Goldman Sachs Becomes Solar Supplier to California CCAs as Its Acquisition Spree Continues

Canadian Solar subsidiary Recurrent Energy has sold its remaining equity stake in the 100-megawatt Mustang solar project, a key resource for California’s flagship community-choice aggregators, to the Renewable Power Group of Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

Thursday’s deal completes Recurrent’s sale of equity stakes in the 973 megawatts of solar it brought online in 2016 in California. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Canadian Solar will report sales revenue from Mustang in the second quarter of 2019.

The deal, approved by federal regulators in late March, will include the sale of Recurrent’s Class B ownership interests in the 30-megawatt Mustang, 40-megawatt Mustang 3 and 30-megawatt Mustang 4 facilities, while passive tax equity investors will continue to own all noncontrolling Class A membership interests, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Read more

San Francisco eyes PG&E utility’s grid assets for ‘total power independence’

As Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and its parent company PG&E Corp. struggle to formulate a plan of reorganization in their joint Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding, their hometown of San Francisco is advancing a plan of escape.

San Francisco’s exploration of full independence from the utility through the possible purchase of its electric distribution assets serving the city is entering the next phase, according to a preliminary report released May 13.

“While any sort of acquisition of [Pacific Gas and Electric, or PG&E] property would be a lengthy process, the preliminary report shows that public ownership of San Francisco’s electric grid has the potential for significant long-term benefits relative to investment costs and risks,” Harlan Kelly, general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, said in a letter to Mayor London Breed accompanying the report.

“Initial research shows total power independence would make meeting the city’s goal of being 100% carbon neutral by 2030 much less difficult,” Kelly added, while also leading to “more stable rates and more transparency for customers.”

The report follows a March 14 letter from Breed and City Attorney Dennis Herrera to top executives at PG&E Corp. underscoring the city’s “seriousness” of a possible takeover offer for PG&E power lines that serve the city and county of San Francisco, where the utility is based.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission already supplies power to the city’s municipal operations from hydroelectric power plants within its Hetch Hetchy Power System, as well as solar facilities on city property, and also procures power for retail electric customers through CleanPowerSF, a local power agency set up under California’s community choice aggregation model. But San Francisco still relies on PG&E to deliver the vast majority of power derived from Hetch Hetchy and CleanPowerSF.

SCENARIOS

Scenarios explored in the report game out three options for San Francisco’s future relationship with the embattled utility, ranging from a continuation of the status quo to San Francisco’s “full independence from PG&E.” Under the latter, the public utility would purchase PG&E’s physical assets in and near San Francisco for a roughly estimated “few billion dollars” to serve some 400,000 accounts with a collective peak power demand of 1,000 MW, according to the preliminary report. The asset purchase would be funded by revenue bonds.

Under the full independence model, San Francisco would also offer employment to PG&E’s union and other employees that currently manage the local grid, the report said.

“The next phase of the analysis will go deeper,” Kelly added in his letter to the mayor, by exploring the impacts of acquiring PG&E’s distribution assets on affordability, safety, reliability, workforce, environmental justice, neighborhood revitalization and community engagement. “This analysis will also include the impact of San Francisco’s departure from the larger PG&E system on other ratepayers across California,” he said.

— Garrett Hering, S&P Global Market Intelligence, newsdesk@spglobal.com

— Edited by Pankti Mehta, newsdesk@spglobal.com

 

San Francisco eyes PG&E utility’s grid assets for ‘total power independence’, by Garrett Hering, S&P Global, May 14, 2019.

CalCCA Statement on Moody’s Assigning Investment-Grade Credit Rating to PCE

The California Community Choice Association (CalCCA) congratulates Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) onobtaining a Baa2 Issuer Rating from Moody’s Investors Service.

PCE’s achievement of an investmentgrade credit rating speaks to the inherent strengths of the CCA business model in California, and the leadership role CCAs are playing in the state’s efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions and transition to cleaner energy resources,” said Beth Vaughan, executive director of CalCCA.

The benefits of a credit rating include the potential to negotiate lower energy prices and improved creditterms for future power purchasing needs, PCE noted in a May 6 news release. “This credit rating assures regulators and legislators that PCE’s financial strength is sound and, in light of PG&E’s bankruptcy filing, the CCA business model provides a stable framework for serving customers and advancing the state’s low carbon energy future,” PCE said.

