City Moves Forward with Bold Climate Action: City Council sets a target of carbon neutrality by 2035 and gives go-ahead on Community Choice Energy program

On Tuesday, September 18, the San Luis Obispo City Council voted 5-0 to continue developing a Community Choice Energy (CCE) program and directed staff to develop a climate action plan with a target of carbon neutrality by 2035. Since 2005, the City has reduced emissions by ten percent, with a goal of reducing by a total of fifteen percent by the year 2020. Governor Jerry Brown recently announced a similar goal statewide, with an executive order that commits California to carbon neutrality by 2045.

Council also adopted a resolution to create a Joint Powers Agency that establishes “Central Coast Community Energy” on behalf of San Luis Obispo in partnership with Morro Bay to operate the CCE program that would allow participating cities to pool the electricity demand of their communities to become the primary electricity provider, leading to fewer greenhouse gas emissions and additional investments in local renewable energy projects and energy programs. Existing CCE programs throughout California have been able to deliver these benefits at or below existing electricity rates. The program will purchase cleaner electricity, which will be delivered by PG&E through the existing electricity grid and associated infrastructure. Upon program launch in 2020, customers will continue to receive a single PG&E bill that includes the CCE’s generation rates.

At a meeting earlier this month, Council reviewed the draft technical study evaluating multiple power supply scenarios and concluded under base-case market and regulatory conditions, a regional CCE program would be financially feasible and would lead to cleaner electricity. The implementation of a CCE program will provide an opportunity for more locally generated and controlled renewable resources, such as solar and wind, while also providing resources to develop and implement energy programs that could lower local energy bills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and support local contractors.

The San Luis Obispo City Council agreed to pursue a CCE program last December, in a process stemming from studies and discussions that began in 2013. In 2017, the Council adopted climate action as a major city goal, with direction to assess the requirements of becoming a net-zero carbon city.

More information about Community Choice Energy can be found at http://www.slocity.org/cce.

CONTACT: Chris Read, Sustainability Manager
(805) 781-7151, cread@slocity.org

Santa Barbara Profiled in Sierra Club Report on Clean Energy Cities

The Sierra Club released a new report Tuesday showcasing 10 U.S. cities, including Santa Barbara, that have made ambitious commitments to be powered with 100 percent clean, renewable energy like wind and solar.

Ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit in September, the report illustrates the progress cities in the U.S. are making to lead climate action globally by driving the transition toward 100 percent clean energy, as well as the paths these communities are pursuing to transition in an equitable way.

More than 75 U.S. cities have committed to transition to 100 percent clean energy, including big cities like Atlanta, GA., and small towns such as Abita Springs, LA.

At least six U.S. cities already have achieved 100 percent clean energy and are powered today with entirely renewable sources.

This report provides an example for city leaders from Santa Barbara and other cities to power their cities with 100 percent clean, renewable energy.

“We’re thrilled that Santa Barbara was one of the cities chosen to be profiled in this year’s report and with the progress made since Santa Barbara set a goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 a year ago,” Katie Davis, chair of the Santa Barbara Sierra Club Group.

“Since then, Santa Barbara voted to start a community choice energy program to put the goal in action, the number of cities making this commitment in the U.S. has more than doubled, and the California assembly just passed SB100, a bill setting a 100 percent statewide goal that is headed to the governor for a signature,” she said.

“At the same time, we have also gone through some traumatic climate change-related disasters that have underscored the urgency of transitioning off of fossil fuels,” she said.

This is the third annual case studies report from Ready For 100, a Sierra Club campaign launched in 2016 working in cities across the U.S., including Santa Barbara, to accelerate a just and equitable transition to 100 percent clean energy.

The city profiles in this year’s report include: Santa Barbara; Columbia, SC; Concord, NH; Denton, Texas; Denver; Fayetteville, AK; Minneapolis; Norman, OK; Orlando; and St. Louis.

“As leaders from around the world gather in San Francisco this week for the Global Climate Action Summit, one need only look at America’s cities to see how local leadership is having a global impact,” said Jodie Van Horn, director of the Sierra Club’s Ready For 100 campaign.

