Southern California Edison wants departing customers to hand over $125 million

Southern California Edison is short nearly $1 billion in its power budget — and it’s hoping to charge a big chunk of that money to customers leaving for another energy provider.

Edison estimates it will spend $972 million more than expected on electricity this year, partly because it didn’t have access to enough power during a summer heat wave and was forced to pay sky-high prices on the energy market. The investor-owned utility is now asking state officials for permission to raise next year’s electricity rates to recoup those costs, as allowed by law.

But there’s an unusual twist in Edison’s request. The utility wants to charge approximately $125 million of the shortfall to more than 1 million homes and businesses that will leave Edison over the next few months to join Clean Power Alliance, a government-run energy provider that intends to compete with the massive power company.

Clean Power Alliance plans to start providing electricity this February to about 930,000 residential customers of 29 cities, including Oxnard, Santa Monica, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks and Ventura, as well as unincorporated parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. They’ll be joined by 100,000 nonresidential customers in May.

The government-run energy agency is one of 19 community choice aggregators, or CCAs, now operating in California.

Forming a CCA enables local officials to decide what kinds of energy to buy for their communities, how much to charge and what incentives to offer for rooftop solar and other clean energy technologies. Investor-owned utilities such as Edison are still responsible for building and operating the poles and wires that deliver electricity to CCA customers. They can make money for their shareholders by charging CCA customers for those costs.

Edison says the $972-million shortfall was caused by energy the utility purchased to serve all of its customers, including those who will soon leave for Clean Power Alliance. So from Edison’s perspective, it’s only fair that those customers should pay back their share of the costs, which amount to nearly 13% of the total.

“Basic fairness and the law dictate that all customers responsible for the undercollection should pay a fair share; anything else would raise costs for other remaining customers,” Edison said in a statement responding to questions from The Times.

But community choice advocates have objected, asking the California Public Utilities Commission to deny Edison’s request. They say charging $125 million to customers switching to Clean Power Alliance in 2019 would hurt the new energy agency’s finances and could affect its ability to lure customers away from Edison.

West Hollywood City Councilwoman Lindsey Horvath serves as the city’s representative on the Clean Power Alliance board. She said Edison had “every opportunity” to recover its $972 million by raising electricity rates during the final months of 2018, before many customers leave for Clean Power Alliance. But Edison chose to wait until next year, when the rate increase could harm the utility’s biggest competitor, she said.

“Every step of the way they’ve made decisions that will hurt Clean Power Alliance, and it certainly feels like that’s intentional,” Horvath said.

How much would energy bills go up?

Customers joining Clean Power Alliance in February would see their electricity rates rise by an average of 1.4 cent per kilowatt-hour in 2019 to cover their share of the $972-million shortfall, as would customers remaining with Edison. That comes out to an additional $11.50 on the average Los Angeles-area resident’s monthly bill in the summer, and nearly $8 in the winter, based on the most recent electricity use data available.

Even if state officials approve Edison’s request, Clean Power Alliance will still be able to offer the competitive electricity rates it has promised, said Ted Bardacke, the energy agency’s executive director. Clean Power Alliance customers can choose from three energy plans: One with a 36% renewable energy mix that’s slightly cheaper than Edison’s base rate, one with 50% renewables that’s on par with Edison’s rate and one with 100% renewables that’s more expensive than Edison.

But Clean Power Alliance would have to cut into its financial reserves to offer those rates while offsetting an additional $125 million in unexpected costs to customers, Bardacke said. Edison’s request creates financial uncertainty for Clean Power Alliance right as it’s getting started, he said, and could cause cities still served by Edison to question the wisdom of leaving their longtime electric utility.

“If our customers have to pay this extra fee, we will still be able to make it work financially, but it’s going to be very, very, very tight,” Bardacke said.

Most Californians have long purchased electricity from three investor-owned power companies — Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric — or from municipal utilities such as the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

But about a decade ago, several San Francisco Bay Area communities began launching their own locally run energy agencies, a trend that has recently spread to Southern California. By some estimates, the big three investor-owned utilities could lose 80% of their energy sales over the next decade.

