PG&E Or EBCE? This Will Help You Choose

BERKELEY, CA — Did you know that Berkeley residents now have a choice in electric service?

A workshop will be held this month that will explain how you can have wind, solar or other greener sources of electricity come to your home through existing power lines.

Through a process that pools the buying power of many Alameda County cities, cleaner sources of energy are available for your home or business for no more than you currently pay.

This county-created program, authorized locally by the Berkeley City Council, allows residents and businesses to use renewable or other clean power bought for them by East Bay Community Energy, a joint powers authority formed in 2016.

Learn about your choices as an East Bay Community Energy customer.

East Bay Community Energy
Berkeley’s new choices for clean energy
Thursday, June 14
6 – 7:30 p.m.
South Berkeley Senior Center
2939 Ellis Street
Light refreshments
Wheelchair accessible
Please RSVP

In the fall, Berkeley residents will be given a choice to become a customer of EBCE or continue to purchase their power from PG&E. East Bay Community Energy began serving commercial customers this month.

Since 2000, Berkeley has reduced all of its greenhouse gas emissions by 12 percent.

East Bay Community Energy purchases electricity from clean sources such as solar and wind on behalf of Alameda County residents and businesses. PG&E will continue to deliver electricity and gas to your home or business, maintain the power lines, respond to outages and provide billing and customer service. As a customer, it would look and feel the same.

Customers in special programs, such as the income-qualified CARE Program, can participate in East Bay Community Energy and will continue to receive discounted rates. You can learn more about your electricity service options on the agency’s website.

The Berkeley City Council approved East Bay Community Energy as a source of electricity for Berkeley in November 2016 and, this April, voted to select the agency’s 100 percent carbon-free electricity service. The decisions slashed the City of Berkeley’s municipal greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent.

The city’s Climate Action Plan targets an 80 percent reduction of the city’s greenhouse gases by 2050 based on 2000 levels.

Learn more about the choices and options available to you at our June 14 meeting.

-Announcement from City of Berkeley


PG&E Or EBCE? This Will Help You Choose, by Bea Karnes, The Patch, June 8, 2018.

Local Governments Look to All-Electric Buildings to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Governments looking for ways to slash fossil fuel use and meet their greenhouse gas reduction goals are turning to their increasingly carbon-free grids to decarbonize buildings.

The Board of Supervisors in Marin County, California recently approved energy-efficiency updates to its green building requirements that include provisions providing a compliance pathway for all-electric buildings. The updated standards apply to new buildings in unincorporated areas of the county.

In an interview, Alice Zanmiller, sustainability planner with Marin County’s Community Development Agency, said the move to encourage all-electric buildings is directly connected to the increased availability of renewable electricity in the county.

The baseline electricity mix offered by MCE, the community-choice aggregator that supplies electricity to Marin County and more than a dozen other San Francisco Bay Area jurisdictions, is 50 percent renewable. Customers can opt for the 100 percent renewable energy “Deep Green” option for a slight premium.

With a much cleaner grid, said Zanmiller, the county “recogniz[ed] that these new buildings are really opportunities to reduce our ongoing natural-gas use.”

“And for homes that do want to be mixed-fuel homes,” she added, “we’re requiring higher levels of efficiency to reduce the natural-gas use.”

Marin County will similarly require higher levels of efficiency for new large homes. Under the new standards, mixed-fuel homes larger than 4,000 square feet must be 35 percent more efficient than required under state code and generate as much electricity onsite as used in a year. All-electric large homes must be 20 percent more efficient than state code and install at least 2.5 kilowatts of solar.

The all-electric option could be particularly effective in reducing fossil fuel use and emissions in western Marin County, said Zanmiller. Many homeowners there do not have natural-gas service and use propane instead.

“We’re hoping electricity will be a good alternative, especially for folks who live in areas without natural gas,” said Zanmiller. “We’re starting to look at our building code less from an energy-use perspective than from the associated carbon content.”

This week, the California Energy Commission (CEC) will vote on whether to permit Marin County to implement its updated building energy-efficiency standards. California law permits cities and counties to adopt building energy standards more aggressive than the state baseline if the standards are deemed cost-effective and are approved by the CEC.

