CPX Legislative Update – January 9, 2020

Welcome to the 2020 legislative session! The Legislature reconvened on Monday, January 6. And away we go! See Utility Dive’s January 8 article predicting a “Wild West” of bills targeting PG&E as a result of their many troubles. Below are some key bills we are tracking. So far it is mostly bills that were held over from the 2019 session. We will be adding new bill numbers as the 2020 session progresses. Please let us know what energy or climate legislation your representative is cooking up! Send us an email to info[at]cleanpowerexchange.org.

AB 56 (Garcia) OPPOSE – This bill will empower the CPUC to order energy procurement based on real or perceived shortcomings in the Integrated Resource Plans submitted by Investor Owned Utilities, Direct Access providers, and CCAs. The bill will allow the CPUC to require procurement on any perceived deficiency that may be 10 to 12 years out in the future. This makes no sense, given that so much lead time would allow a CCA to address any potential problem. Read the Center’s July 2019 Letter of Opposition. STATUS: No committee assignment and no hearing date set.

AB 235 (Mayes) – Now dubbed the “Catastrophic Wildfire Liability Recovery Act,” this bill will allow PG&E to issue bonds to cover 2017, 2018 wildfire liabilities that ratepayers could ultimately have to pay for, and allows the CPUC to arbitrarily set a limit on the amount a transmission & distribution utility must pay as a result of catastrophic wildfire that may have been the result of their infrastructure. It is essentially a defense of status quo corporate utility dominance. STATUS: In the Senate Energy Committee. No hearing scheduled.

AB 1839 (Bonta) – The “Green New Deal” bill. Introduced on January 6, this bill would create the California Green New Deal Council with a specified membership appointed by the Governor. The bill would require the California Green New Deal Council to submit a specified report to the Legislature no later than January 1, 2022. STATUS: No committee staff bill analysis is available, the bill has not been scheduled for a hearing, and we have yet to take a position.

AB 1847 (Levine) – This bill would authorize the CPUC (contingent on the Commission finding that an electrical corporation is not complying with State law, rules, or regulations) to appoint a public administrator to the electrical corporation for a period not to exceed 180 days. The bill would vest the public administrator with oversight authority over the electrical corporation’s activities that impact public safety. See the bill author’s factsheet. STATUS: No committee assignment or hearing as of the date of this update.

SB 246 (Wieckowski) – Read our Support Letter. – This bill, if enacted as written, will impose an oil and gas severance tax on the privilege of extracting oil or fossil gas from the earth or water in California upon any operator engaged in such extraction. Read the bill author’s factsheet. STATUS: Scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on January 15, 2020.

SB 350 (Hertzberg) OPPOSE – This bill would “authorize the CPUC to consider a multiyear centralized resource adequacy mechanism,” meaning, a central buyer, which would encroach on CCA statutory authority on procurement autonomy. This bill was a tandem bill with AB 56. STATUS: In Senate Energy Committee with no hearing scheduled.

SB 378 (Wiener): Would establish ratepayer protections related to Public Safety Power Shutoff incidents. STATUS: Scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Energy Committee on January 15.

SB 386 (Caballero) – Read our Letter of Opposition. This bill would allow Turlock, Modesto, and Merced Irrigation Districts to count their large hydro assets (dams) toward their Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) obligations. This would significantly impact progress with new renewables. These Irrigation Districts will already be able to count their dams as carbon-free pursuant to state policy on decarbonization and mechanisms are in place to protect low-income communities from any cost burdens. STATUS: Scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Energy Committee on January 15, 2020.

SB 702 (Hill) – This bill would amend section 399.13 of the Public Utilities Code to authorize a retail seller of electricity to rely on contracts of 10 years or more in duration or ownership agreements entered into directly by its end-use customer for eligible renewable energy resources located on the customer side of the meter to satisfy the portion of the 65% requirement attributable to the retail sales of that end-use customer. STATUS: Scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Energy Committee on January 15.

SB-772 (Bradford) – OPPOSE – This bill relates to procurement of long duration bulk energy storage. Would require CAISO to procure 2,000MW of long-duration energy storage projects by 2022. Concerns center on forcing the hand of CCA procurement. STATUS: In the Senate committee process with no committee assignment and no hearing date.

SB 774 (Stern) – SB 774 would require IOUs to collaborate with the State’s Office of Emergency of Services and others to identify where back-up electricity sources may provide increased electrical distribution grid resiliency and would allow the IOUs to file applications with the CPUC to invest in, and deploy, microgrids to increase resiliency. Concerns focus on too much control being placed in the hands of the IOUs over microgrid development when other LSEs and stakeholders can and should play a role. STATUS: In the Assembly committee process with no committee assignment and no hearing date.