PCE provides Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) service to all cities and unincorporated areas in San Mateo County and is the second aggregator in California to be assigned a credit rating by Moody’s in the past year. MCE, which serves 34 communities across four Bay Area counties (Napa, Marin, Contra Costa, and Solano), obtained a Baa2 Issuer Rating in May 2018. Moody’s Issuer Rating is an independent assessment of the ability of entities to honor senior unsecured financial obligations and contracts.

###

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

For more information about CalCCA visit www.cal-cca.org.

San Francisco May Make PG&E a Multibillion-Dollar Offer in Weeks

(Bloomberg) — San Francisco may make a multibillion-dollar bid within months for some assets owned by California power giant PG&E Corp.

Mayor London Breed told the utility owner in March that the city may submit a formal offer for its electric distribution system in San Francisco “within the coming months” if the acquisition proves feasible, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission said in the report Monday. The agency estimated that the fair market value of the assets is “in the range of a few billion dollars.”

The report takes San Francisco one step closer to an offer that city officials have been talking about since PG&E filed for bankruptcy in January under the weight of an estimated $30 billion in liabilities from wildfires. In light of the Chapter 11 filing, Breed asked the utilities commission to evaluate how the city could ensure its power supplies remained affordable, reliable and in compliance with climate goals.

“This preliminary report demonstrates that public ownership of San Francisco’s electric grid has the potential for significant long‐term benefits,” the agency said, noting that an acquisition would also “eliminate the roadblocks, delays, and costs” that the city faces in working with PG&E.

PG&E shares fell 2 percent to close at $18.23 on Monday after rising to as high as $18.37 on the news. The company said in a statement that it is committed to working with San Francisco, where its roots date back more than a century. “We look forward to reviewing the city’s analysis, and appreciate the city’s open and transparent dialogue on the subject,” PG&E said.

The office of Governor Gavin Newsom didn’t respond to requests for comment. In April, Newsom raised the prospect of a government takeover if the company continued to be “bad actors.”

Breed said in a statement that it’s “in the long-term interest of our city to continue down this path,” describing it as a “unique opportunity.”

The utilities commission would sell revenue bonds to buy the assets, pointing in the report to past successful offerings backed by its water systems. While the necessary capital “would be significant,” the report said it’s comparable to the city’s $4.8 billion overhaul of its water system. Bonds backed by the utility’s power revenue are rated AA, third highest, by S&P Global Ratings.

Working with PG&E in the past has led to delays and cost overruns for city projects, the report showed. For example, PG&E once tried to require the city to install electrical equipment for a transit restroom that cost ten times more than the bathroom itself.

Overall, the report estimates that about $360 million flows annually from San Francisco to PG&E for power delivery services and other public purpose programs.

To contact the reporters on this story: Romy Varghese in San Francisco at rvarghese8@bloomberg.net;David R. Baker in San Francisco at dbaker116@bloomberg.net;Mark Chediak in San Francisco at mchediak@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Doan at ldoan6@bloomberg.net, Joe Ryan, Will Wade

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

San Francisco May Make PG&E a Multibillion-Dollar Offer in Weeks, by Romy Varghese, David R. Baker and Mark Chediak, Bloomberg, May 14, 2019.

In 3 Years, Sonoma Clean Power Incentivized Over 1,250 Electric Vehicles

(SANTA ROSA, CA) – Sonoma Clean Power (SCP), the public electricity provider for Sonoma and Mendocino Counties, recently announced the results of its electric vehicle (EV) incentive program.

In an effort to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, SCP incentivized 1,258 electric vehicles for its customers over the last three years.

During each iteration of the Drive EV program, SCP customers were eligible to receive a combination of incentives, dealer discounts, and manufacturer discounts of up to $13,000 towards the purchase or lease of an electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid.

While SCP’s primary role is to provide electricity and accelerate California’s transition to renewable energy, the agency’s Mission widens its responsibility to addressing the climate crisis as a whole.

Transportation is the leading source of community-wide emissions, not only in SCP’s service territory but in many cities and counties throughout the world.

