California Adopts Goal to Make More Electricity Available Through Smarter Use


7,000 MW goal could power up to 7 million homes by 2030

SACRAMENTO – The California Energy Commission (CEC) approved a new goal today to make up to 7,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity available through the smarter use of existing clean energy resources. The target represents a doubling of current levels and is enough electricity to power up to 7 million homes by 2030 without new power plants.

Required by Senate Bill 846 (Dodd, 2022), the load shifting or load flexibility goal refers to a suite of efforts that offer incentives to customers to shift their electricity use (or load) to times of the day when it’s cheapest and cleanest. This includes programs like time-of-use rates that price electricity to encourage optimal use, and programs referred to as “demand response” that allow customers to earn money by reducing use on an ongoing basis when demand is high and during emergencies when the grid is strained.

“Smarter electricity use through voluntary programs that help Californians better manage energy use is a critical piece of the state’s clean energy transition plan, and it already pays to participate,” said CEC Vice Chair Siva Gunda, lead commissioner for demand response. “Most importantly, these efforts allow us to tap into our collective electricity resources to avoid running fossil fuel power plants during grid emergencies and protect vulnerable populations nearby.”

The 7,000 MW goal complements the 38,000 MW of new clean electricity resources the state projects to need by 2030. It was developed in consultation with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Independent System Operator (Cal ISO), for a report based on research by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The report also discusses the current landscape of flexible demand in California and details policy recommendations to help achieve the new goal.