Tanya Peacock:

As soon as we can, we’ll go to this panel of experts, and they’re just going to talk about their technologies, and then we’ll have a discussion.

Tanya Peacock:

So quickly who is Bloom Energy? Bloom Energy is a company that’s been around for about 20 years. Started off as an electrolyzer company, with the technology to provide oxygen and hydrogen for a [inaudible 00:00:28] Mars mission. And then when that mission was canceled, there wasn’t a big market for hydrogen at the time, so the company moved to making fuel cells and solid oxide, high heat fuel cells. Oh, it’s blank? Oh. Okay. There we go. Yeah. That’s [inaudible 00:00:53]. Thank you.

Tanya Peacock:

So Bloom Energy, fast forward from 20 years, focusing on fuel cells that run on natural gas, hydrogen, biogas or a combination, and expanding. Right now, most of the installations are on the West Coast, on the East Coast, a few in Europe, but expanding rapidly throughout the world and the US.

Tanya Peacock:

Bloom’s energy platform is very flexible. As I mentioned earlier, Bloom fuel cells can run on natural gas, biogas, hydrogen, up to 50% hydrogen, methane blend without any changes to the technology. And importantly, Bloom’s fuel cells can be connected directly to biogas sources, such as wastewater treatment plants, landfills, and the biogas doesn’t have to be upgraded to type one quality. Just have to take out the [inaudible 00:01:59] sulfur and can create electricity directly from pretty much raw biogas.

Tanya Peacock:

And the fuel cells can be configured to provide just power directly to … The customers are mainly commercial customers, data centers, hospitals, home depots, et cetera, customers who can’t afford to have the power go out, or they can be configured as a microgrid with either of these capabilities. I think we had some discussion earlier. [inaudible 00:02:31] covered nicely what microgrids are. They can provide power either in front of the meter to provide support to utility distribution and transmission systems, where there are some constraints and need for additional power, or they can be behind the meter and power customers directly and withstand the increasingly extreme weather events that we’ve been seeing.

Tanya Peacock:

So the need for DERs, just a quick summary here. Per the SB 100 report put out by the California Energy Commission, we know that to reach California’s 2045 targets, we’re going to need roughly triple the current electricity capacity. And this, of course, is driven by the conversion to clean energy and growing electricity demand. And to meet that electricity demand, the forecasts in cost that we’ve seen are quite significant.

Tanya Peacock:

Nobody’s shown the duck curve yet, so here it is. And the net load on the duck curve is the difference between forecasted load and expected electricity introduction from variable resources. But the reason I’ve included it here is what we’re seeing on the ground recently is that it’s not just that evening ramp, which is the steep part of the duck curve, were the issues that we’re facing, it’s really the, from forest fires and other transmission extreme weather events, it’s the public safety power shutoffs and other grid disruptions. And that’s really where distributed energy resources, particularly when configured as microgrids, that’s where this technology excels.

Tanya Peacock:

And to date, the policies, as discussed on the earlier panel, so I’m not going to go into the details, the policy fixes that have been proposed or are in discussion now, I think it’s 14 different proceedings when I last counted, aren’t adequately addressing the value that distributed resources bring to the grid. And the result is that customers are increasingly taking their electricity needs into their own hands. Bloom certainly has met with multiple customers who asked just to be separated completely from the grid. They don’t want to deal with the investor owned utilities a lot of times, and are asking for completely separate solutions. And I think as Lorenzo Kristoff mentioned earlier, there’s a societal value to having customers continue to be connected to the grid. And so we need policies to make it worth their while.

Tanya Peacock:

But what we are seeing is that there is this hidden grid that it has been developed. Has been developing particularly since 2020. And most of it is, I think 90% is powered by diesel backup generators. So using data from the Bay Area quality management district in the South Coast, [M3 00:06:00] did a study showing that the diesel generators in these two districts can generate nearly 15% of the entire grid with the associated CO2 and air quality emissions and the associated health impacts. So there’s a real and urgent need to develop policies that can really enable clean distributed resources to meet customer needs, providing energy benefits, and then all the associated non-energy benefits.

Tanya Peacock:

So that is my overview. And I want to introduce the first panelist, who is Allan Schurr from Enchanted Rock. Allan joined the Enchanted Rock team in 2018 and brings go-to-market experience from over 30 years of commercial industrial energy services experience. Sorry. Allan is responsible for market development, corporate and product marketing and utility sales functions. And before being in Enchanted Rock, he was the founding president of Edison Energy, LLC. So I imagine his bio is listed in the program material so I won’t waste time, and I will hand mic over to Allan.

Allan Schurr:

Permission to [inaudible 00:07:32] that stat at the end. 15% of the whole state grid could be supplied by diesel generators. It’s kind of a stunning statement. Why do we put up with that in the state of California? Well, they’re never going to run, right? There’s never going to be a power outage. Never going to be an emergency order that says we need all hands on deck. All electrons are valuable electrons. But the world of resiliency, especially for industrial skin, has persisted in the same way that it has for the last three decades really. Diesel generators [inaudible 00:08:07]. There aren’t conferences on diesel generators because it’s so automatic that if you need backup power, you just order a diesel generator. We can change that, and the technology’s here now.