Zanmiller said Marin County’s inclusion of an all-electric compliance option was modeled on an all-electric exception to the City of Palo Alto’s Energy Reach Code that took effect in 2017. For both the Marin County and Palo Alto codes, “all-electric” buildings mean those in which electricity is the only permanent source of energy for space and water heating, space cooling, cooking and clothes drying.

Building a market for all-electric homes

Despite the pioneering efforts by Marin County and the City of Palo Alto to promote the construction of all-electric buildings, it’s still a nascent market.

Greentech Media reported this spring on the challenges that one San Francisco Bay Area family faced when it set out — successfully, in the end — to swap all of its gas-burning appliances for electric models.

Marin County is eager to raise awareness that all-electric homes are feasible today. The county was recently awarded a grant of just under $300,000 from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to launch a building-decarbonization pilot project.

“We’ll provide direct incentives to homeowners across Marin County who swap out natural-gas appliances for high-efficiency all-electric ones, such as heat pumps (water and space) and induction cooktops,” said Zanmiller.

She added, “We’re hoping the outcome is that folks will understand the steps, barriers and resources available to make their existing house all-electric. We’ll complete a survey and report out on lessons learned and resources developed through the process to share with other local governments.”

Legislation now before the California legislature could accelerate the creation of a market for all-electric, zero-carbon homes. AB 3232, which passed out of the Assembly on May 29, would require the CEC to assess the potential for California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings by 40 percent by 2030.

The next day, the State Senate passed SB 1477, which would establish an incentive program for low-carbon space and water heating equipment modeled on the California Solar Initiative, which helped to establish the rooftop solar market in the state. Both bills must first be approved by lawmakers in their current chamber before being sent to Gov. Jerry Brown.

California’s new solar roof mandate is likewise seen as a necessary step in the transition to electrified, zero-emission buildings in the state.

Alice Zanmiller sees in all the activity a determination to tackle emissions from buildings, the source of one-quarter of California’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s an exciting time,” she said. “The conversation has shifted quickly.”

She added that even two years ago, she hadn’t really thought much about building electrification.

But “as more jurisdictions around the Bay Area and statewide have community-choice aggregation, and that electricity continues to get cleaner,” she said, “it’s a really good opportunity and time for it.”


Local Governments Look to All-Electric Buildings to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, by Justin Gerdes, Greentech Media, June 11, 2018.

Napa Sanitation District could get nation’s largest floating solar farm on ponds

Napa Sanitation District’s sprawling water storage ponds south of the city of Napa could become home to floating solar-panel islands on a scale yet to be seen in the state or nation.

Ciel & Terre USA wants to cover 52 acres of the ponds with solar arrays to generate electricity for either PG&E or Marin Clean Energy. That’s an area about the size of the Vintage High School campus, five times the size of Napa’s downtown Fuller Park, bigger than 39 football fields.

If all goes as planned, in about two years the solar islands could be generating 23.5 megawatts of electricity for the power grid, enough to power several thousand homes. Think of the concept as solar panels on floats that are anchored.

“This would be the largest floating solar in the United States,” said Eva Pauly-Bowles of Ciel & Terre, a France-based company with an office in Petaluma.

Ciel & Terre USA is entering a 24-month lease with Napa San while it completes its engineering analysis and seeks a connection agreement with PG&E. If the project proves feasible, the company and Napa San would enter into a 25-year lease for the ponds. The Napa San Board of Directors on Wednesday approved the move.

Floating solar arrays have been built at locations around the world. China reportedly is working on the world’s largest, able to generate six times the electricity as the proposed Napa San project, on a lake that formed over a collapsed coal mine.

For that matter, the idea isn’t new to Napa County. Far Niente winery in 2008 installed a floating solar array on its irrigation pond to provide power for the business.

Napa San at its sewage treatment plant along the Napa River has four ponds covering about 342 acres, or a half-square-mile. They can be as much as 10 feet deep. The district uses the ponds to help treat wastewater during high-flow, stormy winter months, with bacteria and algae providing natural purification.

