This is a guest post by Scott Hennessey, Vice President of Policy & Electricity Markets and Regulatory Counsel for SolarCity.
In late March, California Independent System Operator (CAISO) approved its 2015-2016 Transmission Plan, which included gratifying news for consumers as well as distributed generation and energy efficiency providers. Thanks to consumer investments in rooftop solar and energy efficiency, CAISO cancelled 12 transmission projects in Pacific Gas & Electric territory, saving all ratepayers $192 million. In this way, CAISO has validated what many of us have known for years: When private homeowners and companies invest their own money in rooftop solar and energy efficiency, it results in all ratepayers not having to pay for new expensive generation and transmission projects.
Anyone who cares about making energy cleaner, cheaper, and safer should celebrate this story. By averting the need for utilities to build more infrastructure and pass along the cost to ratepayers, private investment in local clean energy and energy efficiency benefits everyone. Everyone who supports or sells distributed generation or energy efficiency resources needs to share this story – and move it to the center of our policy and regulatory discussions.