SB-801 (Glazer, McGuire) Electrical corporations: wildfire mitigation plans: deenergization: public safety protocol. This bill would require an electrical corporation to deploy backup electrical resources or provide financial assistance for backup electrical resources to a customer receiving a medical baseline allowance if the customer meets those conditions.

For a complete list of bills we are tracking, click HERE. We do expect many more bills relating to Community Choice, electricity system resilience, microgrids, the climate crisis, and other related issues to emerge. So expect a lively 2020 session. our next update will be published on January 23.

Microgrids could cost 10% of undergrounding PG&E’s wires

One proposed solution to reducing wildfire risk is for PG&E to put its grid underground. There are a number of problems with undergrounding including increased maintenance costs, seismic and flooding risks, and problems with excessive heat (including exploding underground vaults). But ignoring those issues, the costs could be exorbitant-greater than anyone has really considered. An alternative is shifting rural service to microgrids. A high-level estimate shows that using microgrids instead could cost less than 10% of undergrounding the lines in regions at risk. The CPUC is considering a policy shift to promote this type of solution and has new rulemaking on promoting microgrids.

We can put this in context by estimating costs from PG&E’s data provided in its 2020 General Rate Case, and comparing that to its total revenue requirements. That will give us an estimate of the rate increase needed to fund this effort.

PG&E has about 107,000 miles of distribution voltage wires and 18,500 in transmission lines. PG&E listed 25,000 miles of distribution lines being in wildfire risk zones. The the risk is proportionate for transmission this is another 4,300 miles. PG&E has estimated that it would cost $3 million per mile to underground (and ignoring the higher maintenance and replacement costs). And undergrounding transmission can cost as much as $80 million per mile. Using estimates provided to the CAISO and picking the midpoint cost adder of four to ten times for undergrounding, we can estimate $25 million per mile for transmission is reasonable. Based on these estimates it would cost $75 billion to underground distribution and $108 billion for transmission, for a total cost of $183 billion. Using PG&E’s current cost of capital, that translates into annual revenue requirement of $9.1 billion.

PG&E’s overall annual revenue requirement are currently about $14 billion and PG&E has asked for increases that could add another $3 billion. Adding $9.1 billion would add two-thirds (~67%) to PG&E’s overall rates that include both distribution and generation. It would double distribution rates.

This begs two questions:

  1. Is this worth doing to protect properties in the affected urban-wildlands interface (UWI)?
  2. Is there a less expensive option that can achieve the same objective?

On the first question, if we look the assessed property value in the 15 counties most likely to be at risk (which includes substantial amounts of land outside the UWI), the total assessed value is $462 billion. In other words, we would be spending 16% of the value of the property being protected. The annual revenue required would increase property taxed by over 250%, going from 0.77% to 2.0%.

Which turns us to the second question. If we assume that the load share is proportionate to the share of lines at risk, PG&E serves about 18,500 GWh in those areas. The equivalent cost per unit for undergrounding would be $480 per MWh.

The average cost for a microgrid in California based on a 2018 CEC study is $3.5 million per megawatt. That translates to $60 per MWh for a typical load factor. In other words a microgrid could cost one-eighth of undergrounding. The total equivalent cost compared to the undergrounding scenario would be $13 billion. This translates to an 8% increase in PG&E rates.

To what extent should we pursue undergrounding lines versus shifting to microgrid alternatives in the UWI areas? Should we encourage energy independence for these customers if they are on microgrids? How should we share these costs–should locals pay or should they be spread over the entire customer base? Who should own these microgrids: PG&E or CCAs or a local government?

 

Community Choice Providing a Sustainable Energy Future

In 2015 United Nations adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These goals were created and implemented for countries to make mass impact on the global scale by 2030. The goals range from sustainable communities to peace and justice. One particular goal that California has narrowed its focus on is “Affordable and Clean Energy.” Though the goals are established for countries, change has to start somewhere, usually on a smaller scale. Shifting this global idea down to the local level is the best place to start. With California’s current energy mix becoming more and more renewable as time goes on, Community Choice Agencies (CCAs), have been taking the leadership and initiative to help bring clean energy to the local level.

The big investor own utilities have been adding renewable energy to their portfolio and have also had beneficial public programs such as electric vehicle rebates and promoting residential energy efficiency. However, CCAs have been overall more aggressive with their clean energy goals. For many CCAs, greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions is a focal point in their formation and existence. Many of the CCAs feature their GHG reductions prominently on their websites.

MCE, California’s first CCA, has made tons of progress the GHG reductions.

California’s CCAs have hit major milestones this year: 3,000-megawatts for new long-term clean energy contracts, millions in dollars in funding for electric vehicle programming, and the expansion of multiple CCAs into new territories. All of these milestones are helping push California into reaching its greenhouse gas reduction goals. Less car pollution, more clean energy on the grid, and ultimately, choice in our energy provider.