Ponds three and four, the ones that would be used by Ciel & Terre, contain water that has been through this natural treatment process and is being stored, Napa San Director of Administrative Services Jeff Tucker said.

Pauly-Bowles sees the ponds as space for solar that doesn’t conflict with wine country vineyards or is shaded. Land is extremely expensive in the Napa and Sonoma valleys, she said. Ciel & Terre approached Napa San about using the ponds.

Floating solar panels on the surface of a pond block sunlight needed for algae growth. Tucker said this algae-fighting feature on ponds three and four would save the district $100,000 annually in chemicals.

“We anticipate they’ll actually be a benefit to us,” Tucker said. “It will kill algae a few days before it enters our plants to remove algae. It’s easier to remove dead algae.”

The big question about the proposed floating solar project is whether it will become a reality. A project proposed by a different company for Sonoma Clean Power recently failed before it was built.

Sonoma Clean Power spokeswoman Kate Kelly said that local electricity provider in April canceled plans to build 12.5 megawatts of floating solar on Sonoma County Water Agency treated wastewater ponds. It terminated a contract with Pristine Sun Fund 8, LLC.

Reasons for the termination include higher than-anticipated costs for the PG&E interconnection, a U.S. International Trade Commission trade dispute resulting in tariffs for solar technology and state Division of Safety of Dams requirements for the anchor design, a Sonoma Clean Power information sheet said.

“Fortunately, the town of Windsor and some wineries are building floating behind-the-meter systems,” the Sonoma Clean Energy release said. “We believe our project helped raise awareness for floating solar technology and spurred these projects on.”

Ciel & Terre has focused on floating solar power since 2011 and manufactures its systems in seven countries. Pauly-Bowles said the company has three regional projects planned for this year – one at the Windsor reclamation plant, one at a Dixon irrigation reservoir and one at a Lake County water treatment plant.

The projects will provide power for those individual users. The proposed Napa San project is different in that it is to supply power for the grid and is much larger, Pauly-Bowles said.

The lease for the Napa San project has Ciel & Terre paying the district $10,000 during the option period. If the project goes forward, a 25-year lease would bring Napa San $80,000 annually, plus inflation. Starting in the eighth year, the district would receive an amount for electricity generation that could come to $70,000 annually.

Napa Sanitation District could get nation’s largest floating solar farm on ponds, by Barry Eberling, The Napa Valley Register, June 9, 2018.

sPower and CleanPowerSF Sign Long-Term PPA for 100 MW of Solar

SALT LAKE CITY–(BUSINESS WIRE)–sPower, the largest private owner of operating solar assets in the United States, has signed a 22-year, 100 MW solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with CleanPowerSF, a California Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) managed by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) that serves the City and County of San Francisco. The energy will be sold from sPower’s San Pablo Raceway Solar Project located in Lancaster, California.

San Pablo Raceway is expected to be commercially operational in 2019 and generate enough renewable energy to power over 87,000 average San Francisco households. The project will create approximately 500 positions during its construction and 10 full time positions during operation.

“We are thrilled to partner with sPower and deliver on our promise to invest in renewable energy projects and ensure clean, safe and reliable energy for our customers for years to come,” said Barbara Hale, SFPUC Assistant General Manager for Power.

“We are excited to partner with CleanPowerSF to provide clean renewable solar energy for San Francisco,” said Hans Isern, SVP of Power Marketing at sPower.

The San Pablo Raceway Project will be part of sPower’s large solar portfolio in the Antelope Valley, which totals over 600 MW. This is the fourth PPA sPower has signed with CCAs in California.

About CleanPowerSF:

CleanPowerSF is a not-for-profit program that launched in 2016 with a mission to provide San Francisco electricity customers with the choice of having their electricity supplied from clean, renewable sources at a competitive price. In partnership with PG&E, CleanPowerSF is now serving cleaner energy to more than 80,000 San Francisco customers (and counting).

