RCEA Board Approves Humboldt Redwood Company Agreements

On Monday afternoon the Redwood Coast Energy Authority unanimously approved two separate purchase agreements with Humboldt Redwood Company and directed staff to start the process to procure further biomass energy from DG Fairhaven.

All board members were present except Rio Dell’s representative Tim Marks. About 25 people packed into the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District board room in Eureka to hear the decisions.

RCEA executive director Matthew Marshall walked through the basics of the agreement and provided background on the issue. For the first nine months, covered by the first contract, Humboldt Redwood Company will provide five megawatts at $83 per megawatt per hour. For the 51 months following that, the company will provide 12.5 megawatts of power at the same price. This negotiated price is above the market value for other power sources but Marshall said those cheaper power sources are large-scale products and the goal of RCEA’s community energy program is to provide locals with locally produced power at 3 percent savings compared to Pacific Gas and Electric Company Co. rates.

“There’s basically a price premium,” he said, adding that local energy sources have other benefits such as providing local jobs.

At the request of the board, language was added to both contracts stipulating the board can renegotiate if customers aren’t getting that 3 percent savings, if minimum power requirements are not being met or if customer participation drops too much.

General counsel Nancy Diamond presented the board with a clause added to ensure power producers RCEA contracts with follow environmental and regulatory laws.

“What we attempted to do was not second-guess the different regulatory agencies. I know air is the main issue,” she said, adding other issues such as water may come up too, so the language was written broadly to encompass the rules and laws of all applicable regulatory agencies.

If a regulatory agency finds one of RCEA’s power suppliers aren’t following regulations they can serve the supplier with a “notice to cure,” she said. This would tell the supplier to fix that noncompliance issue within 20 days.

“If it’s not done, basically the contract terminates,” Diamond said.

After unanimous approval of those two contracts the board moved on to discuss procuring power from another biomass plant. The two other biomass plants in Humboldt County, DG Fairhaven in Samoa and Blue Lake Power in Blue Lake, submitted proposals. The board unanimously voted to begin the process to procure power from DG Fairhaven, citing fewer community complaints and a better track record.

“The third location in Blue Lake has, unfortunately, too many skeletons in the closet,” board member Dean Glaser, representing Fortuna, said.

RCEA board meetings are the third Monday of every month at 3:15 p.m., according to the RCEA website.

An RCEA net energy metering workshop is scheduled on Friday morning in Eureka. Three homeowners workshops are also scheduled in the coming months.

“Learn how to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient while taking advantage of available rebates, financing, and tax credits,” the website states.

Access more information at redwoodenergy.org.

RCEA Board Approves Humboldt Redwood Company Agreements, by Hunter Cresswell, Eureka Times-Standard, March 20, 2017.

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