Allan Schurr:

So forgive me for being just a little bit practical today. I’m going to talk about what works today, and in California, it will work too. But the need for resiliency isn’t just in the California state. It’s happening all over the country. The Texas storms last year, I think woke up a lot of companies that we can’t take for granted the grid anymore, and the gap between what our expectations are and what the grid can deliver to us is only growing. So as Tanya said, companies are taking matters into their own hands. They’re investing in backup generators, and it can be stopped in a way that is much more productive in the state of California.

Allan Schurr:

So let me tell you about it in Enchanted Rock a little bit. It’s a place, it’s a vodka, and it’s also a microgrid development company. I’m with the last one. What we do is provide behind the meter backup power, using a natural gas-based engine instead of a diesel generator. And we provide grid services with that same engine so that we can beat the price of diesel generators. I’m going to give you some numbers in a bit, but we’ve been doing this since 2009. We have customers in hospitals, in data centers, government installations, grocery stores, water treatment plants, just critical infrastructure, as we think about it, in the megawatt scale and larger. So these are big customers that need a lot of power.

Allan Schurr:

The picture in the upper left here is actually a project we just installed a couple weeks ago, a 33 megawatt water pumping plant. The one in the lower left is a college campus. Kind of an unusual configuration in college campuses. I would guess that Sac State probably has a dozen or more diesel generators around the campus all distributed, powering up the local building. This one is backing up an entire campus for 10 megawatts. Those are the kinds of microgrids that can displace a lot of diesel and a lot of costs if they can be put to use during blue sky conditions as it were.

Allan Schurr:

We’ve got a lot of projects under construction. One of them is this 33 megawatt project. And the number of hours of outages that we’ve been able to protect our customers from is now over 10,000 individual hours at those 250 sites. You can do the math. There’s a lot of outage hours that we’ve avoided and a bunch of them were in Winter Storm Uri last year, because the longest customers were out over 100 consecutive hours. Remember that number [inaudible 00:10:39] because when you talk about community resiliency or any resiliency, you have to first start with what are you trying to protect from? What’s the nature of the outages that you’re concerned about? And [inaudible 00:10:50] events started off, some of them as long as five days. They’ve gotten better, but that’s not to say that’s the long term trend.

Allan Schurr:

And then when we talk about resiliency, customers talk about reliability. They want five nines, meaning 99.999% of the time, they want power. They don’t want to plan for outages. They want to avoid outages entirely, and the grid can’t deliver that. So most customers get [inaudible 00:11:15]. They want to make those investments, and that’s what Enchanted Rock is.

Allan Schurr:

But I want to tell you about the journey we got to a much cleaner alternative. When I talk about diesel, it’s because I know a lot about diesel. We have a diesel fleet that we stopped adding to almost 10 years ago, but we started off doing diesel because the flaw with a lot of diesel backup generators at the time, 2009 is when we first started doing that project. All of our projects were diesel. They weren’t maintained properly so they failed when there were storms. Hurricane Sandy was evidence of this, Winter Storm Uri was evidence of this. Sometimes, almost 50% of diesel generators fail. So they’re both dirty and unreliable.

Allan Schurr:

So our business was started to just apply very good management practices to diesel generators. And then we were the innovator and came up with clean diesel with EPA tier four products, and tier two is the standard form of diesel. Tier four is the clean diesel. I’ll give you some stats on that in a second. And then we came to the conclusion that we could no longer build our business relying on the fragile supply chain of diesel. And during storms, you can’t get diesel [inaudible 00:12:21]. So what’s in the tank is what you got. And if you want 100 hours of diesel on site, you’re talking about a lot of fuel storage [inaudible 00:12:29], and that might not even be enough.

Allan Schurr:

So we started developing a natural gas generator that could compete with diesel. To this day, we’re still told it doesn’t exist in the market, but it does. It just required a very different way of thinking, like Buckminister’s quote. You just have to change the model and make the old one obsolete. That’s what we’ve done with taking natural gas, which is about twice the displacement of diesel to get the same [inaudible 00:12:53], and we fit it in the same square footage. We have much cleaner emissions, and those cleaner emissions let us provide great services that makes it cheaper. Again, I’ll give you those numbers in a second.

Allan Schurr:

Our most recent development has been to take an RNG, voluntary renewable natural gas offering into the same generators. So now we can have a zero carbon resiliency option. This is a big state policy in the state of California. Although I like the best source of RNG that I’ve read about lately comes from Kentucky, where urban distilleries are now selling off all of their waste product, and that companies are turning that into renewable natural gas. Methane molecules are being injected into local pipelines. So we’ll contract for that and bring it to the common carrier pipelines. So we’re displacing fossil generation and we can be at zero carbon.

Allan Schurr:

We’ve also developed an even cleaner emissions package for CARB DG in the state of California. It’s the cleanest certification of generator. Having a CARB DG generator means that our emissions, our local emissions, environmental justice concerns here, local emissions are much, much lower than even the inherent cleaner, natural gas. And what we’re doing next is looking at blending in hydrogen, what our generators will do that, and new generator technologies that could be ready when hydrogen’s ready. But the truth of it is trying to be in the resiliency business, you start with diesel as the benchmark. So let me just give you a few numbers. I’m sure these slides will be circulated, so you don’t have to take notes here.

