Renewable Electricity Integration: A Review of Policy Developments in Germany and Their Applicability to California

July 2018

With the recent passage of SB 100, California must continue to grow its renewable energy resources in order to achieve carbon-free electricity by 2045.  As California further integrates variable renewable electricity generation resources (VREs), assessment of Germany’s transition to VREs may provide valuable guidance. 

In 2017-18, Grady Mathai-Jackson took a sabbatical from his position as Senior Counsel with Pacific Gas & Electric in order to spend a year as an affiliate with CLEE, and a visiting researcher with the Environmental Policy Research Centre at Freie Universität in Berlin, and to study this transition.  His resulting white paper describes the legal and policy frameworks governing the integration of VREs into the electrical systems and markets in both California and Germany.  It provides quantitative and qualitative assessments of VRE integration in terms of promotion of VRE deployment, cost of integration, and curtailment of VREs.

The paper offers five potential lessons that the German experience may offer to California:

  1. Market design, including removing barriers to strong price signals, is key to incentivizing
    and deploying optimal integration solutions;
  2.  Grid and market expansion are necessary to take advantage of resource diversity;
  3.  The curtailment of renewable energy generators is inevitable, expensive, and ideally
  4. Central market design may be necessary but insufficient. Energy decentralization and
    democratization may be necessary to sustain a transition to higher levels of VREs; and
  5. Regulatory authority and responsibility may be too diffuse in California to enable quick,
    durable, and effective decision-making regarding VRE integration.


Download the White Paper:

Renewable Electricity of Integration: A Review of Policy Developments in Germany and Their Applicability to California

For More Information:

Contact M. Grady Mathai-Jackson, an Affiliate at CLEE and Lecturer at Berkeley Law