In a time where clean energy and climate action becomes increasingly important by the day, it is important that our utilities, states, and communities adopt stringent clean energy policies that help curb the use of fossil fuels and that help advance clean energy technology. With many of the states CCAs providing programming that focuses on electrification of transportation, residential energy efficiency, and community building, a more sustainable future is underway.

While CCAs work directly to achieve the Affordable and Clean Energy goal, they also contribute to many other goals such as: Sustainable Cities and Communities, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Good Health and Well-being, and Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure.  With 2030 fast approaching, it is safe to say that expansion of CCA in California will help make the sustainable future outlined by the Sustainable Development Goals a reality within the next decade.

 

CPX Regulatory Update – December 12, 2019

Below is a numbered list of the regulatory proceedings we are tracking, followed by a summary of new developments for each of the proceedings, if any. Note that these are intended as very brief highlights of selected key actions and activities. For details on any of these proceedings, we suggest logging in to the relevant proceeding page on the CPUC’s website. An expedient way to do that is to click on the proceeding number below or visit http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/documents/

Brief Notes: The next CPUC voting meeting is on schedule for December 19 at CPUC headquarters. See AGENDA. For the livestream, click HERE.
We continue to monitor wildfire and PG&E bankruptcy-related proceedings but no longer report on those items on a regular basis. We will report occasionally on any significant developments.

Regulatory Proceedings we are monitoring:

1. SB 1339 Microgrid Rulemaking R.19-09-009
2. PG&E Safety Culture Investigation 15-08-019
3. Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) 17-06-026
4. Resource Adequacy (RA) 17-09-020
5. Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) R.12-11-005
6. SB 790 IOU Code of Conduct 12-02-009
7. Integrated Resource Plans (IRP) 16-02-007
8. Distribution Resource Plans (DRP) 14-08-013
9. Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) 18-07-003
10. Integrated Distributed Energy Resources 4-10-003
11. Direct Access 19-03-009
12. NEM Successor Tariff 14-07-002

Closed proceedings that matter:

– CCA Rulemaking 03-10-003
– CCA Bond and Re-Entry Fees 18-05-022

~ ~ ~

1. Microgrids (SB 1339) – R.19-09-009

The Climate Center is a Party to this proceeding. Read our October 21, 2019 Opening Comments HERE.

Recent Developments:

Order Instituting Rulemaking (Issued 9/19/19).
Major Issues:

  • Role of CCAs in microgrid development
  • Microgrid operation, value, and technical challenges
  • Microgrid regulation and service standards
  • How microgrids can improve the grid and further policy goals.

Key Documents:

Next Steps:

  • December 12 – Workshop
  • December 17 – Prehearing Conference

Background: Sponsored by Sen. Henry Stern in 2019, SB 1339 was born out of concern that California needs microgrids, but their development is hobbled. The law and rulemaking are intended to boost microgrid development and streamline project interconnections.

 

2. PG&E Safety Culture Investigation 15-08-019

Recent developments:

  • PG&E’s 4th Quarterly Report
  • Notice of re-assignment to President Mary Batjer
  • Comments from CC, PG&E, TURN, Institutional Equity Investors
  • Reply Comments from City and County of San Francisco, PG&E, PAO
  • Order establishing process for parties to comment on proposals to improve PG&E
    safety.

Major Issues:

  • PG&E’s ability to maintain a safe transmission and distribution system

Key Documents:

  • Order extending statutory deadline to May 8, 2020

Background: In this case, The Climate Center is a Party to the Proceeding. Read our Opening Comments HERE. The investigation originated after the San Bruno incident, and has been reinvigorated due to the 2017/18 wildfires.

 

3. Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) (R.17-06-026)

New and recent developments:

  • Working Group 3 workshop #3 Presentation
  • Decision 19-10-001  on market price benchmark and true up (WG1 issues 1 – 7)

Key Documents:

Next Steps:

  • December 9 – Group 2 Final Report
  • December 11 – WG 3 workshop #4
  • January 30 – WG 3 Report Due
  • Q1 2020 – Proposed Decision on Groups 2 issues
  • Q2 2020 – Resolution of Group 3 issues.

Background: The PCIA is a fee charged to CCAs to pay for a utility’s stranded cost of procuring electricity on behalf of customers departing in CCAs.