“Cities are taking meaningful steps to realize a vision for healthy, vibrant, and more equitable communities powered with 100 percent clean energy,” she said.

“A transition to 100 percent clean energy is within reach, and together we can create a new energy economy that transforms not only how we power our country but also who has power to decide what’s best for our communities,” Van Horn said.

View the report at sc.org/10-case-studies.

— Katie Davis for The Sierra Club.

 

Santa Barbara Profiled in Sierra Club Report on Clean Energy Cities, by Katie Davis, Noozhawk, September 12, 2018.

Monterey Bay County Supervisors Reject State Proposal Derailing Clean Energy Programs and Raising Utility Rates For Customers Statewide

Contact: Shelly Whitworth
O: 831-641-7206 C: 831-229-0277
swhitworth@mbcommunitypower.org
www.mbcommunitypower.org

Monterey County Supervisor Jane Parker, San Benito County Supervisor Jerry Muenzer and Santa Cruz Supervisor Bruce McPherson today issued statements voicing their concerns about a proposal under consideration by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) that could derail the state’s clean power programs and increase energy fees on residents, businesses and families.

On September 13, the CPUC is scheduled to vote on one of two proposals for the state’s Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA), an exit fee that energy customers pay when they switch to community-based clean power program providers, known as Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs), in lieu of investor-owned utilities. One proposal, put forth by CPUC Commissioner Carla Peterman would immediately increase exit fees by as much as 25 percent, creating volatility and uncertainty in these fees, and threatening the future of our community choice clean energy programs. The second proposal, issued by the Administrative Law Judge Stephen Roscow overseeing the proceeding, properly balances the elements that make up the exit fee, creating a level playing field for CCAs.

“After years of investigation, research and community input, I know Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) provide the greatest hope for economic, environmental and social benefits in the community,” said Santa Cruz Supervisor Bruce McPherson. “Monterey Bay Community Power is central to the Monterey Bay’s efforts to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions through delivering carbon free electricity as well as drive economic opportunities through our one-of-a-kind customer rebate model and customer energy and electrification programming. This proposal will create a more expensive and unequitable marketplace which will impact the pocket books of all Californians.”

Run by local governments, CCAs are key to the state and region’s ambitious climate change goals, including a proposal passed by state lawmakers last week to move California to 100 percent carbon free energy by 2045. There are 18 CCA programs throughout the state, operated by and accountable to individual cities and counties, each using innovative private-public partnerships to offer cleaner, cheaper energy options. If adopted by the CPUC, Commissioner Peterman’s PCIA fee proposal would shift costs to CCA customers, hampering CCA programs’ efforts to enroll more residents and expand their programmatic offerings, such as transportation electrification, low income solar, energy storage and energy efficiency. Several CCA programs are in startup phase and this exit fee proposal is expected to halt or slow these programs before their scheduled launch dates.

“This proposal would raise energy prices for all customers in the Monterey Bay region and it would hit our most vulnerable residents the hardest,” said San Benito County Supervisor Jerry Muenzer. “Delivering clean energy at a low cost to all Monterey Bay residents and businesses is an equity issue as well as an economic issue. I urge all Commissioners to make the right choice for fair and equitable energy regulations.”

“At a time when our communities are facing ever-increasing and more dangerous natural disasters throughout our state, this utility-backed proposal threatens to deprive the Monterey Bay region of our most impactful tool for dramatically reducing GHG emissions: Community Choice Energy programs,” said Monterey County Supervisor Jane Parker. “Our residents and businesses deserve a local program that meets their needs and the most recent PUC rule-making process by the investor-owned utilities (IOUs) will deny our region of choice, undermine local control of green energy production, and seriously impact economic development.”

In addition to stifling local communities’ efforts to embrace clean energy, the PCIA fee increase would lead to rate hikes and price volatility for customers across California. The rate increase would be particularly burdensome for low-income residents, raising significant concerns about equity issues in marginalized communities. This proposal would also continue to incentivize the mismanagement of resources by investor-owned utilities, further increasing all customers’ rates.

