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California Must Add 1.3 Gigawatts of Power Storage by 2020

California regulators today voted unanimously to require the state’s utilities to purchase 1.325 gigawatts of storage capacity by 2020 to make renewable energy more reliable and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

The state’s three biggest utilities must present plan for buying an initial 200 megawatts of storage capacity by March 1, the California Public Utilities Commission said today in an e-mailed statement.

California is the biggest solar market with 1.86 gigawatts of installed capacity, according to the California Solar Initiative, and is seeking ways to store power produced from sunlight and other intermittent sources. Requiring utilities owned by PG&E Corp., Edison International and Sempra Energy to procure energy-storage capacity will improve the reliability of the grid, facilitate the integration of renewable power sources and curb carbon emissions, according to regulators.

“Storage is a game changer that can help people manage their energy use and expand the capacity of renewable resources,” Commissioner Catherine Sandoval said in the statement.

State regulators will need to approve storage-purchase agreements for utilities to reach the 1.325 gigawatt goal.

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