The growth of CCAs has been a source of tension for state regulators, who must ensure that Californians who remain with the big utilities don’t face higher costs as their neighbors leave for new energy providers. That’s why Edison, PG&E and SDG&E are allowed to charge exit fees to their former customers, to help cover the costs of long-term energy contracts that were signed years ago to serve them.

After years of debate, there’s still little agreement on the best way to calculate exit fees. The Public Utilities Commission approved a new methodology in October that largely gave the big utilities what they wanted, prompting critics to object that the higher fees would slow the growth of CCAs and make it harder for them to invest in clean energy.

Community choice advocates have asked the utilities commission to reconsider its exit fees decision, and in some ways the debate over Edison’s $972-million shortfall is an outgrowth of that conflict.

Edison wants to raise next year’s exit fees to include the $125 million in charges to customers departing for Clean Power Alliance. But the CCA says that would be an unprecedented use of the exit fee, which is designed to cover the costs of long-term power contracts, not short-term costs incurred when a utility finds itself short on electricity.

Bardacke said Clean Power Alliance wouldn’t have objected if Edison had made up the $972-million shortfall by raising electricity rates for all of its customers in the final months of 2018, when doing so wouldn’t have affected Clean Power Alliance. Edison, though, said it chose to wait because recovering its costs in the last months of 2018 would have required a more dramatic rate increase wouldthan if the costs are spread out over 2019.

Edison has also argued that increasing next year’s exit fees is necessary to protect its remaining customers from paying the entirety of the $972 million on their own. Avoiding this type of cost shift is exactly why exit fees exist, Edison has argued, even if the details of the current situation are unique.

Radu Ciupagea, an official at the Public Utilities Commission’s Public Advocates Office, said he doesn’t see anything improper about Edison’s request to recoup its costs.

“My take on the process so far is that it’s occurred as it was supposed to occur. We definitely would not want to see cost-shifting across customers,” Ciupagea said.

Why did Edison come up $972 million short?

Clean Power Alliance and another CCA, the California Choice Energy Authority, have questioned whether Edison should have been able to avoid the $972-million shortfall. They suggested the utility may have been caught off guard by a record-breaking heat wave that caused electricity demand to soar in late July.

“A well-hedged market participant who managed its portfolio appropriately should not find itself in SCE’s position,” the two CCAs wrote in a filing to the Public Utilities Commission last month.

Edison has said it followed the appropriate risk management strategy. In its written statement, the utility said it had to spend so much money because of constraints in the region’s natural gas pipelines, which caused gas prices to surge and led to power prices “that were more than 10 times higher than normal market operations.”

California’s big utilities regularly come up short on their power budgets at the end of the year, although Ciupagea said Edison’s $972-million shortfall was “significantly higher than previous undercollections” he’s seen. He said his office at the Public Utilities Commission will scrutinize Edison’s claims during a regulatory proceeding that begins in April.

Los Angeles residents served by the city-run Department of Water and Power aren’t affected by the growing number of cities ditching their investor-owned utilities. CCA customers can opt to return to Edison at any time.

 

Southern California Edison wants departing customers to hand over $125 million, by Sammy Roth, The Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2018.

Solar Alliance signs agreement with Onni Group for 519 kW commercial solar project in Manhattan Beach, California

Solar Alliance Energy Inc. (‘Solar Alliance’) or (the ‘Company’) (TSX-V: SOLR) is pleased to announce it has entered into a definitive agreement with a division of Onni Group (“Onni”) for the design, procurement and construction management services for a 519 kW combined rooftop and carport solar installation at Manhattan Beach Towers, a mid-rise, multi-tenant office building owned by the Vancouver-based developer. Construction will commence this week and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“Solar Alliance is proud to be working with Onni to reduce their carbon footprint,” said Solar Alliance Chairman and CEO Jason Bak. “This is an exciting project for the largest office tower in Manhattan Beach and will provide significant long-term environmental benefits. Our team worked closely with Onni on site assessment, evaluation and design to ensure the solar project meets the needs of Onni. Meeting our customers’ needs is core to our business ethic and results in a solar project that we can all be proud of. The Manhattan Beach Towers solar project is our largest commercial solar project to date in California and is a great example of our ability to provide solar solutions for our clients anywhere in the United States,” said Bak.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held recently at Manhattan Beach Towers with Manhattan Beach Mayor Steve Napolitano and other local dignitaries in attendance.