 

4. Resource Adequacy (Was 17-09-020) (Now R.19-11-009)

New and recent developments:

  • There is a new RA proceeding number for 2021-2022 R.19-11-009.
    • Comments by CalCCA, SanFrancisco, PG&E, CAISO.
  • CAISO Application for Rehearing of D.19-10-021.
  • CalCCA Application for Rehearing and Motion for Stay of D.19-10-021
    • Responses in support by CAISO, Shell, Calpine
    • Decision 19-10-021 re RA Import Rules
  • Proposed Decision to determine qualifying capacity (QC) value of hybrid resources (generation + storage)
    • Comments on the Motion by CalCCA and SDG&E
  • Cal Advocates Protest of RA waivers
    • 3 Phases Renewables, CleanPowerSF, Constellation, Direct Energy, EDF, Just Energy Solutions, Pilot Power Group, San Jose Clean Energy, and Shell submitted summaries but not documentation that they solicited bids.
  • CalCCA Petition for Modification of D.19-06-026 adopting capacity obligations
    • Market conditions justify a waiver process for System and Flex RA similar to Local RA because solicitations and bilateral market inquiries are not producing offers at commercially reasonable prices and in some instances produce no offers at all
    • Citations:$150,109 in 2017; $9,201,172 in 2019
    • Several IOUs did not offer RA for sale until after the October 31 deadline
    • Assemblymembers and State Senators noted that RA pricing has doubled between 2018 and 2019. They suggested that the IOUs’ failure to offer excess RA to the market in a timely manner has created an artificial shortage of RA supply.

Next Steps:

  • Jan 12, 2019 – Possible vote on hybrid resources qualifying capacity.
  • Ruling on Applications for Rehearing of D.19-10-021 – TBD
  • Decision on RA central procurement entity – TBD

Background: The RA program is designed to provide adequate electric resources to CAISO to ensure safe and reliable operation of the grid, and to provide appropriate incentives for the siting and construction of new resources needed for reliability. This proceeding has been divided into three Tracks due to the complexity of the issues involved.

 

5. Self-Generation Incentive Program R.12-11-005

Recent Developments:

Decision (issued 9-18-19) modifying equity budget program requirements and incentive levels to increase participation. Establishes a new equity resiliency budget set-aside for vulnerable households located in Tier 3 and Tier 2 high fire threat districts, critical services facilities serving those districts, and customers located in those districts that participate in two low-income solar generation programs Effective 4-1-20.

Appendix A modifications
Appendix B remaining funds
Appendix C testing standards for storage

Program administered by PG&E, SCE, SoCalGas, Center for Sustainable Energy.

Next Steps:

  • December 18, 2019 – Administrators’ joint Tier 2 advice letter due
  • January 18, 2020 – Commission heat pump workshop due
  • January 31, 2020 – Administrators to submit Tier 1 advice letter containing final SGIP accounting data as of December 31, 2019
  • April 1, 2020 – SGIP modifications effective
  • March 31, 2021 – Tier 2 advice letter re the 2021- 2025 SGIP evaluation plan.

 

6. SB 790 IOU Code of Conduct (12-02-009) – No new developments.

Background: Original CCA law, AB 117 stipulates that IOUs must “cooperate fully” with local governments pursuing Community Choice. In the mid-to-late 2000s, San Francisco, Marin, and the San Joaquin Valley experienced egregious disinformation campaigns waged by the incumbent utility for these jurisdictions against their efforts. The obstruction was documented in a series of California Senate Select Committee on Renewable Energy hearings in 2010 chaired by Senator Mark Leno. The result of the hearings was SB 790, which created an IOU Code of Conduct that prohibits IOUs from marketing against CCAs unless they establish a separate marketing division that does not use ratepayer funds, among other provisions.

 

7. Integrated Resource Plans – R.16-02-007

New Developments:

  • Application for Rehearing D.19-11-016
    • CEJA, Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, PAO.
  • D.19-11-016 requiring reliability procurement
    • OTC plants should remain online
    • Incremental procurement of 3,300 MW of system-level RA by all LSEs (50% by Aug 1, 2021. 75% by 2022, 100% by 2023)
    • LSEs that do not self-procure will be allocated costs by the IOU based on CAM, not PCIA
    • Procurement contracts of new resources shall be for at least 10 years.

Energy efficiency shall be for 5 years, existing resources shall be 3 years. o IRPplansshalldetailprojects,capacities,anddatesbywhichtheLSE expects the projects to be providing service and demonstrate that the projects are incremental to meet the 2021, 2022, and 2023 requirements.

Key Documents:

  • Order Instituting Rulemaking.
  • Decision D.18-02-018 setting IRP requirements for LSEs.
  • Amended Scoping Memo.
  • Final Decision adopting the Reference System Plan as the Preferred System Plan.

Next Steps:

  • February 15, 2020 – LSE summaries of incremental RA procurement
  • May 1, 2020 – Updated LSE contract data in IRP plans. Standing data request for

Major Issues:

  • Near, medium, and long-term local reliability needs
  • Approval of a Preferred System Plan
  • Co-ordinating LSE procurement to meet CA GHG goals
  • Non-IRP filing years.