Allan Schurr:

Diesel’s the standard, as I said before. $500 a kilowatt, let’s use that number. $500 a kilowatt. In a larger system, it’s going to be still fairly standard on that kind of number. If you go to tier four, the cost goes up because the emissions controls are a little bit more complicated. You can see the emissions levels there. They don’t make much of a difference yet, except to say that tier four’s about 10 times cleaner than tier two, so significantly better than tier two diesel. The tier two is what most places get except in the Bay Area of California. Tier two is allowed everywhere else.

Allan Schurr:

The carbon intensity score of the fuel, we’ll come back to this later too, +102. It’s only relevant if you look at what other options look like. The space is only 1200 square feet. So for three megawatts, you can fit it in probably three of those tables. That’s all it takes to do three megawatt plant, very compact. And you are limited by the amount of fuel you have on site because in an emergency, everybody’s trying to get fuel at the same time, and it’s very difficult to get [inaudible 00:15:34].

Allan Schurr:

Everyone asks why can’t we do more solar in storage? For industrial applications, the space just isn’t there. There’s too much energy required and not enough space. So that same three megawatts, you need 500,000 square feet of solar and then dial up how many hours you need for an outage, and you can do the math, but round numbers, it’s about a million dollars for three megawatts, just about a million dollars for each hour of outage you want protection [inaudible 00:16:01]. So it’s very expensive. They pay for themselves in other ways, don’t get me wrong, but for resiliency, you’re not going to do a solar and storage project for resiliency [inaudible 00:16:09].

Allan Schurr:

Let me finish up with these thoughts too. You can do better than this. The Janet Brock solution is taking either natural gas and selling grid services or renewable natural gas and selling grid services. In California, we can beat that price of a tier four diesel generator. So it’s available today. It can be done. The technology is going to continue to improve. There are some policy tweaks, but in general, we can, I think, [inaudible 00:16:34] effectively, and we don’t need to have any diesel generators really in the state of California over 200 [inaudible 00:16:50]. Thanks.

Tanya Peacock:

Next, we have Adam Simpson from Mainspring. He co-founded Mainspring and leads product and external affairs and intellectual property as chief product officer.

Adam Simpson:

All right. [inaudible 00:17:00] next round in here. So just dive right in, and I’ll try to be brief here. So California, when you look at the changing landscape, and for us to meet our aggressive climate goals, we’re going to need to massively increase the amount of solar that’s on the grid. The scale is not [inaudible 00:17:31], but we can’t do that in a vacuum. We need policies that also ensure year round reliability, multi-day resiliency, while very importantly, maintaining affordability and mitigating the impacts on disadvantaged communities. And we see that the only way they do this is through policies that promote the advances of clean firming power. What do I mean by clean firming power? I mean dispatchable, zero carbon power that can ramp up and down, support renewables over the course of hours, days, weeks, or even seasons.

Adam Simpson:

And just to hit on the affordability point, so [EDF 00:18:13] last year published a paper looking at the future California grid, highly decarbonized, with and without clean firming power, and the results were astonishing. So without clean firming power, we needed more than two and a half X the amount of solar and wind on the grid, and also 3X the amount of transmission and land usage. This all culminates in nearly doubling the price of electricity without cleaning firming power. So from an affordability and equitability standpoint, it just doesn’t make sense.

Adam Simpson:

Now, clean firming power, it needs to be distributed if we will help [inaudible 00:18:49] resiliency. But resiliency inherently requires local power, whether that’s at a community level or at an individual building level. And there are solutions, like Allan just mentioned that Enchanted Rock also offer today as well as new solutions. And that’s incidentally what my company has developed and brought to market.

Adam Simpson:

And before I dive into our company and our technology, I just want to highlight the scale of the problem. So similar to the [inaudible 00:19:20], this is actual [inaudible 00:19:23] data on a summer day. And you can see here that the low load is shown. That’s the actual [inaudible 00:19:30] load, and what we did was take the solar and the wind data, and 2X the amount that was on in that day. You can see that in the evening hours, we have this huge firming power need. And today, that’s primarily provided by natural gas, but we need to clean up the fuel source to provide that in the future. Now, this is just the summer day, and even show here, you have about 20 gigawatts of firming power. In the winter, when you have lower solar and wind resources, you need the firming power to provide all of the power on the system. Now, this isn’t just an anomalous day. This happens multiple days a year, and sometimes, seven to 10 days in a row. So we need this firming power to last multiple hours and even weeks and days.

Adam Simpson:

And this brings us to our technology, so Mainspring’s linear generator. It’s a new category of power generation technology. Shown here is our first product to market. So it’s a 230 kilowatt generator. Sits in about the size of a parking space. Super easy to install, one fuel connection, one electrical connection. No water required. From the outside, it’s just a gray box. So what’s on the inside is our technology. We call it a linear generator core and it provides ultimate flexibility. So we’re completely fuel flexible. So we can run on natural gas, renewable biogas, 100% hydrogen, green hydrogen, and even 100% green ammonium, which we think is a really, really great energy carrier for hydrogen. Any size, so we’re modular today so we can put many of our units parallelized up. And in the future, we’re going to have a larger megawatt scale product as well. And then any load, so we can ramp up and down, turn off and on, be utilized for whatever purpose the customer needs us, and then anywhere. So we can be permanent anywhere, including the South Coast. Super easy interconnection, and we also have a mobile for temporary power needs.