“In Sonoma County alone, the transportation sector makes up 60% of emissions county-wide. EVs are a great first step in reducing transportation-related emissions,” said Nelson Lomeli, the Programs Manager of SCP’s Drive EV program.

Replacing a gas-powered vehicle with an electric vehicle, and charging it with cleaner electricity, is one of the most significant measures an individual can take to reduce their carbon footprint. For example, by charging an EV with SCP’s 100% renewable, locally-sourced EverGreen service, an individual can reduce their emissions by up to 98%.

Over the years, SCP saw a significant increase in the number of vehicles that were purchased with the program versus leased. In 2016, only 14% of the incentives went towards purchasing vehicles. However, in this last year, 53% of the incentives were used to purchase vehicles.

This trend supports the car industry’s prediction that more people will commit to making the switch to an electric vehicle as the technology, range, and batteries continue to improve.

After 3 successful years of the Drive EV program, SCP has chosen to direct its focus and funds to improving the network of public and workplace charging infrastructure in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. The agency believes that this effort is crucial if the region hopes to see a wide-spread adoption of electric vehicles.

“With the success of Drive EV, we have achieved our goal of market transformation. With all these new EVs on the road, we now want to shift focus on expanding charging infrastructure, which will lead to more EV adoption,” said Cordel Stillman, SCP’s Director of Programs.

SCP continues to explore innovative ideas and programs that allow its customers to reduce their emissions, with both convenience and financial benefits being key to participation.

One of the agency’s notable endeavors for 2019 will be the opening of an Advanced Energy Center in downtown Santa Rosa where the public will be able to test and purchase energy-efficient technology for their homes. Adoption of these technologies will be supported by incentives from manufacturers, SCP, and a grant from the California Energy Commission.

Other SCP programs include efforts to promote building electrification, solar battery storage for commercial businesses, energy and water conservation, and demand-response.

To view the results of the 2018 Drive EV program, visit DriveEV.org for an interactive dashboard.

About Sonoma Clean Power

Sonoma Clean Power is proud to serve the counties of Sonoma and Mendocino, as a self-funded, public electricity provider. Climate change affects everyone, so our programs are designed for everyone. SCP’s services are practical, affordable and inclusive, inviting everyone to be part of the transition toward a clean energy future. To learn more, visit sonomacleanpower.org or call 1 (855) 202-2139.

# # #

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kate Kelly, Director of Public Relations/Sonoma Clean Power

kkelly@sonomacleanpower.org | 707.978.3468

Storage Star to Break Ground on New Smart-tech, Solar-Powered Storage Facility in Napa

NAPA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May 8, 2019–Storage Star announced today that a brand new, state-of-the-art, smart technology self-storage facility, powered by 100% renewable energy, is set to break ground on Friday, May 10, 2019. The 10:00 a.m. groundbreaking will take place at the new site at 300 Devlin Rd. in Napa, launching the region’s first new storage facility in 20 years.

The new Storage Star facility – owned by Sacramento and Napa-based FollettUSA / Storage Star, constructed by Roseville-based Thomastown Builders, and conveniently located next to the Napa Regional Airport – is set to be the North Bay’s most high-tech and secure self-storage facility with the latest smart technology advancements, making it the premier storage offering in the North Bay.

With features unrivaled in the Napa market such as unit monitoring and unlocking from your smartphone, 24/7 access, climate-control and top-grade surveillance, Storage Star’s new facility looks to improve the storage offering in a growing region.

Matt Garibaldi, President of FollettUSA and Storage Star said, “Napa Valley is a vibrant, growing community that deserves modern, high quality self-storage at a reasonable price. Our new facility – Storage Star Napa Airport – will provide the most technologically advanced security features available in the market today. When combined with our solar installation, we believe our new facility provides an excellent example of quality and stewardship that new real estate developments should bring to the Valley. We are fortunate to partner with such a talented construction company Thomastown Builders, who has led the planning and development of this world class project.”

In addition to making a commitment to security and convenience, Storage Star has partnered with Marin Clean Energy to provide 100% clean solar power from a rooftop, nearly 1-megawatt, solar installation.

With the continued construction of apartments and homes in the Napa and American Canyon area, Storage Star is meeting the increased demand for self-storage in a growing market. The facility is scheduled to break ground on May 10, 2019 and open July 1, 2020 with 618 state-of-the-art units providing ideal secure space for small businesses, families, and the community.