“It’s always great when our corporate partners step up and do the right thing,” said Steve Napolitano, Mayor of the City of Manhattan Beach. “In this case, going solar benefits their bottom line and everyone’s environment, so it’s truly win-win. I look forward to the project’s completion, and to other businesses following in the footsteps of Manhattan Beach Towers.”

The Manhattan Beach Towers solar project will utilize LG NeON 2 solar modules, Solar Edge inverters and Solar Edge module optimizers. The carport solar array will maximize power output for Manhattan Beach Towers in addition to providing shaded parking for tenants, shielding their vehicles from heat and rain.

Solar Alliance’s design and construction management services (“DCM”) approach for this project is the result of working closely with Onni to determine their needs. The DCM approach includes financial modeling and analysis, evaluation of utility interconnection policies with technical guidance, detailed basis of design including stamped engineering documents and material specifications, bid preparation and solicitation, supply of specified major solar system components and project management.

“The DCM approach we are taking with this project allows us to expand our installation footprint significantly,” said Solar Alliance VP Harvey Abouelata. “While most of the solar industry focuses on a specific local project, our focus is on the customer’s goals. We know what it takes to develop and manage a successful commercial solar project, and as a result we can provide a cost-effective solution that reduces risk and best serves our client. We were pleased to develop this approach with Onni in the Manhattan Beach and we look forward to successfully completing the project ahead.”

The Manhattan Beach Towers project contributes to a record ten-fold year over year increase in Solar Alliance’s pipeline of commercial solar projects. Construction on the project has already commenced and it is expected to be completed early in Q1 2019.

Commercial Solar Installations
Year Installed (kW) Work in Process (kW) Total (kW)
2017 387 387
2018 289 3134 3423* (3.4 MW)

*2.9 MW of work in process projects are expected to be complete by year end, 2018.

About Onni Group (www.onni.com
For over half a century, Onni has been building communities for people to live, work, and play. Our success reflects our commitment to our employees and partners, and our dedication to quality construction, innovation, sustainability, and customer satisfaction. Our expertise expands across North American cities such as Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Phoenix, Toronto, and Vancouver. We’ve constructed over 12,000 new homes, own and manage more than 6,200 rental apartments, built more than 9.5 million square feet of office, retail, and industrial space, and have an additional 24 million square feet of space in different phases of development. Employing thousands of people across North America, Onni is one of the continents largest and most established developers of real estate.

 
For more information:
 
Solar Alliance Sales
(865) 309-4674Solar Alliance Investor Relations
Jason Bak, CEO
(604) 288–9051
jbak@solaralliance.com

Onni Group Media Contact
media@onni.com

About Solar Alliance Energy Inc. (www.solaralliance.com
Solar Alliance is an international energy solutions provider focused on residential, commercial and industrial solar installations. The Company operates in California, Tennessee, North/South Carolina and Kentucky and has an expanding pipeline of solar projects. Since it was founded in 2003, the Company has developed wind and solar projects that provide enough electricity to power 150,000 homes. Our passion is improving life through ingenuity, simplicity and freedom of choice. Solar Alliance reduces or eliminates customers’ vulnerability to rising energy costs, offers an environmentally-friendly source of electricity generation, and provides affordable, turnkey clean energy solutions.

Statements in this news release, other than purely historical information, including statements relating to the Company’s future plans and objectives or expected results, constitute Forward-looking statements. The words “would”, “will”, “expected” and “estimated” or other similar words and phrases are intended to identify forward-looking information. Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the Company’s actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different than those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. Such factors include but are not limited to: uncertainties related to the ability to raise sufficient capital, changes in economic conditions or financial markets, litigation, legislative or other judicial, regulatory and political competitive developments and technological or operational difficulties. Consequently, actual results may vary materially from those described in the forward-looking statements.

“Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.”

Solar Alliance signs agreement with Onni Group for 519 kW commercial solar project in Manhattan Beach, California, Press Release from Solar Alliance, PV Magazine, December 3, 2018.

City to Further Explore Options on Community Choice Aggregation

San Clemente City Councilmembers briefly discussed the potential of starting a feasibility study on Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), which is a process of customers choosing where their energy comes from, even though it’s delivered through existing infrastructure.