Adam Simpson:

So where we’re really operating, we’re operating on both sides of the meter, so C&I behind the meter. We have several customers where we’re just doing peak load shaving. We can also do rooftop solar PV firming. We’re also providing prime power for some of our customers, and then for some of our customers, we’re just there providing backup power. But on the grid side, there’s a lot of growth, especially with electrification, EV fleets. There’s a significant need in the market for timely power. A fleet, vehicle fleet, needs EV charging. They need 10 megawatts of load. It’s taking the utilities two to three years to get that load increase. So that’s where we’re coming in and providing that temporary power. Diesel and peaker replacement, T&D avoidance at the grid edge, so at those remote substations, putting power exactly where it’s needed for those adverse events.

Adam Simpson:

So there are technologies available today. Now we just need policies in place to drive clean firming power, particularly dispatchable and distributed. So thank you.

Tanya Peacock:

Thank you, Adam. So next we have Ardi Arian, who leads the Renewable America team in its effort to develop the community solar market or CCAs in California.

Ardi Arian:

Yeah. Hi everyone. Thanks for being here. It’s such a pleasure talking. Thanks Climate Center for setting this up. So on the way up yesterday, I listened to a podcast and I enjoyed a short anecdote that I’d like to share with you. So the idea was if [inaudible 00:23:27] invented a time machine and had the ability to go back, and I would be able to get into my time machine Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the phone system in 1876 and I could have Guglielmo Marconi, who invented the radio in 1895. The third person I would take in the time machine, and that would be Thomas Edison, who invented the phonograph. The first phone and the radio, we see huge changes in their invention, but in our power system, we’re still doing the same thing that Thomas Edison started over 100 years ago.

Ardi Arian:

And that’s where my presentation starts. So we believe in decentralizing the power system. We think that [inaudible 00:24:20] are a great solution for future. So our streamlined process, how we do that. So Renewable America has an end to end strategy. So we basically go through all the process, through assessing land that we believe is suitable for solar vast storage solutions, and we gain site control. We go into full development cycle. We get interconnection, PPA and everything at one place. We are also responsible for construction, and our intention is to do the long term ownership.

Ardi Arian:

So what is important to understand is the comparison that I want to show you on this slide between a standard project size of 10 to 20 megawatts and how long that can take, comparing with a fast track process that would allow us to deploy in a very quick and rapid timeline projects and bring them to operations.

Ardi Arian:

So basically, [inaudible 00:25:24] have a huge potential for the growth in the future, especially here in California. And we have started our business about two years ago, and here, I’d like to show you our project pipeline. So we have already assessed over 1000 parcels. We have talked to many, many hundred of landowners, and we were able to get about 30 projects on the development. And here, you see with the color of the dots, what the state of the project is. So we have already six projects with PPAs, and we keep going to further solicitations and are very excited about the future.

Ardi Arian:

As you can see, we have a really impressive pipeline with 235 megawatts gained and 415 megawatt hours of energy storage. So DER is a potential that we have not even touched on it right now. There is a big opportunity, and solar plus storage benefits are a lot. I guess most of you have heard about it, but I want to bring it up here, that if we are talking about any kind of charging throughout the day from the solar generation, this charge can really meet a lot of benefits. And this is just an example how one day can look like, what kind of benefits it can bring with it.

Ardi Arian:

Here, I want to show the multiple revenue streams of the energy storage. So just looking at the energy market, we have day ahead, we have real time revenue streams, and then the ancillary services. There is the spinning reserve regulation and also a voltage support. And then the last piece that is very important for us in California is the resource adequacy. On top of those, what we call blue sky mode, we would have the ability use an energy storage for planned public safety power shutoffs. So that would mean that the inverters would switch from the anti [inaudible 00:27:45] function to a great firming function. And that would only work of course, with PGNE or SCE or any investor owned utility provider, but community microgrids are possible and we are developing some of them at this particular moment. And also with [inaudible 00:28:04] function, inverters have the ability to react on emergency outages.

Ardi Arian:

So the idea behind DERs is that we think if you combine solar with storage and the focus is to have an optimum size of system so that the interconnection cost cannot become a burden for the development and also to use the electricity behind the substation. So we are very excited about all the things that you’re experiencing at this moment. There are challenges, of course, on the side of CAISO and CQC and their policy. There’s changes hopefully coming up, so we’re very excited also with the support of the Climate Center that they are providing to us. Hopefully, we see those policy changes soon, and yeah. Things are going to turn out be a little bit more easy for us. So here I come to an end. Thank you, and I hope we can have further conversations [inaudible 00:29:15].

Tanya Peacock:

Thank you, Ardi. Our final panelist is Peter Asmus from AutoGrid, and he has 34 years of experience analyzing, forecasting, and writing about cutting edge energy trends. Peter.