Supervisors McPherson, Muenzer and Parker urge the CPUC to adopt the Administrative Law Judge’s proposed decision and not Commissioner Peterman’s alternate decision. The proposed decision would create a much more balanced and fair exit fee structure for customers and would also maintain exit fees at reasonable levels while transitioning to a long-term solution intended to reduce costs for all customers, to be designed during a second phase.

The CPUC vote is expected to take place on September 13, as San Francisco is hosting environmental leaders from across the world for the Global Climate Action Summit.

###

See full release here: MBCP/PCIA Monterey Bay County Supervisors

Navy now considering plans for ocean wind farms — and Morro Bay is a top prospect

Efforts to build fields of floating wind turbines off the coast of California are gaining momentum, and Morro Bay might be at the front of the line.

Despite a lack of publicity, activity on the West Coast has been moving along — ”quite a bit of it,” according to Morro Bay city administrator Eric Endersby.

Endersby has been working to help Seattle-based Trident Winds find a home in Morro Bay for a multimillion dollar project that would tie into the grid in the city where the mothballed Dynegy power plant has sat idle since 2014.

Wind energy proposals present an attractive option in a state that’s aggressively pursuing clean energy solutions. Just this week, the state Assembly approved a bill that would mandate California generate 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2045.

The sticking point for wind energy in the Pacific Ocean has been a U.S. Navy map that shows virtually all of the California coast in a red zone, meaning those sectors were “not compatible” with military operations and “off limits” to ocean wind farms.

The map appeared to jeopardize plans by Trident and other companies to build up to a 1,000 megawatts of offshore wind power generated by giant 700-foot floating wind turbines out of view some 30 miles off the Cambria coast.

But there are signs of progress on the horizon: Trident is continuing to work with local stakeholders, the Department of Defense has been willing to listen to proposals lately, and a state and federal task force is planning its first meeting in a year later this month.

Chances for Morro Bay

Locally, Endersby said Trident has been meeting with the fishing community and appears to have an agreement in principle that would allow the turbines to be placed at a site away from the most important fishing areas.

In addition, he said that Morro Bay is eager to secure the economic development benefits, and Trident wants to sign a memorandum of understanding “sometime in September or October” that would help the company in the bidding process and demonstrate local backing for its application once the process moves forward.

Norwegian energy giant Statoil also has also expressed interest and is thought to be ready to put up a competitive bid. It has spent little time in Morro Bay meeting with locals, however.

TRIDENT WINDS LOCATOR

Trident Winds CEO Alla Weinstein said that Trident’s record of local cooperation and consultation should matter, adding she hopes “that the voice of the stakeholders will be given equal value to the value of money in selecting the winner of the auction.”

But what if the DOD says “no” after all?

“Either way, we think Trident will move forward relocating out of DOD jurisdiction into the National Marine Sanctuary area off Monterey Bay if needed. Trident has held some discussions with them that seem favorable,” Endersby said.

Another player who declined to be identified wants to build a small pilot project to connect to the Central Coast, figuring this would be substantially easier, quicker and more certain than a mega-project that could be stalled in any manner of ways.

‘Art of the possible’

The Department of Defense gatekeeper for any renewable energy project off the coast is Steve Chun, community plans and liaison officer for the Navy’s Southwest Region, based in San Diego.

In a recent interview, Chun said interest in developing wind energy off the West Coast has been brisk lately. There “have been meetings with wind development interests on an active basis” in the past few months including two groups recently, he said.

”We have now received proposals to build wind farms at 14 different offshore sites to date,” he added.

Instead of a giving a flat “no,” Chun said that “the Department of Defense is trying to see just what the art of the possible is.”

Also behind the scenes, California — represented by the California Energy Commission and the federal Bureau of Ocean Management (BOEM) — have been waiting for Department of Defense to work out its policy.

Now, for the first time in a year, the BOEM/California Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force plans to hold a public meeting in Sacramento on Sept. 17, spokesman Scott Flint confirmed.

Chun, Gov. Jerry Brown’s energy commission officials and BOEM staff will be meeting along with industry players, a number of them with international ties.