 

8. Distribution Resource Plans (14-08-013 ) – No new updates.

August 9 – Ruling postponing capacity analysis workshop.

Background: This proceeding consolidates numerous previous proceedings and seeks to establish policies and rules for IOUs to develop Distribution Resources Plan Proposals, and to evaluate the IOUs’ infrastructure and planning to incorporate distributed energy resources (DERs) into their systems. There are three parallel and concurrent Tracks in this proceeding. Track 1 concerns methodological issues. Track 2 concerns demonstration and pilot projects. Track 3 concerns policy issues.  Decisions have been issued on all three tracks, but there are still residual issues and new issues being addressed.

 

9. Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) R.18-07-003

New and recent developments:

  • Proposed Decision on 2019 RPS Plans
    • LSEs must demonstrate a path to SB350 long-term contracting requirements
    • Workshops to combine RPS with IRP plans.
  • Decision re IOU Effective Load Carrying Capability. Customer-side-of-the-meter Photovoltaic (PV) must be treated as a supply-side resource; annual loss of load expectation study must be conducted
    • Comments by PG&E.
  • Decision enforcing RPS program rules, fining Liberty Power $431,014 and Gexa $1,725,461.
  • Joint Utility comments and Joint CCA reply comments on combining IRP and RPS programs.
  • Updated Schedule of Review for 2019 RPS Plans.Key Documents:• •
    • Decision implementing SB100.
    • D.12-06-038 setting RPS compliance rules.
    • OIR to further develop the RPS program.
    • 2018 RPS Annual Report to Legislature.
    • Amended Scoping Memo.Next Steps:
    • Dec 9, 2019 – Comments due on RPS PD.
    • Dec 19, 2019 – Possible vote on RPS PD.
    • March 31, 2020 – Energy Division to initiate workshops.

 

10. Integrated DER – No new developments.

Most recent development: ALJ Ruling directing responses to post-March 4-5, 2019 Workshop questions.

Background: Since 2007, the Commission has sought to integrate demand side energy solutions and technologies through utility program offerings. Decision (D.07-10-032) directs that utilities “integrate customer demand-side programs, such as energy efficiency, self-generation, advanced metering, and demand response, in a coherent and efficient manner.” The Commission’s IDER Action Plan published in 2016 remains in draft form.

 

11. Direct Access Rulemaking (19-03-009) – No new developments.

On March 14, 2019 CPUC issued an Order Instituting Rulemaking (OIR) for proceeding R. 19-03-009 regarding implementation of Senate Bill 237 (SB 237 – Hertzberg) concerning expansion of the Direct Access (DA) program. DA is available to non-residential customers. Background: DA access was restricted after the energy crisis by SB 1X. DA access is currently capped and accessible via a lottery system, with 7,603 GWh of load on the waitlist. SB 237 increases the maximum total annual kilowatt-hours allowed under the DA program by a total of 4,000 GWh apportioned among the three IOU service territories. That increase must be implemented by June 1, 2019. SB 237 also gives CPUC until June 1, 2020 to provide the legislature with guidance on expanding DA access to all interested non-residential customers. The proceeding will have two phases to address the two mandates.

 

12. NEM Successor Tariff Rulemaking R.14-07-002

Pursuant to direction in the NEM Successor Tariff Decision, the Commission will review the NEM successor tariff some time in 2019, when the proceedings related to distributed energy resources are completed and after default TOU rates are implemented. Energy Division staff will explore compensation structures for customer-sited distributed generation other than NEM, as well as consider an export compensation rate that takes into account locational and time-differentiated values. On April 26, 2019, the Energy Division distributed a Revised Solar Information Packet to service list R.14-07-002 and R.12-11-005.  The Energy Division asked for written comments about the content of the Revised Solar Information Packet and implementation approach.  The deadlines for submitting written comments has passed. If you have questions contact Kerry Fleisher at the CPUC Energy Division: Kerry.Fleisher@cpuc.ca.gov

That’s all for this update. Next Update will be on January 9. Have a great holiday break!

CPX Mid-Recess Legislative Update – December 12, 2019

Hi Folks!

We hope you are enjoying the holiday season.

In the interest of gearing up for what is shaping up to be a dynamic 2020 legislative session, we offer this mid-recess assessment and overview.

The most exciting news for The Climate Center and our Clean Power Exchange Program is that we have secured a political consultant to work with us in 2020 to help advance our legislative agenda, defend against threats to our interests, and in general, to increase our presence in Sacramento. We look forward to a lot more engagement with all of the many stakeholders engaging on Advanced Community Energy policy in California in 2020.