Advocates of renewable energy have lauded the CCA model as a way to curb the state’s dependence on non-renewable fuels and fossil fuels. Giving cities the choice as to where their energy comes from could open the door to more wind, solar and other cleaner energy.

There’s not a set timetable as to when the city may reconsider funding the feasibility study. Councilmembers said they would like to discuss the options with neighboring cities before funding the actual study, which would cost about $60,000 to $100,000, according to the city’s staff report.

 

San Clemente to Further Explore Options on Community Choice Aggregation, by Eric Heinz, San Clemente Times, November 29, 2018.

LA Studying Floating Solar Feasibility On Water Reservoir

On July 2, the LA City Council approved a proposal for a 11.6 MW floating solar pilot plant on the Van Norman water reservoir within the LA Department of Water & Power system, in a unanimous vote of present council members. The proposal included instructions for LADWP to report back to the council on the feasibility of the floating solar system program, the next steps of implementation, the optimal system size, how much energy can be created, the environmental offsets, and the economic impact it would have on the city.

Apart from this scoping and impact study, instructions were for the LADPW to prepare bid qualifications for floating solar system providers, including a minimum of 50 MW of such systems already installed, as well as US manufacturing capability. The reservoir is located in Granada Hills, adjacent to two high-voltage transmission lines and the Sylmar Converter Station, making it possible to connect solar energy directly to the grid, according to a Council-commissioned study by the city Energy, Climate Change, and Environmental Justice Committee.

LADWP is the nation’s largest municipal electric utility and supplies over 26 million megawatt-hours each year to approximately 1.5 million electric service connections in Los Angeles, as well as 5,000 customer connections in the Owens Valley, according to the department.

The pilot proposal, sponsored by Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander, also sought an analysis by the LADPW of the potential for reusing the 96 million black plastic floating “shade” balls now covering the reservoir. The committee document noted that “the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires water utilities to cover open-air reservoirs that hold treated water in order to prevent contamination.”

One analysis of the use of the black balls found that “LADWP installed millions of floating black plastic balls over many of its reservoirs to reduce evaporation during California’s drought, at the expense of hundreds of millions of dollars. Two side benefits reported for the initiative included the temperature reduction in the reservoirs, which reduced chlorination costs due to lower levels of algae growth, and reduction in levels of carcinogenic chemicals being synthesized in the water (since such chemical reactions occur in the presence of higher temperatures and higher incidence of sunlight).”

The cost of the pilot, much less of a full-scale plant, has not yet been estimated. The committee study noted that “neither the City Administrative Officer nor the Chief Legislative Analyst has completed a financial analysis of this report.”

Englander told local news station ABC7 in April that, “What we’re looking at is creating some kind of public-private partnership with an opportunity for some vendors to get involved in a power purchase agreement where we’re not actually spending any money, or very little out in front of it, and we’re getting it all in return because we’re generating our own power.”

At the time of the proposal presentation in April, LADWP Chief Operation Officer Marty Adams said, “If we can protect water, protect water quality, protect evaporation and at the same time leverage the space for solar needs to help our plans for the future, we have a great opportunity.”

Adams also said that, “We want to thank Councilman Englander for introducing this motion that will help get the ball(s) rolling here in the City. The Los Angeles reservoirs provide hundreds of acres of local surface area that can be used as a platform for capturing solar energy.”

One of the companies expected to bid on the LADPW project is Ciel & Terre, which has installed floating solar systems in a dozen countries after early deployment in California. “Deploying a floating solar array on manmade bodies of water improves energy production by keeping the solar system cooler. At the same time it reduces evaporation, controls algae growth, and reduces water movement to minimize bank erosion,” said Eva Pauly-Bowles, the representative director for Ciel & Terre USA, based in Petaluma, CA. “Floating solar arrays also make optimal use of pond surfaces, providing clean solar energy without committing expensive real estate or requiring rooftop installations,” she said upon the completion of two floating solar projects in California earlier this month.

 

LA Studying Floating Solar Feasibility On Water Reservoir, by Charles W. Thurston, PV Magazine, November 24, 2018.

UCLA and LADWP to fund water and energy research benefiting customers

UCLA and the city of Los Angeles’s water and power utility have entered a partnership to fund research that will enable the city to manage water supplies more sustainably and become more energy efficient and reliant on clean energy.