About sPower:

sPower, an AES and AIMCo company, is the largest private owner of operating solar assets in the United States. sPower owns and operates a portfolio of solar and wind assets greater than 1.3 GW and has a development pipeline of more than 10 GW. sPower is owned by a joint venture partnership between The AES Corporation (NYSE: AES), a worldwide energy company headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, and the Alberta Investment Management Corporation, one of Canada’s largest and most diversified institutional investment fund managers. For more information, visit


Camille Press, 801-679-3542
Communications Specialist


sPower and CleanPowerSF Sign Long-Term PPA for 100 MW of Solar, by Camille Press, BusinessWire, June 7, 2018.

Sonoma Clean Power Announces Energy Analyst Training

From Sonoma Clean Power :

In support of the Advanced Energy Rebuild ProgramSonoma Clean Power, PG&E, and Energy Code Ace will be offering trainings and tests in Santa Rosa to help train more local energy analysts that can support rebuilding efforts.

The Certified Energy Analyst test will be offered Friday June 22, 2018 from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM at the County of Sonoma Workforce Development Training Center (575 Administration Drive, Suite 117C, Santa Rosa, CA 95403).  Click here to register for the exam.  Sonoma Clean Power will be offering a discount of $100 off the exam fee for Sonoma Clean Power customers. To receive your discount code for $100, please email with your current PG&E account service address.

To prepare for the test, join us for a free training at Sonoma Clean Power (50 Santa Rosa Avenue, 5th floor, Santa Rosa, CA 95404) on Friday June 15th from 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM.  The full-day workshop will focus on preparing candidates to take the multiple-choice and modeling portions of the Residential Certified Energy Analyst (CEA) exam administered through CABEC. The workshop includes:

• Key information about how the exam was developed, exam competencies and objectives
• Sample questions
• Study resources
• Exam-taking tips
• Hands-on modeling of a sample project

Click here to register for this free class.  Please click on the link below for additional in-person and on-demand trainings to prepare for the Certified Energy Analyst exam.


California School District Celebrates Nine New Solar Projects

On Thursday, renewable energy developer ForeFront Power and Los Altos School District (LASD) in California celebrated the completion of solar canopy systems across nine LASD schools.

The ceremony, which took place at Oak Avenue Elementary School, also included Sunworks, the primary construction contractor, and TerraVerde Energy, the district’s procurement consultant. The 1.4 MW portfolio is now delivering renewable energy to the schools at a price below the grid rate, according to ForeFront Power.

LASD is receiving solar energy at no upfront cost and without the use of bond funds, thanks to a power purchase agreement (PPA) framework with ForeFront Power. Through the PPA, ForeFront Power is responsible for all project financing, engineering, construction, and operations and maintenance for a 20-year project term. As a result, the solar portfolio is expected to save the district over $175,000 annually and up to $2.7 million within the first 10 years of operation, the developer estimates.

“The Los Altos School District has a history of financial prudence and commitment to providing top-notch education for every single one of our students. The completion of this project immediately begins a cost-savings that will contribute to quality education in all of our schools,” says Superintendent Jeff Baier.

LASD, which operates seven elementary and two junior high schools, serves more than 4,500 K-8 students from portions of Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View and Palo Alto.

ForeFront Power notes it coordinated closely with LASD to construct and complete the systems during the school year with minimal impact to school activities.

“Not only were our projects successfully completed, but we also gained infrastructure for future electric vehicle charging and improved [Americans with Disabilities Act] compliance. The cost-savings are crucial and a great benefit for our students and teachers,” says LASD’s chief business official, Randy Kenyon.

ForeFront Power also included data acquisition systems that integrate with online system performance monitoring software and flat screen televisions that were installed in the front office of each school. All schools will also receive free solar energy lesson plans and curricula through ForeFront Power’s partnership with Schools Power.

“These projects highlight our desire to fully integrate solar energy into the learning environment at each school,” comments Daniel Taylor, ForeFront Power’s chief strategy officer. “From shade on the playground to hands-on activities in the classroom, we hope students will understand the myriad impacts of on-site solar energy.”

Chuck Cargile, CEO of Sunworks, adds, “We are proud to have been the EPC solutions provider for this exciting solar project. The savings in utility costs at each of the nine locations will allow for funds to be redirected to advance educational program initiatives that directly benefit the students. In addition, the positive results help tomorrow’s generation understand the positive impact that sustainable energy has on our environment.”