Storage Star’s new Napa location will be the region’s top storage option for customers of any need with units ranging in size from 25ft 2 to 900ft 2 offered at competitive rates.

About Storage Star

Storage Star is a leading owner and operator of self-storage assets in the Western U.S., Rocky Mountain Region, and Texas currently operating 20 self-storage properties with more than 12,000 units and 1.6 million rentable square feet. Storage Star are a vibrant, growing company with ambitions to be one of the leading self-storage operators in the United States. For more information please visit our website: www.storagestar.com.

About FollettUSA

FollettUSA is a California-based boutique real estate firm investing in high quality income-producing properties with the goal of generating tax-efficient income, long-term equity capital appreciation, wealth preservation, and estate planning efficiency. Since its founding in 1989, high net worth families and institutional investors have entrusted FollettUSA to develop, acquire, manage and maintain institutional quality residential communities, self-storage facilities, and investment properties for their private portfolios. For more information please visit FollettUSA’s website: www.follettusa.com

About Thomastown Builders Inc.

Thomastown Builders Inc. have been constructing and managing boutique style self-storage facilities across Northern California for 30 years. They are family owned and operated, and headquartered in Roseville, CA. Learn more about Thomastown Builders Inc. at https://www.norcalselfstorages.com.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190508005677/en/

 

CONTACT: Larry Kamer

lkamer@kamergroup.com

415-290-7240

Moody’s Assigns Investment Grade Credit Rating to Peninsula Clean Energy

REDWOOD CITY, CA – May 7th, 2019 – Moody’s Investors Service assigned a first-time Baa2 Issuer Rating to Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE). Moody’s Issuer Rating is an independent assessment of PCE’s financial strength over the long term, and PCE’s outlook is stable. PCE is the second Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program to obtain an investmentgrade credit rating.

Peninsula Clean Energy is excited to have reached this important financial milestone. May 2019 represents the two-year anniversary of PCE serving all of our customers in San Mateo County with cleaner and greener electricity at lower rates,” said Jan Pepper, CEO of Peninsula Clean Energy. “The Baa2 Issuer Rating from Moody’s further validates the CCA model in California.”

The Baa2 Issuer Rating recognizes PCE’s strong financial performance, stable customer base, and success in securing cost-competitive renewable resources. The rating further recognizes the local Board-regulated rate-setting authority afforded to PCE, including the broad business background of the PCE Board. As of March 2019, PCE had unrestricted cash of $108 million. PCE projects cash on hand of approximately $125 million by FY 2019. This financial strength allows PCE to re-invest in the local community with new energy programs to advance its mission to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in San Mateo County.

The benefits of a Baa2 credit rating for PCE include the potential to negotiate lower energy prices and improved credit terms for future power purchasing needs. This credit rating assures regulators and legislators that PCE’s financial strength is sound and, in light of PG&E’s bankruptcy filing, the CCA business model provides a stable framework for serving customers and advancing the state’s low carbon energyfuture.

The full press release from Moody’s can be found here, with a PDF version here.

About Peninsula Clean Energy
Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) is San Mateo County’s official electricity provider. PCE (www.PeninsulaCleanEnergy.com) is a public not-for-profit local community choice energy agency that provides all electric customers in San Mateo County with cleaner electricity at lower rates than those charged by the local incumbent utility. PCE saves its customers an estimated $18 million a year. 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.Media

Contact
Kirsten Andrews-Schwind
Peninsula Clean Energy
kandrews-schwind@peninsulacleanenergy.com
M: 650.260.0096

CalCCA Statement on Moody’s Assigning Investment-Grade Credit Rating to PCE

The California Community Choice Association (CalCCA) congratulates Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) on obtaining a Baa2 Issuer Rating from Moody’s Investors Service.

“PCE’s achievement of an investment-grade credit rating speaks to the inherent strengths of the CCA business model in California, and the leadership role CCAs are playing in the state’s efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions and transition to cleaner energy resources,” said Beth Vaughan, executive director of CalCCA.

The benefits of a credit rating include the potential to negotiate lower energy prices and improved credit terms for future power purchasing needs, PCE noted in a May 6 news release. “This credit rating assures regulators and legislators that PCE’s financial strength is sound and, in light of PG&E’s bankruptcy filing, the CCA business model provides a stable framework for serving customers and advancing the state’s low carbon energy future,” PCE said.