The legislature will reconvene on Monday, January 6. Several bills that have bearing on Community Choice Energy or Climate were held over from the 2019 session. This includes:

AB 56 (Garcia) OPPOSE – This bill will empower the CPUC to order energy procurement based on real or perceived shortcomings in the Integrated Resource Plan submitted by Investor Owned Utilities, Direct Access providers, and CCAs. The bill will allow the CPUC to require procurement on any perceived deficiency that may be 10 to 12 years out in the future. This makes no sense, given that so much lead time would allow a CCA to address any potential problem. Read the Center’s updated July Letter of Opposition.

AB 235 (Mayes) – Now dubbed the “Catastrophic Wildfire Liability Recovery Act,” this bill will allow PG&E to issue bonds to cover 2017, 2018 wildfire liabilities that ratepayers could ultimately have to pay for, and allows the CPUC to arbitrarily set a limit on the amount a transmission & distribution utility must pay as a result of catastrophic wildfire that may have been the result of their infrastructure. It is essentially a defense of status quo corporate utility dominance.

SB 246 (Wieckowski) – Read our Support Letter. – This bill, if enacted as written, will impose an oil and gas severance tax on the privilege of extracting oil or fossil gas from the earth or water in California upon any operator engaged in such extraction.

SB 350 (Hertzberg) OPPOSE – This bill would “authorize the CPUC to consider a multiyear centralized resource adequacy mechanism,” meaning, a central buyer, which would encroach on CCA statutory authority on procurement autonomy. This bill was a tandem bill with AB 56.

SB 378 (Wiener): Would establish ratepayer protections related to Public Safety Power Shutoff incidents.

SB 386 (Caballero) – Read our Letter of Opposition. This bill would allow Turlock, Modesto, and Merced Irrigation Districts to count their large hydro assets (dams) toward their Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) obligations. This would significantly impact progress with new renewables. These Irrigation Districts will already be able to count their dams as carbon-free pursuant to state policy on decarbonization and mechanisms are in place to protect low-income communities from any cost burdens.

SB-772 (Bradford) – OPPOSE – This bill relates to procurement of long duration bulk energy storage. Would require CAISO to procure 2,000MW of long-duration energy storage projects by 2022. Concerns center on forcing the hand of CCA procurement. Likely oppose.

SB 774 (Stern) – SB 774 would require IOUs to collaborate with the State’s Office of Emergency of Services and others to identify where back-up electricity sources may provide increased electrical distribution grid resiliency and would allow the IOUs to file applications with the CPUC to invest in, and deploy, microgrids to increase resiliency. Concerns focus on too much control being placed in the hands of the IOUs over microgrid development when other LSEs and stakeholders can and should play a role.

We do expect many more bills relating to Community Choice, electricity system resilience, microgrids, and other related issues to emerge. So expect a lively 2020 session.

Till then,

Happy Holidays from the CPX Team!

 

California CCAs Hit 3,000-Megawatt Mark for New Long-Term Clean Energy Contracts

Redondo Beach, Calif. – The California Community Choice Association (CalCCA) announced today that Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) in the state have in one year added another 1,000 Megawatts (MW) in long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with new renewable energy projects, bringing the grand total of new-build contracts signed to 3,195 MW. The achievement reflects the strength of the CCA commitment to advancing clean energy, economic development and green jobs throughout California.

“CCAs are continuing to rapidly secure the clean energy resources California needs to meet ambitious decarbonization and climate change goals,” said Beth Vaughan, executive director of CalCCA. “At a time of unprecedented change in California’s energy sector, aggregators are providing stability, accountability and leadership when the state needs it most.”

In addition to securing renewable energy PPAs totaling 3,195 MW, aggregators have also signed long-term battery energy storage contracts for 239.5 MW/788 Megawatt-Hours (MWh) combined, with more than half – 149.5 MW/438 MWh – contracted for in the last year alone. Of the total, 212 MW/678 MWh, or about 86%, is co-located with solar panels that will charge batteries with sun power – energy that can be discharged at times of peak demand and to provide grid stability.

Notably, 13 CCAs – six more than last year – have now signed long-term PPAs in order to meet their renewables portfolio standard (RPS) and long-term contracting requirements under SB 350, as well as local mandates set by CCA Boards. Of the 13 CCAs, five launched just last year.

CalCCA announced the 3,000-MW milestone at the association’s Fourth Annual Meeting in Redondo Beach, where more than 450 attendees are gathered to discuss the latest developments in California’s energy market, and the key role community energy providers are playing in the state’s efforts to address climate change. Last November, CalCCA announced that CCAs had achieved a 2,000-MW milestone for long-term PPAs. In fact, aggregators have added approximately 1,000 MW in each of the last three years.