Peter Asmus:

Here we go. Glad to be here. It’s my first presentation with AutoGrid. And I’m going to start off my talk with the forecast from my previous company Guidehouse, where I headed up up a microgrided virtual power plant research. I was surprised when I first saw this chart. This is showing EV charging load capacity. It is a global forecast, but you can see, I think I need new glasses, but anyways, you can see that it’s a big market. I think by 10 years, we’re almost up to 180,000 megawatts annually. These are annual capacity additions, and these could be conservative because I saw one estimate, as I say here, one million EVs charging from the grid in California. That’s about 39% of the US’s EV charging capacity. So we obviously have a big market. I saw one estimate for California alone, and 40 gigawatts potential of EV charging capacity. I’m not sure exactly how that [inaudible 00:30:54] on this forecast, but the bottom line is there’s a lot of EV charging [inaudible 00:30:59] capacity and it’s growing rapidly. Before I saw these charts, I had no idea it was that big of a deal.

Peter Asmus:

But I’m now with AutoGrid. So AutoGrid is a digital platform, uses a lot of the buzzwords. It’s a Silicon valley company, so artificial intelligence and all of that stuff, machine learning. But in essence, it has a platform they call Flex, and it can do all these things for EVs. So it can monitor the fleets, be aware of what’s going on in the grid. You can also track the emission reductions that you’re gaining from the use of those EVs. You can optimize the cost. You can generate revenues from those EVs by providing services to the grid, although you need a market that allows you to do that. And then, of course, you can integrate with microgrids. I put in here energy as a service microgrids because one of my previous clients, Schneider Electric, which is a pioneer in the energy as a service microgrid, they’re actually now integrating with AutoGrid. So most of the Schneider Electric microgrids that are now being deployed will be using AutoGrid Flex platform as they try to, if they can sell services back to the grid.

Peter Asmus:

So what can this platform do? So taking a cue from Lorenzo, where I remember the first time I heard about EVs, I saw a chart and it all said, “EGV is the same of one home. This is a problem.” Of course, using the same [inaudible 00:32:37], you can say, “That’s a grid resource. Is that a negative or a positive?” In this case, we’re looking more in fleets. That’s where AutoGrid is starting with, but it’s also about when you charge those EVs, I think the concern was that everyone comes home from work at 5:00 just as the solar is disappearing. Everyone’s charging their EV. That could be a major problem.

Peter Asmus:

But with new technology, like AutoGrid, but there’s many other companies who also can do similar things, you can load chip when you charge. You can also charge up during the day to solve the duck curve as there isn’t enough load on the system to soak up a lot of that solar. So that’s one advantage, is really just showing how what could be viewed as a problem can be solved with a bunch of technologies.

Peter Asmus:

Of course, these batteries can also serve as a grid resource. Here’s an example, right? In the Bay Area, AutoGrid has a partnership with Zūm. I believe that’s how you pronounce it. So it’s going to be 10,000 electric school buses are all going to create a virtual power plant. So those 10,000 school buses are not online now, but the whole idea is what’s great about a bus is that it has a schedule. You know when that bus is charging, you know when that bus is going. Also, these buses have big batteries, and so it’s the ideal test case for how EVs can serve as a great resource.

Peter Asmus:

As you see here, one of the other things about AutoGrid, before I left Guidehouse, my last white paper with AutoGrid was about how they can displace fossil peaker plants, and so this is an example when you get to that scale. Right now in California, we have about 17 gigawatts of fossil fuel peaker plants, but they only generate power 15% of the time. So this one project could shape off at least one gigawatt of those fossil fuel peaker plants, because the VPPs don’t operate that often either. In some ways, that’s why it’s a good match. It’s basically trying to meet peak demand. The other thing about those fossil peakers, because I know we’ve been talking about environmental justice, is that about half of those are located in disadvantaged communities.

Peter Asmus:

I’m just going to breeze through here, but I wanted to … This is just a promotional slide here showing what AutoGrid’s Flex platform can do. You can see microgrids in their solar plus storage. We can also go front of the meter, and there’s a lot of different use cases. I always have to distinguish between the virtual power plant, which I’ve been mainly talking about. Not sure if you all know what a virtual power plant is, but in essence, the whole idea is it falls in what we’ve been hearing about. There’s all these DERs out there, and in the past, the wholesale market used to just ignore it. When I was 30 years ago, utilities literally just ignored solar PV because it was such a small resource, and so it never really impacted wholesale grid. Of course today, that’s a lot different, but the idea of the DPP is that those DER assets can, if aggregated and there are the right market rules in place, provide value to that wholesale market. That’s the DPP.

Peter Asmus:

The DERMS is, which someone said it sounds like a skin disease, but it does stand for a Distributed Energy Source Management System. AutoGrid has the same platform, but DERMS is really looking more at problems on the grid, like there’s a voltage issue on this specific [inaudible 00:36:29], and so we need to intervene at that specific spot in the grid. So what AutoGrid does is can do either. It aggregate and respond to a grid signal and deliver a certain amount of what the grid needs at a specific point in time. And that can come from extra solar EVs, chillers, thermostats, water heater pumps, you name it. As long as it can be sensed and controlled and be integrated in the platform, it becomes an eligible resource.

Peter Asmus:

But I know part of this panel was, the theme was that the technologies are there. Here, we have a lot of interesting trends and I’ve worked with both Allan and Adam on some white papers with Guidehouse, where I think fuel flexibility is really a major trend, but we’ve been hearing a lot about California. I would say that California’s really good in certain aspects, but where we’re failing is how to accommodate DERs. So for example, we mentioned all these EV batteries. Right now, there is not a commercial program for those EVs to actually get paid. There is a program. I always forget these acronyms, what is it? The ELRB? Yeah. ELRP, Emergency Load Reduction Program, which now is, for the first time, paying on an experimental basis to use the batteries in EVs. Basically have to deliver up to 25 kilowatts or more for 30 hours and get paid $2 a kilowatt hour. But what we really need are more commercial tariffs in that regard. So that’s one thing about EVs.