Through the partnership, UCLA and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will identify research that would move the city to greater use of recycled water, increase water and energy conservation and efficiency as well as electrification of the transportation network, and the use and production of local water, and also strengthen climate adaptation planning.

“UCLA is excited to work with LADWP as a research partner to answer some of the city’s most critical water and energy sustainability questions,” said Mark Gold, the university’s associate vice chancellor for environment and sustainability.

“This targeted research will assist LADWP, the city and the region in efforts to reduce Los Angeles’ carbon footprint and become even more sustainable in the near future,” said Nancy Sutley, chief sustainability officer for LADWP.

In 2013, the UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge set the goal of transitioning Los Angeles County to 100 percent renewable energy and water self-sufficiency by 2050.

UCLA will administer the $5 million fund and collaborate with universities throughout the city over the next five years.

The agreement also establishes two key committees. The first is the Sustainable LA Research Management Committee co-chaired by Gold, as well as, Martin Adams, LADWP’s chief operating officer, and Sutley. The management committee determines the annual research agenda, projects, budgets and research teams.

In the future, a research advisory subcommittee will be established to provide guidance to the research management committee on potential research projects and faculty research expertise.  The subcommittee includes representatives from each major research university across the city of Los Angeles including Loyola Marymount University, USC, Cal State Northridge and Cal State Los Angeles.

The partnership allows UCLA to work alongside other universities to advance the region in achieving its local water and energy goals as well as the aims of the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge.

Sustainable LA organizes hundreds of faculty and researchers from across campus to reach these ambitious goals, which have positioned UCLA as a key player in regional sustainability efforts like the new project with LADWP.

In September at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate State Bill 100 — California’s 100 percent clean energy bill — into law and announced an executive order directing California to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. This set an even more ambitious goal than Sustainable LA announced at its launch in 2013.

“It’s a clear signal that California and Los Angeles are taking these bold goals seriously,” said LADWP’s Adams.

“Partnering with LADWP and other research universities will accelerate the regions progress to achieve these mandates,” said Gold, who also leads the university’s sustainability focused Grand Challenge.

 

UCLA and LADWP to fund water and energy research benefiting customers, by Asma Mahdi, UCLA Newsroom, November 13, 2018.

L.A. Gas-Fired Power Plants on Hold as DWP Considers Greener Alternatives

By signing into law Senate Bill 100, which sets a goal of 100 percent carbon-free electric power generation by 2045, Governor Jerry Brown not only solidified California’s ongoing transition from fossil fuels, he numbered the days of the state’s gas-fired power plants.

But some new gas plant projects are still on the table. In the South Bay of Los Angeles County three aging plants — Scattergood, Haynes and Harbor — had been slated for replacement with gas-fired generating units that don’t use ocean water. In 2009 the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) required all gas-fired plants that use ocean water to cool them (called “once-through cooling plants”) to be phased out, due to the danger to aquatic organisms.

But last year the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) paused the rebuilding of those three plants to study whether they should continue using natural gas, at least for a few years, or could take the leap into renewable energy as soon as possible. An independent report on the consequences of not rebuilding gas-fired plants, the LADWP told Capital & Main, is due in February.

Energy watchers say it’s not a sure thing that the agency will abandon plans to rebuild these plants to use gas power, despite the state’s 2045 carbon-free mandate and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Sustainable City Plan. One reason, experts say, is the need to protect electric reliability in this densely populated region; another, and possibly more significant one, is bureaucratic inertia.

Michael Wara, director of Stanford University’s Climate and Energy Policy Program, said that some gas plants will be needed for years to accommodate for the occasional mismatch of supply and demand when the sun isn’t shining and wind isn’t blowing.

“Location is important,” Wara said. “You can’t replace a gas plant on Santa Monica Bay with solar farms in the desert yet.”

The other reason LADWP might embrace the status quo – gas power – is the industry’s risk-averse mindset, Wara added. “Change is risky to utilities,” he said.

Evan Gillespie, Western Regional Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, said he hopes LADWP will “clearly state the problems” to the public of taking all gas power off line in the short term, but also enlist green energy companies to show the utility that battery storage for renewables, though costly now, could be cheaper in the long term.

