Energy Storage System (ESS) Certificate Program

The Energy Storage System (ESS) Certificate Program is a new and introductory educational program designed to provide California’s community college and trade school students along with non-renewable energy sector workers a pathway to prosperity in this emerging energy resource and sustainability sector critical in meeting California’s ambitious 2045 zero net energy goals and CHG emissions.

An Energy Storage System Certificate Program to Help Meet California’s ZNE, Community & Workforce Development Goals in a Post COVID Future


An Energy Storage System Certificate Program can help provide a pathway to prosperity for California’s existing and emerging workforce, particularly K12-14 graduates, by providing an introduction to energy storage systems (ESS) that enhance student, educator, and community awareness of how important ESS will be to meet our state’s ambitious 2045 zero net energy goals and sustainability mandates using holistic solutions.


There are multiple intersectional benefits to this program that illuminates the new economic opportunities for the state’s diverse workforce and lower income communities as well as help lower dirty energy use, accelerate decarbonization, provide resilience to our energy costs and make our electrical supply more resilient, sustainable, and equitable in the wake of rapid decarbonation and climate action in a post COVID California.

4 Key Messages/Learning Objectives


Learning Objective 1:


Energy Problem: California’s decarbonization, zero net energy (ZNE) goals, and sustainability mandates and the emergence of DER’s have created the Duck Curve, resulting in large amounts of excess and intermittent electricity generating capacity without knowing if much of it will be available from day to day and week to week. 


Learning Objective 2:


Sustainable Solutions: An overview of energy storage systems (ESS) in California’s commercial and industrial facilities and benefits for the built environment using behind-the-meter technology and micro-grid resources that can lower facility energy use as much as 25% as well as balance the grid, prevent electrical grid fires and rolling blackouts.


Learning Objective 3:


Intersectional Opportunities: Achieving carbon neutrality and widespread energy efficiency across every sector (neighborhoods and city wide) of California’s built environment requires fully utilizing all human capacity and intellectual capital (equity and environmental justice) from all of California’s demographics and throughout all career development education programs (adaptation and resilience).


Learning Objective 4:


Workforce Development: Learning objectives and training for California’s vision for integrating economic and workforce development into major climate policies and programs in order to help achieve California’s major climate goals such as achieving 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and transitioning to a carbon neutral economy by 2045.




Between 2011 and 2017, California’s electricity prices rose five times faster than they did nationally. Today, Californians pay 60 percent more, on average, than the rest of the nation, for residential, commercial, and industrial electricity. Unless we can lower electricity costs for lower income Californians, there will be no equity and environmental justice.


California’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) increases electricity costs in part by requiring the purchase of renewables even when they cannot be relied on to power the grid, requiring undiminished capacity from the combination of natural gas, hydro, and nuclear power. Climate action and rapid decarbonization program led to underutilized and intermittent clean energy capacity known as the Duck Curve.


As new rooftop solar, battery storage, and EV systems evolved, the technology to aggregate their extra energy capacity behind the meter (BTM) and distribute it back to the power grid evolved. It’s called Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) and it offers utilities the opportunity to meet bulk power sector needs by utilizing their smaller customers who have extra energy reserves to transfer back to the electrical distribution grid. These kinds of aggregated power suppliers from a community of buildings demonstrates adaption and resilience.


By using onsite generation such as rooftop solar in combination with battery storage, those services can reduce the network’s overall cost by deferring expensive infrastructure upgrades and by reducing the need to purchase cost-prohibitive peak power from 4 – 9 pm. These kinds of DERs strengthen our energy resource adaptabilities to uncertain capacities.


A distributed energy system, or a virtual power plant, would have 200,000 subsystems, with 200,000 5 kilowatt batteries, that would be the equivalent of one power plant that has a capacity of 1,000 megawatts.


In June 2020, the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) submitted a report titled, “Putting California on the High Road: A Jobs and Climate Action Plan for 2030,” to the Legislature pursuant to Assembly Bill 398 (E. Garcia, Chapter 135, Statutes of 2017). The ESS certificate program can contribute to California Community College’s workforce development in the energy construction and utilities program, and others.


Before the COVID-19 pandemic, California had 537,000 clean energy workers, according to an analysis by the advocacy group Environmental Entrepreneurs. And that number is certain to rise as the state targets 100% climate-friendly electricity and a carbon-neutral economy by mid-century. This program provides the essential info to get started.


Government should partner with industry to fund training programs and make sure teachers have the clean energy knowledge they need ESS students. Instructors at community colleges and apprenticeship programs must be prepared to educate a new generation of workers. State government can help by supporting curriculum upgrades and offering professional development opportunities. Such programs can add value to a healthy post-COVID future and workforce.


Creating an Energy Storage System Certificate Program to help meet California’s ZNE, empower our energy and sustainability communities plus enhancing workforce development measures can help meet these various goals and challenges. The time to implement is now.