California School District Celebrates Nine New Solar Projects, by Betsy Lillian, Solar Industry, May 25, 2018.

MCE Receives Investment-Grade Credit Rating from Moody’s

San Rafael and Concord, Calif. — On May 16, Moody’s Investors Service assigned a first-time Baa2 Issuer Rating to MCE. Moody’s Issuer Rating is an independent assessment of MCE’s financial strength over the long term, and MCE’s outlook is stable. MCE is the first Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program to obtain an investment-grade credit rating.

“MCE is pleased to have reached this important milestone in our history. An investment-grade credit rating reflects our firm commitment to ensuring MCE’s financial strength and enabling the agency to continue delivering on its mission. It will enable MCE to purchase renewable energy at even better prices and pass those benefits on to its customers,” said Dawn Weisz, CEO of MCE. “A Baa2 Issuer Rating from Moody’s further validates the CCA model in California and its ability to offer affordable, renewable and reliable service to customers.”

The Baa2 Issuer Rating reflects the strength of the California Joint Power Agency (JPA) statute and the MCE JPA agreement, which together underpin MCE’s creation and business model, and fortifies the ongoing stability of its existing customer base.

The rating further recognizes the local Board-regulated rate-setting authority afforded to MCE, its established track record of operations, consistently improving financial performance, and the economic strengths within its growing service area. At year-end FY 2017, MCE had unrestricted cash of $37 million, supplemented by a $25 million committed line of credit that has no conditionality for advances. MCE projects cash on hand to exceed $60 million by FY 2019. MCE’s working capital needs are modest, and MCE is typically able to generate positive cash flow each month.

Several prominent institutional investors in California renewable projects require that energy buyers, such as MCE, have an investment grade credit rating. The benefits of a Baa2 credit rating include:

  • the potential to receive lower energy prices and improved credit terms for future contracts;
  • access to new sources of energy supply;
  • validation of the CCA business model from an internationally-recognized rating agency; and
  • assurance for customers that MCE’s financial strength is sound and that it will continue to be a reliable source of energy and services over the long term.

Moody’s recognized that a key aspect of the value offered by MCE and other California CCAs is the requirement that renewable and carbon-free energy be a major component of customers’ power supply mix. This value is one of the most significant contributing factors to the strength of the long-term business model. During 2017, MCE projects that renewable energy accounted for 62% of its retail sales, and that 89% of energy came from greenhouse gas-free sources.

Read Moody’s full press release here.


MCE Receives Investment-Grade Credit Rating from Moody’s, by Kalicia Pivirotto, The RE-source by Marin Clean Energy, May 29, 2018.

SF aims for fully electric bus fleet by 2035

The City’s transit authority passed a resolution Tuesday to convert its hybrid buses to a fully electric fleet by 2035.

The resolution calls for buses purchased after 2025 to be 100 percent battery powered and the entire San Francisco fleet to be completely electric by 2035.

While advocates say that transition can’t come soon enough, city officials said it could cost San Francisco hundreds of millions of dollars.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority is moving toward transitioning the more than 800 buses in its fleet to run on battery-powered energy that simply plugs in and charges, “similar to a Prius,” according to agency officials.

However, John Haley, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s transit director, said “It will cost us hundreds of millions of dollars” to get the charging network installed in city garages and facilities.

Green energy advocates think that the 2035 goal is too conservative, and note that Los Angeles recently promised that their city buses would be completely electric five years sooner.

“We think staff is being a little overly conservative, we have transportation agencies up and down the state who are on a much faster time schedule,” said Paul Cort, an attorney at EarthJustice. “The idea that somehow we should be slower than some place like L.A., or even Stockton, is a little frustrating.”

The agency said that the cost of converting the fleet, paired with the unproven battery technology in the new, electric buses, are reasons to remain cautious.

“We would rather underpromise than underdeliver,” said Ed Reiskin, the SFMTA’s director of transportation.

The transit agency will start test-running a 100 percent battery-powered bus within the next 30 days on routes where hybrid buses that use diesel fuel run, Haley confirmed.