“We want to see RFPs [requests for proposals] to test the market to see how far clean energy can go to replace these plants, rather than the DWP doing the market analysis,” Gillespie said. “I think the clean energy developer community has a penchant for more creativity and they’re inclined to turn over more stones.”

Gillespie, like Wara, said LADWP doesn’t need to retire all three plants now, and that Scattergood, which finished rebuilding one of its units last year, could “let that run for a decade or two” but that the utility should draw the line at starting construction on any more gas-fired units.

LADWP’s initial estimate for rebuilding the three gas-fired plants was $2.2 billion, with a scheduled completion of the final phase in 2029.

The Grayson Power Plant in the inland L.A. suburb of Glendale, is the fourth, and last, gas-fired power plant in the state that might be rebuilt to use fossil fuel. But renovation plans for it, too, were put on hold earlier this year, spurred by intense public pressure, so that the Glendale Water and Power utility could look at renewable alternatives.

In Northern California, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is moving headlong into renewables.  In June,  the company requested approval of four energy storage projects that would replace three gas-fired power plants it manages. The utility also plans to replace a gas plant in Oakland with batteries and multiple solar panels.

LADWP, the largest public utility in the country, could follow PG&E’s lead, Gillespie said. “Replacing two gigawatts of gas with energy storage isn’t easy [for LADWP] but it isn’t impossible.”

Responding to a question about a possible move toward renewable energy, LADWP spokesman Joseph Ramallo said in an email that the department’s planned study would provide a “detailed assessment of a comprehensive set of alternatives” to gas-powered plants and would determine how much the department could reduce natural gas while maintaining system reliability.

In the wake of the 2000-2001 energy crisis, California commissioned many natural gas plants. Wara said that for the next two decades the 200 natural gas plants connected to the grid will be decommissioned, one by one, shuttered by market forces or regulators in a game of “musical chairs.”

A recent independent analysis conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists concluded that California could immediately retire at least 28 of the 89 natural gas plants in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) territory without affecting the stability of the electric grid.

 

L.A. Gas-Fired Power Plants on Hold as DWP Considers Greener Alternatives, by Larry Buhl, Capital & Main, November 12, 2018.

SoCal Municipalities Select 100% Renewable Electricity Default

Last week, the Ventura County, Calif., board of supervisors voted to set a default of 100% renewable electricity when the county launches service through the Clean Power Alliance in 2019, the Sierra Club has announced.

Clean Power Alliance is a Southern California community choice energy provider that will procure cleaner power at lower costs than investor-owned utility Southern California Edison (SCE).

According to the Sierra Club, Ventura County made history by becoming the first county in the country to set a renewable energy default of 100%. Ventura County joins the cities of Ventura, Ojai, South Pasadena, Culver City, Santa Monica, Rolling Hills Estates and West Hollywood in setting the new standard for a future powered by renewable sources, like wind and solar, by selecting the 100% default with Clean Power Alliance. Other cities could join them this week, including Thousand Oaks, Hawaiian Gardens and Oxnard, the Sierra Club says.

For the municipalities with the 100% default, CARE and other low-income customers will have the plan benefit at no additional cost. Local renewable energy development will also create cleaner air and more jobs in the area, explains the Sierra Club.

The community choice energy agency will supply electricity to 3 million people across 31 communities in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Service for residential accounts will begin in February 2019 and in May 2019 for all other non-residential accounts.

Clean Power Alliance procures electricity on behalf of customers in member jurisdictions, while SCE transmits the electricity and handles billing. Customers are automatically enrolled in their city’s default plan but can choose another plan at any time; three renewable energy tiers are available – 36%, 50% and 100%.

The following jurisdictions have currently selected a lower-tier renewable default (36% or 50%) but have until Oct. 31 to increase to 100%: unincorporated Los Angeles County, Agoura Hills, Alhambra, Arcadia, Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Camarillo, Claremont, Carson, Downey, Hawthorne, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Moorpark, Paramount, Redondo Beach, Sierra Madre, Simi Valley, Temple City and Whittier.