PCE provides Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) service to all cities and unincorporated areas in San Mateo County and is the second aggregator in California to be assigned a credit rating by Moody’s in the past year. MCE, which serves 34 communities across four Bay Area counties (Napa, Marin, Contra Costa, and Solano), obtained a Baa2 Issuer Rating in May 2018. Moody’s Issuer Rating is an independent assessment of the ability of entities to honor senior unsecured financial obligations and contracts.

###

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

For more information about CalCCA visit www.cal-cca.org.

sPower and MCE Complete Largest Operational CCA Solar Project in California

SALT LAKE CITY–(BUSINESS WIRE)–sPower, an industry leader in solar and wind assets, working collaboratively with MCE, announced that they recently achieved commercial operations on a 130 MWdc solar project in Lancaster, California. The project, named Antelope Expansion 2, completed by sPower in December of 2018, will sell output to MCE under a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). While California is home to many large solar projects, this is the largest one completed to-date in California with a Community Choice Aggregator (CCA). CCAs broaden the potential for renewables by allowing cities and counties to bring customers together to leverage individual purchasing power within a defined jurisdiction.

Antelope Expansion 2 is the second solar facility where sPower and MCE have partnered to bring more solar on-line. This project provides meaningful benefits to the community, it produces enough electricity to power over 26,000 homes and eliminates over 217,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. While under construction, this project provided meaningful economic benefits locally in the over 261,000 union labor hours worked from the Southern California Trade Unions, including Laborers Local 300, Operators Local 12, Ironworkers Local 433 & 416 and IBEW Local 11.

“MCE is proud to partner with sPower and unions to continue supporting the green jobs and renewable energy projects that will both bolster local communities and evolve into the cornerstone of the state’s new economy,” said Dawn Weisz, CEO of MCE. “Projects like this demonstrate MCE’s mission to offer the 60-100 percent renewable energy options that helped MCE customers meet California’s SB 100 renewable energy targets 11 years ahead of schedule.”

“The project is indicative of the trend of CCAs taking a leadership position in renewable procurement within California,” said Hans Isern, sPower’s Senior Vice President of Origination. “CCAs are giving electric customers in California the ability to select a cleaner source of power from in-state projects, which also helps provide more opportunities for local businesses, labor unions, and communities within the state.”

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 1,500 MW and has a development pipeline of more than 10,000 MW. 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 www.sPower.com.

About MCE:

MCE is California’s first Community Choice Aggregation Program, a not-for-profit, public agency that began service in 2010 with the goals of providing cleaner power at stable rates to its customers, reducing greenhouse emissions, and investing in targeted energy programs that support communities’ energy needs. MCE is a load-serving entity supporting ~1,000 MW peak load. MCE provides electricity service to approximately 470,000 customer accounts and over 1M residents and businesses in 34 member communities across 4 Bay Area counties: Napa, Marin, Contra Costa, and Solano.

MCE offers 3 renewable energy products: Light Green (60% renewable); Deep Green (sourced from 100% in-state solar + wind); and Local Sol (100% locally-produced solar). MCE continues to exceed state renewable energy supply standards and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets. MCE achieved California’s renewable energy goals 11 years ahead of state targets, and will meet GHG-free goals 23 years early. For more information about MCE, visit mceCleanEnergy.org.

Contacts

sPower
Camille Press, Communications Specialist
2180 South 1300 East, Suite 600, Salt Lake City, UT 84106
cpress@sPower.com

‘Green’ building and energy efficiency keys parts of rebuilding for some in Sonoma Valley

Arthur Dawson and his wife, Jill, think green. They have an electric car and do what they can to be environmentally friendly. When they started thinking about rebuilding their Glen Ellen home after the 2017 wildfires, they thought about all the sustainable options and incorporated as many as they could to make their new home energy efficient.

Residents who lost their homes in the fires don’t have a choice in selecting some building materials such as higher-rated insulation and dual-paned windows because they are required under stricter California building codes. There are, however, decisions fire survivors such as the Dawsons have that can make a big difference in the energy efficiency of their new houses.

Read more