By cutting back on the costs of new power plants and transmission lines, the new legislation is designed to help consumers save significantly on their energy costs. Moreover, with the creation of thousands of permanent new green-collar jobs, this transformative legislation is going to give a significant boost to the job market as well.
 
AB 2514 is going to pave the way for a booming “green” industry and what will follow next is a significant economic development opportunity for California. It will also help reduce the gap between the United States and other nations in investments and deployments of energy storage.
 
The Bill is going to make incorporation of energy storage capacity – 2.25 percent of daytime peak demand for power by 2014 and 5% of peak demand by 2020, mandatory for the utilities. With this, electricity costs will come down significantly for the consumers.
 
California is one of the largest consumers of electricity and currently, the state uses fossil fuel-burning backup power plants, as well as coal-fired power imported from other states, to help meet its huge demand for daytime peak power. Besides being expensive and inefficient, it significantly affects the air-quality of the state.
 
But with the bill being translated into a law, the state will be able make greater use of cleaner and less costly alternatives and reserve the use of fossil fuel based powers only for the day time peak-hour demands. This will ultimately enable California to reduce pollution from greenhouse gases and smog-forming nitrogen oxides.
 
“Energy storage is the future – it’s a fast-growing clean technology industry that will save the state money and reduce pollution,” said Attorney General Jerry Brown, the bill’s sponsor. “What’s even better is that this new technology could create 8,500 new jobs in California during the next decade,” he added.
 
“We applaud Assembly member Skinner and Attorney General Brown’s leadership in introducing this essential legislation. This bill will put California at the forefront of a growing global market that will spur economic development.   Given major advances in energy storage, the industry is now ready to provide high-technology, affordable, reliable products for California’s utilities and consumers,” Janice Lin, director of the California Energy Storage Alliance, explained.
 
The decades old energy storage technologies cover a wide range of sizes, power capacity, and discharge durations, and include mechanical, chemical and thermal processes for storing energy for use at a later time. With the celebrated bill signed into a law, California will get energy storage, which is cost-effective and commercially ready.  This is a going to play a key role in the emergence of newly emerging smart grid based on renewable and distributed power sources that will transform California’s electricity grid forever. The state will enjoy a modern, clean, sophisticated network in the upcoming days.
 
The recent bill has significantly attracted investors’ attention to the areas of energy storage. Federal stimulus funding is also under way. The recently announced projects in this area represent nearly 1,000 megawatts of new capacity. All these are going to more than double the current installed capacity of energy storage.

Madhubanti Rudra is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison
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