Unit Cost Guide released, improving cost certainty and interconnection for distributed generation

The publishing of the Unit Cost Guide is yet another victory following years of efforts by the Clean Coalition to improve Rule 21.

Sahm White

cpucThe Clean Coalition has succeeded in its initiative for all of California’s investor-owned utilities (IOU) to publish a Unit Cost Guide that will help guide distributed generation project applicants through the interconnection process with improved pricing transparency, predictability, and consistency.

For years, the Clean Coalition has generated improvements to the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) Rule 21, which regulates interconnection, operation, and metering requirements for distributed generation in California and serves as the foundation for standards in many other states. Most recently — and with the support of CPUC staff and Commissioner Sandoval — the CPUC adopted important new reforms the Clean Coalition has long sought to reduce risk and uncertainty in the interconnection process.

The forthcoming Unit Cost Guides, due for release in October, contain both component costs and examples of a variety of project sizes, energy sources (generation and storage), and locations deemed relevant to interconnection applicants. Updated on an annual basis, it will require each IOU — including Pacific Gas and Electric, San Diego Gas and Electric, and Southern California Edison — to publish appropriate and useful information distributed generation facilities can use to interconnect to the IOU’s respective distribution system. Specific elements in the Unit Cost Guide include: overhead costs (including new poles and excavation), metering requirements, telemetry, engineering, construction and other labor costs, and all system equipment.

Overall, the Unit Cost Guide is designed to support consistency and inform applicants of typical component and configuration costs when planning projects and assessing their costs, helping to interconnect renewable energy onto the existing distribution grid.

The publishing of the Unit Cost Guide is yet another victory following years of efforts by the Clean Coalition to improve Rule 21. The Clean Coalition will continue to see that the benefits of distributed energy resources are unlocked and help expand California’s transition to clean energy.

Sahm White

Economics and Policy Analysis Director

Sahm has over 20 years of experience in economic and environmental policy, with over 200 filings before public utility and energy commissions. Prior to joining the Clean Coalition, he held positions as a Senior Research Consultant to the Center for Ecoliteracy, Technical and Policy Analyst in the development of the Ecological Footprint, and Associate Director of Progressive Secretary, a leading web source of legislative constituent engagement.