Peter Asmus:

The last thing I’ll say is my coverage really also covers microgrids. I think the growth of EVs and the growth of microgrids go hand in hand because you think about it. If we have this unreliable grid and we’re doing more and more electric vehicles, that means when the grid goes down, how are those EVs going to charge? And what if there’s an emergency? What if those EVs are emergency vehicles? So you’re going to need more microgrids to build resiliency, to supply those EVs and then exchange. Those EVs though can also serve as a great resource to those microgrids. So it’s all connected, as they say. So that’s my presentation. [inaudible 00:38:54].

Tanya Peacock:

Thank you, Peter. So one of the things we wanted to talk about on this panel is we’ve heard that according to the Energy Commission modeling, we’re going to need three times the electricity capacity to meet 2045 goals. And we know that this summer, modeling is showing there’s increasing risk of a capacity shortfall having to [inaudible 00:39:26] looking out to say 24th or 26th, when the Diablo Canyon is supposed to go offline, and the once through cooling power plants are ramping down. So a lot is coming together in the near term.

Tanya Peacock:

So the question is how quickly could DERs, distributed energy resources, the technologies we’ve just heard about, scale up if the needed policy reforms were in place? How quickly could each of your companies scale up? And let’s talk megawatts. How many megawatts could you potentially provide that could be of service to the grid? And that could be in front of the meter or behind the meter.

Allan Schurr:

Is this a bidding process?

Tanya Peacock:

It’s a bidding process, [inaudible 00:40:11]. Do you want to show people what is, not just-

Allan Schurr:

[crosstalk 00:40:16]-

Tanya Peacock:

… what’s actually available, given the right policy signals.

Allan Schurr:

Yes. It’s-

Tanya Peacock:

And I’ll just say notice too. Notice is key to [inaudible 00:40:23] manufacturing. Right.

Allan Schurr:

Yeah. Scale is of course, what all of our companies are trying to achieve because that [inaudible 00:40:30] success, obviously. For our company, we have two different suppliers. We use various standardized technologies, 22 liter blocks that are very commonly used around the world. A lot of other automotive class equipment. We think we could probably deliver in the neighborhood of 200 megawatts, 300 megawatts a year [inaudible 00:40:53] term. If we mobilized all of our [inaudible 00:40:56] over a five month period, it could be a gigawatt, something like that.

Adam Simpson:

We’re in a slightly different phase as a company. We just launched in 2020 with our first product. So we’re in the beginning of our [inaudible 00:41:10] curve, building our manufacturing. But in the five year time frame, we’ll in the hundreds. [inaudible 00:41:17] the more [inaudible 00:41:18] signals we get from market, the faster we can [inaudible 00:41:21].

Ardi Arian:

[inaudible 00:41:21]. Yeah, we have pretty much ambitious goals. We think in the next three to four years, we can give four to 500 gigawatts. The challenge that we’re experiencing, especially the energy storage part that requires the study to move the cluster. The cluster studies are all kind of [inaudible 00:41:46]. So we believe if DERs are understood well in a way that [inaudible 00:41:51] next to load, those CAISO cluster studies might be not necessary for a solar plus storage on a distribution level. And there might be other ways where it’s clear when you are next to load how it can’t basically [inaudible 00:42:08]. And so if that policy change comes in, then we don’t see any reason to not achieve [inaudible 00:42:15].

Peter Asmus:

Well, I think AutoGrid’s in a different position because we are more aggregating other people’s DERs. Our products could be rolled into a virtual power plant. And we’ll say in the white papers I did about fossil peakers, we actually looked at New York and Texas. We looked at how much DER capacity was coming online in those states forecasted in the next 10 years comparing to the fossil peaker plant fleets and their planned retirements. And I think what we said is that the DER capacity could replace all of the peakers in New York, basically by 2024, 2025, and in Texas, which is a little more speculative because some of those peakers are permitted out to 2099. That’s what I found out. That was more like 2030 and 2032.

Peter Asmus:

So I think from a virtual power plant perspective, all of those DER assets then become eligible, whether it’s supply or load generations, but it’s really dependent in California, I would say, the main challenges are the rules. So I was just informed by someone else at AutoGrid this week that the cost of interconnecting to CAISO in California is 10 times the cost of what it costs in PJM, which is the probably most mature demand response control area on the East Coast. So that’s 10 times price differential. And obviously, that’s not going to incentivize people to necessarily integrate and sell [inaudible 00:43:58] market. So we need to reform.

Tanya Peacock:

Thank you. So we’ve been discussing, on this panel, the need for clean firm power. And what that means, as was discussed earlier, is to be able to ramp up and meet demand when, at times, when maybe solar isn’t available, wind isn’t producing, but you have to keep the lights on. And so I discussed earlier this shadow grid, the hidden grid and the diesel generators that aren’t providing any benefits to the grid because there isn’t any sort of DSO or organization to allow them to do that.

