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Report: Reinventing Fire in Southern California

The prolonged shut-down of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in Southern California could mark an important turning point for the region’s electricity system. Distributed and demand-side resources offer a portfolio of solutions to help fill the near-term supply gap, while also advancing California’s long-term goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting local economic development and job creation.

Rocky Mountain Institute's discussion paper, "Using Distributed Resources to Address Short-Term Challenges,” assesses the role the following distributed energy resources could play in the absence of SONGS: 

  • Behavioral savings
  • Demand response
  • Energy efficiency
  • Solar photovoltaics (PV)
  • Combined heat and power (CHP) and fuel cells
  • Storage

That paper includes information on what the potentials for these resources are, how their economics affect adoption, how much time it takes to install them, and how long we expect them to persist.

We also offer recommendations to unlock these resources and encourage their adoption by utilities and their customers, which include: 

  • Create a level playing field by pursuing policies that fairly account for the benefit of distributed resources and encourages them to scale up quickly.
  • Investigate applying targeted incentives to encourage deployment of distributed resources in geographical areas where energy is most needed.
  • Hasten permitting and interconnection procedures to fast-track solar resources coming online.

Download the full report

After wrapping up our analysis for Reinventing Fire, we wanted to investigate the opportunities and challenges of pursuing the Reinventing Fire vision for the electricity sector at a regional level.

We chose to look at Southern California because of the progress already being made and the high potential for distributed energy resources. Innovative solutions are still necessary for operating a grid with high penetrations of distributed energy resources and encouraging new business models to emerge.

To generate these innovative solutions, RMI is convening a diverse group of stakeholders through our Electricity Innovation Lab to accelerate the transformation to a more efficient, renewable, and distributed U.S. electricity system.

Contact Us

Email us with questions or feedback at RFSoCal@rmi.org