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Comments on California PUC Order Instituting Rulemaking to Create a Consistent Regulatory Framework for the Guidance, Planning, and Evaluation of Integrated DERs

California has long been a trendsetter in clean energy policy, and our input helped inform the state’s approach for evaluating distributed energy resources (DERs), such as rooftop solar installations. The state’s new approach, which will quantify the environmental benefits of DERs, could help influence other policies around the country, boosting the growth of clean energy sources. Our comments to the California Public Utilities Commission were heavily cited in a March 2018 administrative law judge ruling, which, if adopted by the Commission, would require utilities to conduct a societal cost test to determine the cost-effectiveness of DERs. Having been “persuaded by the arguments of the Institute for Policy Integrity,” the ruling will require utilities to calculate the climate benefits of DERs by using the Social Cost of Carbon estimate developed by the Interagency Working Group. As we suggested further, California utilities will also quantify the air quality impacts of DERs. As a result of this soon-to-be-finalized decision, California will be able to create incentives encouraging DER installations that have the greatest benefit to the public.