If the battery-powered electric bus proves to be as efficient as the hybrid buses currently in service, the 256 buses that have the capacity to be retrofitted with a bigger battery will begin transitioning to be fully electric, according to Haley.

The city agency will begin rolling out “green zones” where buses that produce zero emissions can begin testing new routes, but that start time is dependent on the success of the battery-powered bus pilot next month, Haley said.

“We see the battery technology advancing quickly, so we’re all in for that,” Haley said. “But,we see the facilities conversion to be long and expensive.”


SF aims for fully electric bus fleet by 2035, by Sadie Gribbon, The San Francisco Examiner, May 15, 20

Peninsula Clean Energy Provides Visa Corporate Campus 100% Renewable Electricity

REDWOOD CITY, CA – May 8, 2018 – Visa Inc.’s (NYSE: V) corporate campus in Foster City, CA has enrolled in Peninsula Clean Energy’s (PCE) ECO100 program, committing to transition to 100 percent renewable energy delivered by PCE.  Peninsula Clean Energy is San Mateo County’s official electricity supplier.

Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, is one of the largest participants in Peninsula Clean Energy’s optional ECO100 product that is available to all of PCE’s 290,000 customers in San Mateo County. Visa’s enrollment will prevent between 1,400 to 1,800 tons of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere compared to conventional energy sources. Visa highlighted the partnership with PCE on its blog celebrating the company’s celebration of Earth Day.

“The decision by Visa to enroll in the Peninsula Clean Energy ECO100 product helps make Visa a corporate leader in the transition to renewable energy,” said CEO Jan Pepper of Peninsula Clean Energy. “Visa is one of our biggest customers, and its choice to go 100 percent renewable is an important indicator of its environmental commitment to our communities.”

“Visa is proud to lead in the transition to 100 percent renewable electricity in San Mateo County,” said Douglas Sabo, vice president and head of Corporate Responsibility and Philanthropy at Visa Inc. “Our enrollment in ECO100 will help us meet our goal of transitioning to 100 percent renewable electricity use across our global operations by the end of 2019 and is another example of delivering on our promise to operate responsibly, ethically and sustainably.”

About Peninsula Clean Energy
Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) is San Mateo County’s official electricity provider. PCE ( is a public, locally controlled community choice energy program that provides all electric customers in San Mateo County the choice of having electricity supplied from clean, renewable sources at lower rates. PCE, 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. PCE serves approximately 290,000 accounts.

Kirsten Andrews-Schwind
Peninsula Clean Energy
kandrews-schwind (at)


Peninsula Clean Energy Provides Visa Corporate Campus 100% Renewable Electricity [Press Release], Peninsula Clean Energy, May 8, 2018.

PG&E, Sonoma Clean Power offer wildfire rebuild energy incentives

Sonoma Clean Power and PG&E – each a provider of power to customers in parts of the North Bay – announced a partnership with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) offering up to $17,500 in incentives specifically for October fire victims who chose to rebuild with energy efficient features and equipment such as electric vehicle charging stations and water-efficient landscaping.

Called Advanced Energy Rebuild Program, it is an enhancement to PG&E’s long-standing California Advanced Homes Program and offers two incentive packages specially tailored to Sonoma and Mendocino county homes, according to Sonoma Clean Power, which provides electricity for customers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

“We’ve been working closely with our partner agencies and homeowners to design a program that truly represents the need of the community and helps residents rebuild more resilient, energy efficient homes,” stated Rachel Kuykendall, programs manager at Sonoma Clean Power.

The announcement stated it the first time PG&E and Sonoma Clean Power have partnered on the program which is billed as offering multiple levels of participation and can be accessed through a single application process.

According to the program’s website, the reimbursement increases based on the number of energy saving items, such as building a roof able to take the load of solar panels, to the installation solar panels themselves, to high efficiency water heaters.

Incentives are only available to SCP and PG&E customers for homes in Sonoma and Mendocino counties that were destroyed in the October 2017 wildfires.

For more information, requirements or to apply, or email


PG&E, Sonoma Clean Power offer wildfire rebuild energy incentives, by North Bay Business Journal Staff, North Bay Business Journal, May 4, 2018.