California’s CCAs have to date signed a total of 76 PPAs with new solar, wind, biogas and energy storage facilities, up from 59 contracts in November 2018 – a nearly 30% increase. The contract terms range from 10 to 25 years, or 18 years on average across all contracts.

The clean energy projects are located in 19 California counties (up from 17 in 2018), from Humboldt County in the north to Riverside County in the south, with one project located in Arizona and another in New Mexico. Several projects are already operating, while others will become operational between 2019 and 2022. A map of project locations and a list of contracts can be found here.

Several local projects have been added to the list in the last year. East Bay Community Energy, for example, signed a trio of local battery energy storage contracts to facilitate the shutdown of a fossil fuel-fired power plant in downtown Oakland. The Redwood Coast Energy Authority, meanwhile, is developing a local microgrid project at the California Redwood Coast – Humboldt County Airport. RCEA will own and operate the microgrid’s solar and energy storage systems.

Aggregators are expected to make long-term investments in more than 10,000 MW of new clean energy resources including solar, wind, geothermal and energy storage by 2030, and several CCAs are currently in the process of procuring new clean energy resources. To stay on top of CCA procurement news, sign up for CalCCA’s mailing list here.

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About CalCCA: Launched in 2016, the California Community Choice Association (CalCCA) represents California’s community choice electricity providers before the state Legislature and at regulatory agencies, advocating for a level playing field and opposing policies that unfairly discriminate against CCAs and their customers. There are currently 19 operational CCA programs in California serving approximately 10 million customers.
For more information about CalCCA, visit www.cal-cca.org.

Bay Area Community Energy Agencies Kick Off New Program to Provide Local Resiliency

Oakland, Redwood City, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale, Calif. – Three Bay Area Community Choice Energy agencies and one municipal utility are joining forces to ramp up efforts to help stabilize California’s electricity grid and provide reliable power. East Bay Community Energy, Peninsula Clean Energy, Silicon Valley Clean Energy, and Silicon Valley Power will announce a new program on November 5 to address the resiliency needs of our communities in the wake of multiple, on-going power shut offs and the threat of wildfires. The program will offer grid-stabilizing technology to provide power for thousands of homes and businesses in Alameda, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties, including those hit by recent PG&E power shutoffs.

The four public power agencies will be hosting a press event:

  • When: Tuesday, November 5 at 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

  • What: Press event to discuss community resilience solutions enacted by a coalition of local public power providers

  • Where: Fremont Fire Station #6, 4355 Central Ave, Fremont, CA 94536 — the first fire station in the U.S. with a solar microgrid

  • Agenda: Comments from elected officials (including Fremont Mayor Lily Mei), Board members of the power agencies (including Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb, Portola Valley Vice Mayor Jeff Aalfs), CEOs of the power agencies, and Fremont Fire Department.

RSVP to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/79635093709.

Dan Lieberman | Director of Marketing

$10 Million for Emergency Backup Power During PG&E Outages Committed by Peninsula Clean Energy

REDWOOD CITY, CA – October 28, 2019 – The Peninsula Clean Energy Board of Directors voted to commit up to $10 million over three years to fund clean backup power for San Mateo County’s medically vulnerable residents and essential community services during PG&E power shutoffs.

“This investment will help provide the most vulnerable Peninsula Clean Energy customers and facilities with electricity during blackouts,” said Jan Pepper, CEO of Peninsula Clean Energy. “In just two weeks, PG&E has already turned the lights out on portions of San Mateo County three times. The planned outages by PG&E are expected to continue for years. We are acting now to develop emergency power solutions for those customers who are most at risk.

Peninsula Clean Energy purchases the electricity for 290,000 homes, businesses, and community facilities in San Mateo County while PG&E continues to maintain the grid. Nearly 60,000 Peninsula Clean Energy accounts have been affected by PG&E power shutoffs over the last several days. This includes medically vulnerable residents who rely on electricity to power lifesaving devices such as ventilators.

Peninsula Clean Energy will develop programs to support the installation of battery backup systems powered by renewable energy on eligible homes and community facilities with greatest need. These clean power options are expected to increasingly replace backup diesel generators. Diesel generators emit dangerous pollutants and greenhouse gases.

Peninsula Clean Energy’s new emergency power backup programs will begin rolling out next year. Governor Newsom’s recently announced statewide funding for emergency power backup systems is expected to supplement this effort. Peninsula Clean Energy is also collaborating with other Bay Area community choice energy agencies and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District on resiliency programs.

“Peninsula Clean Energy is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions throughout San Mateo County,” said Pepper. “We will offer cleaner, economical alternatives to diesel generators to protect medically sensitive customers and our community service providers. These programs are part of fulfilling the organization’s mission.”