“Defaults have immense power to affect social outcomes,” states Michelle Ellison, a Clean Power Alliance board member representing the City of Ojai. “Setting the default at 100 percent is one of the most significant, tangible and immediate ways to dramatically cut polluting emissions. It would take our communities much more time, effort and expense to achieve this progress otherwise. California passed legislation which targets 100 percent clean energy by 2045; the 100 percent default gives communities an opportunity to achieve that goal 25 years ahead of schedule, as early as next year, when service begins.”

 

SoCal Municipalities Select 100% Renewable Electricity Default, by Betsy Lillian, Solar Industry, October 24, 2018.

Solar Energy Projects Take Flight at Van Nuys Airport

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) on Oct. 25, joined with local elected leaders and aviation executives to further embrace sustainable energy with the announcement of solar power generation at Van Nuys general aviation Airport (VNY). VNY business tenant Aeroplex/Aerolease Group showcased the recent operational launch of its solar rooftop and canopy installation — a first at VNY – and six other business tenants also unveiled solar energy project commitments. This is the first installment of solar power generation at a LAWA airport, with future projects projected to come online, pending regulatory approvals. Upon completion of all seven projects presented today, VNY will become one of California’s leading general aviation airports for solar energy production.

The solar projects highlighted in today’s announcement by VNY aviation companies are:

  • Aeroplex/Aerolease Group (system now operational): 1.5 megawatts (MW), rooftop and canopy (the first such installation at VNY)
  • Valley Sod Farm: 13.8 MW, ground-mount unit, which will become the largest ground-mount solar electric system in the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s service territory in the L.A. Basin
  • Castle & Cooke: 1.8 MW, rooftop
  • Clay Lacy Aviation: 1.8 MW, rooftop
  • The Park VNY: 3.3 MW, rooftop and canopy
  • Western Jet Aviation: 1.5 MW, rooftop and canopy
  • Woodley LLC: 3.8 MW, rooftop and canopies

“Since my time on the Los Angeles City Council, I have been a champion of the environment and a proud advocate for renewable energy,” said Congressman Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), whose district includes VNY. “We must encourage clean energy alternatives for powering our state and nation, and we also must better address the tremendous challenges of man-made global climate change.”

He added, “The solar projects at Van Nuys Airport will provide important contributions to environmental improvement, as well as examples for other businesses and organizations in our region and state to follow.”

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez, whose council district includes VNY, noted the importance of these solar energy projects in improving the quality of life in Van Nuys and surrounding areas. Besides significantly reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the projects will also eliminate approximately 212,700 pounds of sulfur dioxide and 14,500 pounds of asthma particles each year.

“The Van Nuys Airport has always been an economic engine for both the Valley and entire region. Now, with these solar projects and other initiatives, toxins from the area will be removed due to renewable power,” said Councilwoman Martinez. “The solar projects not only mean a huge step forward in making our community green, but they also mean the first step toward future development, which includes ground-mounted power to alleviate the burden of local engine noise and fumes.”

When energized, all of the systems combined will produce approximately 44.6 million kilowatt-hours annually — enough to power about 8,000 homes each year. In addition, the projects will annually reduce more than 73.3 million pounds of CO2 emissions.

“At Los Angeles World Airports, we are harnessing the power of the sun to deliver gold standard airports that lead in environmental sustainability,” said Deborah Flint, chief executive officer, LAWA. “We are grateful to our tenants at Van Nuys Airport, who are innovating and partnering on this solar initiative, which is both good for the environment and good for business.”

For the third consecutive year, LAWA has been recognized as a leader in reducing carbon emissions. Both VNY and LAX recently were recognized as carbon-accredited at the Airports Council International-North America annual conference. These accreditation renewals reflect LAWA’s independently verified commitment to reduce air pollutant emissions in line with publicly published reduction goals. LAWA also operates the LAX FlyAway Nonstop Bus Service, which saved over 80,000 vehicle miles – and its associated carbon footprint – from being driven.

The CO2 reduction from today’s current and announced solar power projects and commitments equates to planting almost 15,600 trees, or to saving more than 119.1 million car miles driven in a year. Given that the average driver puts in about 13,500 miles each year, this translates into taking more than 8,800 cars off of our roads annually.

These new clean energy initiatives demonstrate a successful partnership between VNY business tenants and PCS Energy, the solar provider that will install the panels for all of the projects. Under power purchase agreements, PCS Energy will supply the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power with 100 percent of the energy produced for the next 20 years.