WIND POWER NAVY 012518_Tribune

Atlantic vs. Pacific

The Department of Defense has found ways to live with offshore wind along the Atlantic Coast, where turbines are generating 25,464 megawatts of electricity across 13 states, including the 30-megawatt Block Island Wind Farm off Rhode Island that was commissioned in 2016, according to the Department of Energy.

But progress has been slower along the West Coast.

Unlike in the Atlantic, where wind turbines can anchor to the seabed, the best wind area here is in federal waters that stretch from 3 to 200 miles out, at depths of several thousand feet.

That requires floating wind technology, which has been getting real-world testing off the coast of Europe, where a handful of companies are now generating power. To date, Europe is home to more than 4,000 offshore wind turbines, and a surge in new, larger offshore installations in 2017 shows industry’s potential for expansion.

Now, some those same European companies are looking here.

Multiple energy companies want to build farms of giant wind turbines off the Central Coast, creating a vastly larger version of the Block Island Wind Farm off Rhode Island, which is now the only one of its kind in American waters. The facility’s five turbines came online in August 2016 and generate enough energy to power 17,000 homes.
Michael Dwyer AP

International players

Case in point is Trident Winds itself, which now has a new German partner as of June. EnBW North America and Trident have formed a joint venture to advance the Morro Bay offshore wind project off the Central Coast with a grid connection in Morro Bay, it was announced this summer.

With 336 megawatts in operation, 610 megawatts under construction and an additional 900 megawatts under development, EnBW is becoming one of the leading developers and operators of offshore wind farms, the company says.

“With a view to long-term growth, EnBW will invest over 5 billion euros in further expansion of renewables,” the company announced recently.

Now with a partner that has operational experience, turbines already generating power and substantial capital to build a huge project, Trident’s joint venture may be ready for the next step.

For two years Trident has working with BOEM on what will be a competitive leasing of waters in the federal jurisdiction once the Department of Defense and the state of California sign off on pre-approved locations.

Asked about the coming Sept. 17 meeting, Trident Winds CEO Weinstein says she is hopeful that the “BOEM will announce designated wind areas and commence with the sales process shortly.”

WIND FARM EXPLAINER

Humboldt competition

Meanwhile, other parts of California remain in the running to host offshore wind farms, notably the windy Humboldt area where a community-based utility, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, is working with a Portuguese company, Principle Power, on a plans to displace a natural gas-fired power plant in town that supplies all their power now.

Redwood, like the state of California, favors and gives priority to renewable power over fossil fuel power. The DOD’s Chun says this area is being discussed as well even though the Navy map also is colored red off the north coast, too.

Now in a twist, a new player Terra-Gen, with major wind power holdings in California already, wants to build an onshore wind farm in Humboldt County that’s capable of producing up to 135 megawatts of electricity, enough to power the 63,000 households.

Humboldt’s current power source is Humboldt Bay Power Plant, which is powered by natural gas and diesel and produces 163 megawatts. Terra-Gen is working with Humboldt’s Community Choice Aggregate, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, to see if a contract between the power producer and the power purchaser, can be developed.

If this land-based renewable project is built, the area will likely not need offshore wind. It has little infrastructure available to take what would be surplus power to the wider California grid and major urban centers in the state.

Proximity to the state’s big north/south grid system is an advantage for the Central Coast, which has millions of dollars in existing transmission lines and substations that can accept new offshore wind power, thanks to the defunct Morro Bay power plant and the soon-to-be-shuttered Diablo Canyon facility.

John Lindt is a freelance writer who runs the news website sierra2thesea.net.
Navy now considering plans for ocean wind farms — and Morro Bay is a top prospect, by John Lindt, The San Luis Obispo Tribune, September 3, 2018.

GridX Boosts Local Employment and Economy with New Jobs and Data Management Services Supporting Monterey Bay Community Power

GridX, a leading provider of data management solution to utilities and Community Choice Aggregators (CCA’s), today announced that it has opened a local office staffed with Energy Advisors and Data Analysts to support the operations of Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP), a CCA formed by 19 local governments in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties.

