California is facing extreme climate impacts including drought, wildfire, and record-breaking heat events.

This unprecedented climate emergency threatens the state’s energy supply and limits its ability to import additional energy to meet summer electricity demand.

At the same time, immediate action is needed to accelerate the state’s transition to clean electricity to help end the cycle where energy contributes to the very climate impacts that threaten the state’s electrical supply. As Governor Newsom states in his emergency proclamation addressing the state’s reliability challenges; “California faces an additional projected energy supply shortage of up to 3,500 megawatts during the afternoon-evening “net-peak” period of high power demand on days when there are extreme weather conditions.”

In response to the Governor’s Emergency Proclamation, the California Energy Commission’s Siting, Transmission and Environmental Protection Division implemented a Temporary and Emergency Generation Program to accelerate the state’s transition to clean electricity by streamlining permitting and other processes to help bring new resources on-line as fast as possible this summer, particularly battery storage projects.

The Temporary and Emergency Generation Program also suspends certain permitting requirements to allow greater energy production and to create incentives encouraging large energy users to move to back-up power generation to free up energy capacity on the grid when extreme heat events or power interruptions threaten energy supplies this summer. The contingency program will remain effect through October 31, 2021.

The proclamation suspends Title 20, section 1769 of the California Code of Regulations. An Order scheduled for the August 17 Business Meeting, if approved, would provide an alternative process for facility change requests. The Order specifies the information the petition shall contain, including a detailed description of how the facility change will contribute to reducing the energy shortfall by October 31, 2021. In addition, the authority to approve such petitions is delegated to the Executive Director. The Executive Director’s decision must be made within 10 working days of receiving a complete petition and is final and not subject to appeal.

The proclamation expands CEC’s authority under the Public Resources Code to provide the CEC authority to establish an expedited process for approving licenses for temporary power generators of 10 MW or more that the CEC determines will deliver net peak energy before October 31, 2021. The temporary power generators must meet certain criteria set forth in the proclamation and specified in the draft Order (scheduled for approval at the August 17 Business Meeting). Within 3 days of approval of the Order, the Executive Director or designee must develop a self-certification template for license applicants. Within 10 days of receiving an applicant’s completed self-certification template along with appropriate documentation, the Executive Director shall file a decision on the self-certification granting or denying the license. The decision is final and not subject to appeal. Licenses are valid for up to 5 years.

The proclamation expands CEC’s authority under the Public Resources Code to provide the CEC authority to establish an expedited process for approving licenses for new or expanded battery storage systems of 20 MW or more that the CEC determines are capable of discharging for at least two hours and will deliver net peak energy by October 31, 2022. The CEC is required to implement this provision in consultation with local jurisdictions and state agencies.

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