Matt Petersen, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), applauded LAWA, VNY and the tenants implementing solar projects.

“Our future depends on our ability to rapidly build and implement cleantech and solar technologies like the ones we are celebrating today,” he said. “Los Angeles is now a recognized leader on those efforts, with the largest green economy in the nation. That has been at the heart of my life’s work and why my organization, LACI, creates critical public/private partnerships in our city and beyond. We know that no one person or organization can solve our climate change challenges, but together we can solve almost anything.”

A coalition of international aviation organizations announced that an event will be hosted at VNY in January to reaffirm the general aviation industry’s commitment to advancing the development and adoption of Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel (SAJF). “Business Jets Fuel Green: A Step Toward Sustainability” will demonstrate that SAJF can become a mainstream, drop-in alternative for today’s general aviation aircraft.

 

Solar Energy Projects Take Flight at Van Nuys Airport, by Los Angeles World Aiports, Aviation Pros, October 25, 2018.

Santa Monica Approves Default Renewable Energy Tiers

SANTA MONICA, CA – The Santa Monica City Council approved selecting 100% renewable energy as the default product for all residential electricity customers beginning in February 2019, it was announced Wednesday. The 100% renewable energy tier is one of several options for residents and businesses that will be served electricity by the Clean Power Alliance (CPA) of Southern California, a Community Choice Aggregation program, the City of Santa Monica press release said.

The CPA will offer three tiers of electricity sourced from renewable energy – 100%, 50% and 36%. The 100% renewable energy tier will be applied to all Santa Monica residents who don’t opt out or select another option, which means consumers who do not proactively select a preferred tier will be automatically opted in to the cleanest source, the city said. The City of Santa Monica is required to select a default rate option for electricity generated from renewable resources as a member of the CPA of Southern California, according to the press.

“Using electricity through renewable electricity sources is the most substantial action Santa Monica can take to achieve carbon neutrality,” said Dean Kubani, Chief Sustainability Officer and Assistant Director of Public Works. “Santa Monicans will now know where their power is coming from and, for the first time, have multiple renewable options.”

The new rates will begin to appear on March electric utility bills. Low-income qualified customers (CARE or FERA) would receive the same discount on their rates and experience no net increase in cost compared to Southern California Edison rates; the CPA will initiate service for commercial properties in summer 2019, the press release said.

The CPA is made up of 31 public agencies across Los Angeles and Ventura counties, including Santa Monica, working together to bring clean, renewable power choices to local communities, the press release said. As the CPA service begins, customers will receive a total of four notices via mail before and after the switch from SCE to CPA. The first notice is scheduled to be mailed at least two months before service launch and will include additional details, including instructions on how to choose a different percentage of renewable content and customer support contact information, the press release said.

 

Santa Monica Approves Default Reusable Energy Tiers, by Emily Holland, Santa Monica Patch, October 25, 2018.  

Clean Power Alliance Launches Winter 2019

MALIBU—The city of Malibu revealed that the Clean Power Alliance (CPA) a new, locally controlled electricity provider in Southern California includes Malibu and 30 other cities, will launch in February 2019.

According to the city of Malibu website, CPA will provide the energy for Malibu and with a fee that replaces what Southern California Edison (SCE) would have charged. SCE will deliver the power via their lines and wires and continue to charge a fee for that service. There will be no duplication of fees, as the fees are for different types of services.

The Clean Power Alliance provides the opportunity for customers to choose cleaner power at competitive rates, in addition to providing creative energy programs and local economic benefits. Over the course of 2018-2019, Clean Power Alliance will start providing electricity to nearly 3 million people and about 1 million Southern California customers in communities across areas of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. It launched its first phase of service in February 2018, delivering electricity to County of Los Angeles municipal accounts and becomes available to Malibu in February 2019 (phase 3).

Residents and business can select from three new, competitively-priced options for your electricity: Lean Power (36 percent renewable), Clean Power (50 percent renewable), and Green Power (100 percent renewable). To obtain more information about rates and options visit http://cleanpoweralliance.org/rate-options.  To obtain details about the program visit http://cleanpoweralliance.org.

 

Clean Power Alliance Launches Winter 2019, by Donald Roberts, Canyon News, October 25, 2018.