Local Office to Bring Jobs to Monterey Bay Region and Cultivate Innovation with MBCP
GridX’s local office will be co-located with MBCP and staffed with locally hired and rigorously trained Clean Energy Advisors and Data Analysts to serve MBCP and its customers. “We are pleased to support MBCP’s dual goals of supplying carbon-free electricity to its customers while growing local jobs,” said Jian Zhang, GridX CEO. “By collocating our staff, we hope to closely collaborate and co-innovate with MBCP to roll out a suite of compelling services for its customers.”

Proven Data Management Solution to Better Serve Customers
GridX’s Business Operation Support Services (BOSS) is the leading data management solution used by Investor Owned Utilities worldwide, including Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE), to support their customer operations. MBCP is the first CCA to employ the BOSS suite of technology-enabled data management services to streamline operations and serve its customers. MBCP’s customers can better manage their energy use, compare rate options, plan solar and other distributed energy project investments, schedule electric vehicle charging and, ultimately, save money. “GridX’s unique capabilities to manage a large volume of our customers’ interval data will enable us to develop and deliver innovative services to our customers,” said MBCP CEO Tom Habashi.

About GridX
GridX is the leading provider of business operation support technology and services to enable utilities to transform themselves into and CCA’s to participate in the decentralized energy economies. The company’s cloud-based software suite has been used by leading utilities worldwide, including Investor Owned Utilities in California, to support the operations for more than 12 million of their customers. For more information, visit http://www.gridx.com.

About MBCP
Monterey Bay Community Power is a Community Choice Energy agency established by local communities to source carbon-free electricity for Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties while retaining PG&E’s traditional role delivering power and maintaining electric infrastructure. As a locally controlled not-for-profit, MBCP is not taxpayer funded and supports Tri-County economic vitality by providing cleaner energy at a lower cost, supporting low-income rate payers, and funding local renewable energy projects. For more information, visit http://www.mbcommunitypower.org

 

GridX Boosts Local Employment and Economy with New Jobs and Data Management Services Supporting Monterey Bay Community Power, Press Release, by GridX, August 30, 2018.

The City of Carpinteria Pursues Community Choice and Strategic Energy Planning

The City of Carpinteria has opted to move forward with both Community Choice Energy and Strategic Energy Planning, which is in line with Carpinteria’s policies regarding sustainable communities and making our area more resilient. Now, did you understand anything in that last sentence? Because about four years ago I wouldn’t have either.

The world of energy and resiliency can seem confusing to most of us because of the acronyms and special terms that are used. Let’s start with Community Choice Energy: also called Community Choice Aggregation, CCE refers to a process that allows local governments to form a partnership to combine electrical loads—the amount of electricity used by their communities—in order to both purchase energy and develop renewable energy projects.

Most CCE customers do not notice a difference other than a line item on their energy bill. The intent of CCE programs is to deliver more renewable energy at competitive pricing to customers while maintaining local control over where that energy comes from.

Historically, customers in Southern California have received energy from Southern California Edison, an investor-owned utility. In the traditional energy model, the utility company purchases energy and delivers it to the customer through their system. Energy is not geographically located—the energy that is delivered to customers can come from other states.

In the CCE model, the control of purchasing energy is put in the hands of the local program, allowing for more varied sources. It also allows energy programs to be developed locally. For instance, a CCE program could develop an incentive for renewable energy projects that homeowners install to benefit the community and increase local resiliency (I will get to that). The investor-owned utility, in this case Southern California Edison, will still be responsible for the delivery of that energy by maintaining transmission lines and the overall energy grid.

Back to energy resilience: southern Santa Barbara County, is near the end of the line for the electrical grid. The Thomas Fire/Flood events last winter exposed how vulnerable the area is to power outages, including those that last multiple days. Because of this, the cities of Carpinteria, Goleta, Santa Barbara and the County of Santa Barbara are all moving forward with developing a CCE program.

Those same agencies are also working on strategic energy plans, exploring areas where renewable energy projects can be implemented. Done correctly, local energy projects can help keep the power on even if something were to interrupt the delivery of energy from other areas.

Strategic energy plans analyze areas that would be best suited for projects and evaluate them based on a number of factors, including location, cost and feasibility.

