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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Lieberman | Director of Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

About Peninsula Clean Energy

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

Peninsula Clean Energy Contact

Kirsten Andrews-Schwind

Peninsula Clean Energy

kandrews-schwind@peninsulacleanenergy.com

M: 650.260.0096

CPX Regulatory Update for October 17, 2019

Regulatory updates for October 17, 2019

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

Brief Notes:

  • The next CPUC voting meeting is on schedule for October 10 at CPUC headquarters. See AGENDA. For the livestream, click HERE.
  • We are continuing to monitor PG&E bankruptcy and wildfire related proceedings but will no longer be reporting on a regular basis. We will report occasionally on any significant developments.
  • We will be filing comments on and monitoring the OIR for SB 1339 relating to microgrids, item 11 below. Opening Comments are due on Oct 21.

Regulatory Proceedings we are monitoring:

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

Closed proceedings that matter:

Other CPUC activities with no docket number:

~ ~ ~

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

New and recent developments:

  • On July 19, the Center, along with adviser Lorenzo Kristov, PhD, filed Commentspursuant to the June 18 Order seeking proposals to improve PG&E safety culture
  • Interim Decisionordering reporting of PG&E Directors’ safety qualifications by August 1 and establishing CPUC advisory panel on corporate governance.

Major Issues:

  • PG&E’s ability to maintain a safe transmission and distribution system
  • Fundamental restructuring of the electricity system

Key Documents:

  • Orderextending statutory deadline to May 8, 2020

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

  1. Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) (Proceeding #17-06-026)

New and recent developments:

  • Oct 11 – Notice of Reassignment of Commissioner. R.17-06-026 has been reassigned to Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves
  • Oct 1 – CalCCA Reply Comments on Proposed Decision
  • Sept 6 – Proposed Decision– Decision refining the method to develop and true up market price benchmarks; may be heard Oct. 10
  • Sept 3 – Administrative Law Judge’s Ruling denying in part the Motion of the Protect Our Communities Foundation for Evidentiary Hearings and modifying the proceeding schedule

Key Documents:

Next Steps: TBD

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

  1. Resource Adequacy (17-09-020)

New and recent developments:

  • 26 – Decision D1909054 – Order Extending Statutory Deadline. This decision extends the statutory deadline in this proceeding to March 28, 2020.
  • 6 – Proposed Decision– This decision clarifies the requirements governing the use of energy imported into California to meet Resource Adequacy requirements, as set forth in Decision (D.) 04-10-035 and D.05-10-042.
  • On August 30, CalCCA announced a joint settlement agreementamong multiple stakeholders.
  • CalCCA 8/8/19 Notice of Settlement Conference

Key Documents:

  • Track 1 Decision D.18-06-030 Adopting Local Capacity Obligations and Refinements to the RA program
  • 18-06-031 adopting flexible capacity obligations for 2019
  • Email ruling on Energy Division Effective Load Carrying Capacity Proposal
  • Proposed Decision endorsing IOUs as Central Buyer for local RA
  • Ruling on Effective Load Carrying Capacity Proposal
  • Comments on the Proposed Decision

Major Issues: CCA participation in the year-ahead RA showing, cost allocation due to load migration, reducing backstop procurement, consolidating procurement using a central buyer, updates to Effective Load Carrying Capacity modeling methods, aligning the CPUC’s RA measurement hours with CAISO’s.

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

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

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

  1. Integrated Resource Planning (16-02-007)

New and recent developments:

  • Oct 8 – Amended reply comments of the California Community Choice Association on Proposed Decision requiring electric system reliability procurement for 2021-2023
  • 12 – Proposed Decision– In this Decision, the Commission takes a number of steps to address the potential for electricity system resource adequacy shortages beginning in 2021. The Decision includes CCAs in SCE service territory.
  • Comments on procurement track and reliability issues by CalCCA, TURN, PG&E

Key Documents:

Major Issues:

  • Near, medium, and long-term local reliability needs
  • Approval of a Preferred System Plan
  • How to coordinate LSE procurement to meet CA GHG goals

Next Steps:

  • Late 2019 – Proposed Decision on Procurement Track

Background: On April 25 the CPUC unanimously approved a Proposed Decision that approves or certifies 20 individual LSE IRPs. A video of the proceeding is HERE. Item 51 on the agenda. The CPUC’s action represents a major vote of confidence in the critical role CCAs are playing in California’s rapidly evolving energy system.

  1. Distribution Resource Plans (14-08-013 )– No new updates for Oct 17, 2019.

August 9 – Ruling postponing capacity analysis workshop.

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

  1. Renewable Portfolio Standard (18-07-003)

No new developments for Oct 17, 2019.