Tanya Peacock:

But a lot of the technologies we’re talking about up here do run primarily on natural gas. So there’s fuel flexibility, but right now, the most cost effective and easily available fuel for a lot of this technology is natural gas. So the really important question is what does a decarbonization pathway look like for technologies currently using methane? [inaudible 00:45:12] want to take that one?

Adam Simpson:

Yeah. I think for us and our customers, well, a lot of them are starting with natural gas today. We are fully capable of transitioning to whether it be biogas or direct biogas, hydrogen or ammonia. And so that’s where customers, [inaudible 00:45:30] customers are happy with the savings they’re able to save today, and knowing that clean fuel in the future may be uncertain for the next five years, but around 2030, they’ll be able to transition. So I think just having that flexibility has really helped us with our customers in our market.

Allan Schurr:

I think that the [inaudible 00:45:52] in clean fuels like direct to biogas, also known as renewable natural gas, since it’s using the existing infrastructure, we have ample infrastructure capacity to deliver it at all these locations. And if we’re too expensive on fuels, then we lose to diesel. That’s what happens in reality. So we have to keep the cost affordable. The good news is these contingent assets that might run in California 50 hours a year and support the grid, not very many. Not very price sensitive to RNG because a lot of the revenue payments come from capacity payments, not from the energy [inaudible 00:46:25]. So you could take a higher hit on fuel as long as you have capacity market to sell it to. It’s not the case in every market, but RNG is a beautiful solution in California right now.

Ardi Arian:

Yeah. [inaudible 00:46:41] gas involved, but I think as far as I understood, gas is an important resource in the future. If we want to look at the whole transition into more renewables, the regulation and the grid, they base on it as gas playing a very important role. So I hope that it’s going to be affordable in the future and it’s going to be still available as much as needed. And you see a great combination and there is this big [inaudible 00:47:15] hydrogen, which hopefully, is going to work very much in a good [inaudible 00:47:21] as a long duration [inaudible 00:47:23].

Peter Asmus:

Actually, I didn’t want to comment on that, but I wanted to ask you about the same question of Bloom because you are now, I noticed the last few times I talked to Bloom, are emphasizing [inaudible 00:47:34] the hydrogen element as well. And I believe you can go bidirectional with the [inaudible 00:47:39] or something [crosstalk 00:47:40]-

Tanya Peacock:

Well, not bidirectional yet. So basically, a fuel cell run, one, if you put fuel and oxygen in, you can get electricity out. If you run it the other direction, you put electricity in water in, you can get hydrogen out. So eventually, the goal would be the same. Bloom Energy server, Bloom boxes that you see behind Home Depot or Kaiser or wherever could actually produce electricity or produce hydrogen depending on what’s needed. And so then that brings up the possibility of fueling for say a distribution center or a data center, but particularly, a distribution center. If they’re vehicles coming and going, you could either use that technology to fuel hydrogen vehicles or charge EVs and provide site power. So you could get a definitely a great ecosystem going. Right now, it’s not fully bidirectional. It’s essentially the same technology, but the goal is [inaudible 00:48:44] that.

Tanya Peacock:

I just wanted to comment one more thing on the [inaudible 00:48:52]. Several times, it’s been mentioned that the diesel backup generators don’t run very often so it’s not really that big a concern. The issue is just scale and the size of California and the number of diesel installations. And again, that basically that 15% of the entire grid is at capacity and it’s there. Yes, they’re not running all the time, but the [inaudible 00:49:13] data does show that there are significant air quality detriments.

Tanya Peacock:

So the last key theme I had here, although we should go to audience questions soon next, is what happens if policy makers don’t get out in front of these industry trends? Customers who are coming to these companies up here, Bloom included, and asking for solutions that don’t necessarily include that grid. So what are we seeing, and Lorenzo Kristoff spoke to this a little bit too, what does that future look like if we don’t get the needed policy changes? This isn’t the policy panel per se, but I would also invite you to discuss if there is any key policy changes that would make a big difference in California in particular with your businesses.

Allan Schurr:

[inaudible 00:50:12].

Ardi Arian:

Yeah. I think what you’re [inaudible 00:50:17] the question is what will happen if the policy [crosstalk 00:50:21].

Tanya Peacock:

Right. It’s really what happens if the policy makers don’t get out in front of this?

Ardi Arian:

Good.

Tanya Peacock:

And then I’m going to stop there.

Ardi Arian:

Okay. Yeah. So I think my topic today is the decentralization. So I believe we are really not having power in a way that we can rely on. That’s why all these diesel generators are there, because everyone is trying [inaudible 00:50:44] by themselves or just want to have a solution that they don’t run out of power.

Ardi Arian:

I think I have, just in the last year, heard about couple really … I experienced one event by myself was a birthday party in a restaurant, and they [inaudible 00:51:00] for two, three hours, no power, [inaudible 00:51:03]. It was pretty bad. We were sitting in the restaurant [inaudible 00:51:06]. And I heard about a wedding of friends that at 10:00 PM, they had to send everyone home because the power was going out and it’s pretty bad [inaudible 00:51:16] a wedding party.

Ardi Arian:

I believe that the situation of disruptive power system that is right there will be not resolved. We need decentralization. It’s absolutely necessary, and we need also to understand the value of how much DERs can help there and how much they can really provide electricity for a neighborhood, for a community during an outage. And so I don’t see any other end there. I think it will happen sooner or later.