Carpinteria is not the first area to explore a CCE program. There are several successful ones up and running around the country, including 17 in California.

CCE and strategic energy planning complement each other and help make local communities more energy-independent, especially in the case of emergency events. This doesn’t just apply to disasters, but also excessive-heat and high-wind events. And greater local control means that savings get passed directly to local consumers of energy, which results in more money to put back into the local community.

Interested in being kept in the loop? You can learn more and sign up to be on the mailing list at centralcoastpower.org./.

 

Community Choice and Strategic Energy Planning, by Erin Maker, Coastal View, August 8, 2018.

Instead of joining Monterey Bay Community Power, Del Rey Oaks looks to team up with King City.

When Monterey Bay Community Power was formed in 2017, Del Rey Oaks was the only city on the Monterey Peninsula to not join the carbon-free energy cooperative, despite a petition signed by about 200 of its residents asking that it do so.

The primary reasons were risk and a lack of representation: If the cooperative, known as a Community Choice Aggregation model (or CCA), were for some reason to go belly-up, the majority of the City Council feared the small city could go bankrupt. Moreover, when it came time to vote on policy matters, the city would only have one-quarter of one out of 11 seats on the board.

On June 27, the city held a workshop that included presentations from both MBCP and Pilot Power, a San Diego-based energy company that is facilitating King City Community Power for King City – the only other city in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties to not join MBCP.

On July 22, the City Council directed City Manager Dino Pick to negotiate a potential contract with King City for Del Rey Oaks to join KCCP. If it works out, Pick sees minimal financial risk to the city in joining, and about $60,000 in annual revenue that could be put toward local solar projects, whether it be incentivizing solar panels atop homes or putting a solar farm on the former Fort Ord.

With MBCP, which covers the whole tri-county area, Pick says the possibility of getting solar projects in Del Rey Oaks is “highly unlikely.”

KCCP’s power is on track to be 50/50 hydropower and other renewables by 2020.

KCCP is the first CCA for Pilot, and Pilot founder Denis Vermette says the model is ideal for a small city like King City, or Del Rey Oaks.

“The reality is the larger [CCA] models have been more favorable for some communities,” Vermette says. “I’m not saying the model is bad, but each community has its own needs, and King City decided do something on their own.”

 

Instead of joining Monterey Bay Community Power, Del Rey Oaks looks to team up with King City., by David Schmalz, Monterey County Now, August 2, 2018.

Monterey Bay Community Power signs deal for wind power from New Mexico

Monterey >> While Monterey Bay Community Power typically looks for local clean power sources, its latest deal will bring in energy from New Mexico for a good reason.

Peak energy demand takes place in the evening hours as people get home from work, right as the sun sets and solar energy levels wind down.

“There’s an abundance of renewable energy available in the middle of the day, where solar and wind is pumping energy into the grid,” said Shelly Whitworth, a spokeswoman for Monterey Bay Community Power. “But in the afternoon, when everyone comes home and wants to turn on all of their appliances, that’s when solar and wind tend to start dying off and you have to start firing up peaker plants, like natural gas plants, to make up the difference.”

A graph showing the imbalance between peak energy demand and renewable energy production resembles the shape of a duck, earning the nickname “duck curve.” The location, high wind patterns and time difference in New Mexico help alleviate the strain on the electric grid during the evening in California.

“This particular project, the pattern was so interesting because their wind tends to ramp up right when solar is ramping down,” Whitworth said. “So it’s not only an awesome renewable energy project, but it’s also mitigating that duck curve issue by pumping into the grid later in the afternoon.”

The regional community choice energy agency started providing residential power to about 235,000 customers in the tri-county area July 1, four months after starting non-residential service to about 37,500 customers. It was formed in March 2017 to provide locally-controlled, carbon-free electricity to residents and businesses in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.

The 90 megawatt power purchase agreement with Pattern Development will last 15 years and Monterey Bay Community Power estimates it will provide up to 10 percent of its annual electricity demand. The 200 megawatt Duran Mesa Wind project is currently in development near Corona, New Mexico, and is expected to reach commercial operation in late 2020. The power from the project will have a connection for delivery into California in part via the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project, a 520-mile transmission line under development in New Mexico and Arizona.

