by Julian Spector
July 15, 2019

Sometimes the greatest clean energy innovations happen in your own backyard.

That’s a wishful statement for most people in this country, but I live in Oakland, California, so it comes true with delightful regularity. Thus, I commuted 10 minutes on a recent Monday morning to see the unveiling of an energy storage project that the industry would do well to emulate elsewhere.

The Oakland Clean Energy Initiative hits several grid edge high notes.

It’s shutting down an urban peaker that burns jet fuel next to bustling residential and commercial areas, replacing it with a battery peaker. It’s also a non-wires alternative, offsetting a much more expensive and invasive wire-based upgrade. Lastly, it’s a proof of concept that California’s local power purchasers, known as community-choice aggregators, could offer considerably more upside for storage deployment than previously thought.

Here are the key lessons from this new project structure that could translate beyond the shores of Oakland’s Jack London Square.