As climate-related disruptions grow more frequent and severe, we need effective local strategies to achieve decarbonization, resilience, social equity and security. One common basis for achieving these goals is to create local electric systems — carbon-free, safe, resilient and accessible to all — in every community throughout California.
Advanced Community Energy (ACE) is an initiative to establish, through legislation, a program to provide funding, technical expertise, best practices and local capacity building for all cities and counties to plan and implement local ACE systems, starting with community microgrids.
ACE planning will involve collaboration between local government agencies, local residents and stakeholders, especially vulnerable households and disadvantaged neighborhoods, electric distribution utilities, and clean energy developers and technology companies.
ACE plans will be designed to address three inter-related objectives: (1) address local priorities and needs, such as maintaining electric service when utility service is unavailable, or creating local jobs and economic benefits, or retrofitting buildings for efficiency and decarbonization, or enhancing local mobility services; (2) supporting statewide goals for decarbonization, social and environmental equity and resilience, and (3) improving the operation and reducing the costs of California’s power grid by flattening net load profiles at the circuit level, offsetting the need for grid infrastructure investment, and providing grid services to both the distribution system and the wholesale power market.
Wildfires and other disruptive events always have local impacts, so resilience strategies must be locally based. Greenhouse gas emissions are driven by local patterns of fossil-fuel use, which cities and counties can address through housing densification, transit-oriented development, land use and zoning, building codes and carbon-free mobility services. At the same time, not all cities and counties in California have the resources and expertise to develop high-quality ACE plans without substantial state support. We need legislation to reach and empower all cities and counties in California in a “bottom-up-meets-top-down” strategy for achieving decarbonization, equity and resilience goals.
If you would like to discuss this initiative with members of the ACE team please contact Kurt Johnson (see contact information below). If you would like to be added to our mailing list to receive future updates, click here.