 

About Peninsula Clean Energy

Peninsula Clean Energy is San Mateo County’s official electricity provider. It is a public local community choice energy agency that provides all electric customers in San Mateo County with cleaner electricity at lower rates than those charged by the local incumbent utility. Peninsula Clean Energy saves customers an estimated $18 million a year. Peninsula Clean Energy, formed in March 2016, is a joint powers authority made up of the County of San Mateo and all 20 cities and towns in the County. The agency serves approximately 290,000 accounts. www.PeninsulaCleanEnergy.com

Peninsula Clean Energy Contact

Kirsten Andrews-Schwind

Peninsula Clean Energy

kandrews-schwind@peninsulacleanenergy.com

M: 650.260.0096

To fight climate change, California needs to plug into offshore wind

We all saw Greta Thunberg’s eyes. We saw her face. We heard her voice quivering as she urged the members of the United Nations last week to do more to fight back against the ravages of climate change.

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” the teenage Swedish activist said. “People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing…How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just ‘business as usual’ and some technical solutions?”

As global temperatures rise, bringing with it the fury of a generation that will have to live with the consequences, we know we need to do more—we must do more—to fight this existential crisis.

Even in California, where we have already set some of the world’s most aggressive climate goals, our 100% carbon-free targets and plans for millions of electric vehicles are only part of what’s necessary to reckon with the social and moral issues we face.

If California is going to do everything it can to fight back against climate change—and serve as a model for the rest of the world—that means tapping all of the resources at our disposal.

To slow the spread of forest fires, drought, and rising sea levels, we need to accelerate every one of our clean energy strategies.

We need to tap the lithium ion in the Salton Sea and use it to power tens of millions more electric cars. We need to develop more battery storage so we can harness the sun’s power day and night—and electrify our buildings and transportation networks.

We also need to expand our horizons and find a way to harness the wind off our coast to power an electric grid that will rely more than ever on clean, renewable energy.

California already gets more than a third of its power from our state’s vast quantities of sun, wind, and geothermal energy resources. But we have even more clean energy waiting for us 25 miles off the coast. We need to go and get it.

This is the opportunity—and the challenge—bringing an international group of energy experts to San Francisco this week for a conference on how to tap the huge amounts of wind energy blowing across the Pacific Rim.

It’s also the impetus for a California Energy Commission meeting on Thursday, where state agencies will consider policies to support floating offshore wind technology.

There’s a lot to like about offshore wind—and even better, there is a lot of it.

According to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, a fleet of wind turbines floating (mostly out of sight) roughly 25 miles off our coastline could produce 16 gigawatts of energy—about a third of the 40-plus gigawatts used statewide during peak periods.

In addition to being 100% carbon-free, these facilities could provide energy when we need it most: Coastal winds pick up right when the sun goes down and air conditioners are firing up.

Paired with storage and other renewable sources, offshore wind is one of our best options for replacing fossil fuel peaker plants used today to keep the lights on. This means less air pollution, less oil extraction, and fewer neighborhoods suffering from dirty power facilities.

Like any new technology, there are complex issues to resolve to ensure the price is competitive, and its presence well off our shores protects the environment and our precious sea life.

But we’ve done this before in California. And we can’t let business as usual stop us from doing it again. If we want to be able to look our children and grandchildren in their faces and tell them we did everything we could, we must act now—because our most precious resource is not renewable. It is time, and we are running out of it.

________

Dan Jacobson is state director of Environment California, djacobson@environmentcalifornia.org. He wrote this commentary for CalMatters.

 

To fight climate change, California needs to plug into offshore wind, by Dan Jacobson, CalMatters, October 2, 2019.

CPX Job Announcement: Stockton/San Joaquin County Community Outreach Specialist

The Climate Center seeks a qualified individual interested in serving as a part-time “Community Outreach Specialist” to advance Community Choice Energy in the City of Stockton as part of its statewide Clean Power Exchange (CPX) program.

 The program goal is to establish a Community Choice Energy agency (CCA) to serve Stockton business and residential customers. The CPX program marries two critical issues, climate protection and social justice, and emphasizes information sharing via the CPX website. More program information can be found at: https://cleanpowerexchange.org/central-valley/

Key activities within this position include:

  • Representing the Center and the CPX program to local elected officials and government staff 
  • Note your association with the Center/CPX on matters related to CCA 
  • Attend city council meetings and make presentations, as appropriate 
  • Write articles/blogs on a regular basis on topics related to CCA and recruit other community members to do the same 
  • Use social media to build support for Community Choice Energy 
  • Provide updates to Center staff at least weekly about relevant developments including news articles, Stockton city council agendas and/or minutes, business communications, etc. 

For the full job description and information on how to apply, please click here.