“We are strongly committed to a diverse portfolio of energy resources and this project brings a wide variety of benefits that will be shared by our customers for years to come.” said Bruce McPherson, Monterey Bay Community Power’s board chair, in a prepared statement.

The deal was made in partnership with Silicon Valley Clean Energy, which signed a 15-year power purchase agreement for 110 megawatts. Whitworth said community choice energy agencies work together rather than compete with one another and communicate to continually improve.

“I think this is just the beginning of our purchasing power and how we can work together to bring more renewables online at a lower price,” she said.

Tommy Wright can be reached at 831-726-4375.

 

Monterey Bay Community Power signs deal for wind power from New Mexico, by Tom Wright, The Monterey Herald, August 1, 2018.

Pattern signs power purchase agreements with two California utilities

Officials with Pattern Energy Group 2 LP, also known as Pattern Development, announced Tuesday the company signed 15-year power purchase agreements with Silicon Valley Clean Energy and Monterey Bay Community Power to deliver wind power from the 200 megawatt Duran Mesa Wind project currently in development near Corona.

The village lies at the northern border of Lincoln County. The Silicon Valley utility signed a 15-year PPA for 110 MW and MBCP signed a 15-year PPA for 90 MW.

Construction of Duran Mesa Wind is anticipated to begin in late 2019 and the project is expected to reach commercial operation in late 2020, a relrease from Pattern stated. Power from the wind project will be delivered to California in part via the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project, a 520-mile 500-kV transmission line under development in New Mexico and Arizona by SouthWestern Power Group, which is also expected to achieve commercial operation by 2020.  Duran Mesa Wind is a 200 MW project within Pattern Development’s 2,200 MW Corona Wind Projects in New Mexico.

 

 

Pattern signs power purchase agreements with two California utilities, by Staff, Ruidoso News, July 31, 2018.

San Barbara city council approves CCE technical study

At the July 23 City Council meeting, the City Council voted unanimously (4-0 with Councilman Stein absent) to receive and file a Community Choice Energy (CCE) Technical Study and direct staff on future participation in a regional CCE. Councilmembers and several members of the public spoke in support of this action. Approval of the motion means that the city moves forward to explore the formation of a CCE in the future.

City Environmental Coordinator Erin Maker highlighted the difference between CCEs and the current utility system stating, “Instead of the investor-owned utilities—in our case Southern California Edison—being the purchaser and deliverer of power to the customer … with Community Choice Energy, the purchasing power comes under local control, so we have more control over the type of energy that is purchased with the goal of providing greener energy at a lower cost.”

She added that this change has little effect on the consumer. Pursuing the option of a future CCE is also in line with Governor Brown’s state mandate requiring 50 percent renewable energy sources by 2030, as pointed out by Mayor Shaw.

Many members of the public spoke in favor of this action. Mariah Clegg, a researcher at UCSB who studies CCEs (also referred to as Community Choice Aggregation or CCAs) spoke about just a few of the benefits of these programs. “This is truly coalition work and there are so many reasons to get behind this,” Clegg noted. “A CCA can create local jobs. It can help us meet our sustainability goals faster. It can make us more resilient. We can take care of our house and we can even save money.”

The Community Choice Energy vote was not the only environmental issue discussed at Tuesday’s meeting. The City Council also voted 4-0, again with Councilman Stein absent, to authorize the City Manager to sign the Memorandum of Understanding for participation in the Santa Barbara County Strategic Energy Planning Services Contract.

The city of Carpinteria will be a Cooperating Partner and will join forces with other cities in Santa Barbara County in a collaborative effort to reach common goals such as lowering greenhouse gas emissions and building resilience to natural disasters. A representative from the City of Carpinteria will attend and participate in meetings and public forums relating to the strategic planning services and the city will be responsible for a 10 percent contingency of the proportional cost share amounting to $9,900.

Read full article here.

City council approves the continuation of two environmental issues, by Claire Burke, CoastalView.com, July 25, 2018.