Allan Schurr:

Maybe I can talk about it this way. If we don’t change policy, we’ll get what we have today, which is we have a lot of customers that are just going to take matters into their own hands. These DERs have different operating characteristics, but they can be a really important asset for the grid operator. The grid operator is trying desperately to keep the lights on every day. And sometimes, it’s very non-intuitive times of the year. It’s not just August, 2020, where the grid could be stressed. It can be a spring day where you have very low, low conditions and really high [inaudible 00:52:29] resource.

Allan Schurr:

And so DERs can start fast. They can, in some cases, run indefinitely. They can provide really good dispatchability at a very reliable rate. In Uri, our fleet there was over 97% reliable during really harsh conditions. The central station plants were on or off, and a lot of them were off. So they can be more reliable assets, but we get what we have today if we don’t make it more attractive for those assets to participate.

Adam Simpson:

Yeah. I would just add too if we don’t have policies that are promoting the need for clean firming resources and in particular the development and build out of zero carbon fuels, I think what’s going to happen is that we’re going to over build, just like what the EDF paper shows, is we’re going to have to over build renewable generation and transmission and that ultimately, manifests in unnecessarily high prices for the rate payers. I think that’s what [inaudible 00:53:27] will start to happen, and people taking power into their own hands.

Peter Asmus:

Yeah. Just to add, and I said this earlier, I think it’s the, from a AutoGrid or a VPP perspective, it’s making it easier to monetize those assets. I know Allan’s company, Enchanted Rock, is [inaudible 00:53:50] out in Texas, I guess, because of the structure of the market, that those microgrids actually generate most of the revenue from grid services. That’s what makes it economically work. I didn’t know this, but I guess there no frequency regulation and maybe correct me if I’m wrong, but there isn’t really a frequency regulation market [inaudible 00:54:12] in California.

Peter Asmus:

So something like EVs might actually, that might be a nice fit to buy and it wouldn’t just be EVs if it makes it [inaudible 00:54:21] of other assets. So I think it comes down to California still a little bit too focused on the big grid type solutions. And not really, we’ve got a lot of DER growth, we’ve got a lot of solar, we’ve got batteries, but we have to really integrate it, like how is all this really going to work together? I’ve [inaudible 00:54:43] a lot of DER solutions. They’re not the only solutions, but it is where the fastest growing assets are happening. They’re in customer homes. They can be leveraged, things like microgrids and virtual power plants. So if you really want to make this work, you really do need to fine tune the rules.

Peter Asmus:

I believe there’s a program. And again, [DERP 00:55:04] I think is the acronym. It’s something about 500 … You have to have at least 500 kilowatts of aggregated, could be a mixture of resources. But what I heard is that, and I don’t know if one single person has taken advantage of that program. And again, don’t quote me on that in part because of the [inaudible 00:55:22] requirements and the cost. So for example, the Stone Edge Farm microgrid, which is nearby here in Sonoma, they overproduce so much renewable energy they have eight kinds of batteries in that microgrid, but they figured it was so expensive to try to sell that extra renewable. So instead, they converted it to hydrogen for the vehicles on site. That’s not a bad outcome, but the thing is is they originally thought about what could we do with this excess renewables and they found that it’s uneconomic to try to sell it back to the wholesale market [inaudible 00:55:54].

Tanya Peacock:

So we have a whole lot of good questions here and we’re running out of time. So the questions we don’t get to, I would invite the asker to come up and ask the panels directly, but quickly, are there any good studies that show the total capacity of the grid that’s needed to charge EVs by 2035? [inaudible 00:56:15] a good study?

Adam Simpson:

Yeah. I could provide a reference that EDF paper, but they are looking at the California grid [inaudible 00:56:26] with all the plant capacity and programs for EV charging.

Tanya Peacock:

Thank you. So this is for Allan, Adam, Tanya, how do you see your solution for power from gas as resource adequacy requirement to meet PRM planning reserve margin in CAISO market or any other ISO market?

Allan Schurr:

[inaudible 00:56:52]. So the utility [inaudible 00:56:57] programs today we can do right behind the meter, very easy to interconnect. Trying to get all of our capacity monetized though requires mobility studies and a much longer interconnect process so we’re straining in capacity. But it does work today. It does support PRP targets. It’s just that kind of a discounted [inaudible 00:57:17].

Adam Simpson:

Yeah. And for us, we’re just looking into that as our fleet grows. But yeah, there are opportunities particularly for our projects where we’re only running during peak hours for the customer. Then those other hours, we can participate in some wholesale markets in California.

Tanya Peacock:

So I can say the same goes for Bloom. And then we’ve also looked at the opportunity to, and so if you’re taking permanent load off the grid and you figure out, you basically you can monetize that as a product and bid that into wholesale markets. So I think there are a lot of different ways to participate in the wholesale market [inaudible 00:57:58] advocacy. And it sounds like all of our companies are looking into how we make that cost effective because it’s for customers. Customers buy the technology, so it has to work for the customers to be able to do that. [inaudible 00:58:14]. Go ahead. Let’s see. Was that a yes or a no? [crosstalk 00:58:21]. Besides, we’re asking questions. So if you have a question, we can answer you. [inaudible 00:58:26] come up. Thank you very much.