  • August 23 – Decisionre IOU Effective Load Carrying Capability. Behind-the-meter Photovoltaic (PV) must be treated as a supply-side resource; annual loss of load expectation study must be conducted.
  • August 8 – Proposed Decisionrelaxing 2018 RPS Plan reporting for 6 new CCAs. Comment by CalCCA.
  • August 1 – Decisionenforcing RPS program rules, fining Liberty Power $431,014 and Gexa $1,725,461.
  • Joint Utility commentsand Joint CCA reply comments on combining IRP and RPS programs.

Major Issues:

  • Revising RPS renewable market adjusting tariff (ReMAT) and bioenergy market adjusting tariff (BioMAT).
  • Least-cost/best-fit methodology for RPS procurement
  • Cost containment for IOU RPS procurement and coordination with the IRP proceeding
  • Monitoring and review of LSE compliance.

Key Documents:

  • 12-06-038 setting RPS compliance rules.
  • OIR to further develop the RPS program.
  • 2018 RPS Annual Report to Legislature.
  • Amended Scoping Memo.
  • Proposed Decision adopting 2018 RPS procurement plans.
  • Comments on Proposed Decision by CCA Parties.

Next Steps:

  • Fourth Quarter 2019 – Decision on RPS plans
  • May 1, 2020 – Tentative consolidation of IRP/RPS filings.

Background: The RPS program implements SB 350 and SB 100 by requiring all LSEs to increase their procurement of renewable energy to 44% by 2024, 52% by 2027, 60% by 2030, and 100% by 2045.

  1. Integrated DER – No new developments.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

  1. Microgrids – R.19-09-009

New or recent developments:

Major Issues:

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

Key Documents:

Next Steps:

  • October 19, 2019 – Comments on the OIR are due.
  • November 3, 2019 – Reply comments on the OIR 

Closed proceedings that matter: 

  • CCA Rulemaking03-10-003This was the original rulemaking that occurred between 2003 and 2005 to cross the Ts and dot the Is on CCA law. Rulemaking R.03-10-003 was initiated in October 2003 to implement portions of AB 117 concerning Community Choice Aggregation. That Rulemaking is closed. One result of the proceeding was Decision 18-05-022 issued on May 31, 2018 which established reentry fees and financial security requirements applicable to CCAs as required by Public Utilities Code Section 394.25(e). The IOUs were ordered to provide a Tier 1 Advice Letter detailing their costs and to identify that in their general rate cases. CCA parties assert that the Advice Letters submitted by the utilities are overly broad and exceed the scope permitted in D.18-05-022 because they would impose liability on returning CCA customers over and above the CCA Bond amount, permit the utility to dictate whether financial instruments and arrangements were satisfactory, and require that particular agreements drafted by the utility be used to satisfy a financial security amount.

Other CCA-relevant CPUC activities with no docket number:

Customer Choice Project. No update. This is an informal activity in progress that relates directly to CCAs, the California Customer Choice Project (formerly known as the “Green Book”). The Center submitted Comments on this matter in June 2018.

AB 2514 Energy Storage Mandate. All LSEs in California are required to procure certain levels of storage under the Energy Storage Mandate in AB 2514. The CPUC oversees the implementation. Recent news is that due to CCA customers paying for IOU procurement of storage via nonbypassable charges, the obligation for CCAs to meet the mandate has been dismissed.

PG&E Bankruptcy (no docket #) (PG&E Fires Restructuring, Bankruptcy Court, CA Senate Oversight Hearings, US District Court) In addition to the above proceedings, we are also keeping a close eye on the PG&E bankruptcy, which is playing out in four arenas: the bankruptcy court, the CPUC, the CA State legislature, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Recent Developments

  • Judge lifts the stay and RULES that litigation revolving around the 2017 Tubbs Wildfire can proceed
  • Fast-tracked legislation (AB 1054) enacted on July 11, 2019 creates $21M fund for future fires, partly at ratepayer expense
  • Settlement agreement with 18 public agencies
  • Bondholder’s $30 billion plan, $16 – $18 million for victims
  • Newsom’s $21 billion plan, renews $2.50 monthly DWR charge for 15 years
  • Ruling denying FERC jurisdiction over PPA agreements

Major Issues:

  • Chapter 11 removes restructuring authority to the Federal Bankruptcy Court.
  • PG&E’s ability to recover wildfire litigation and liability costs via rate increases.
  • The scope and role of PG&E when it emerges from bankruptcy restructuring.
  • Future role of CCAs, distributed energy resources, and distribution utility.

Key Documents:

  • Cal Fire report finding PG&E equipment involved in 12 fires during October, 2017.
  • Ruling and Scoping Memo regarding phase 2 15-08-019 Investigation Into PG&E’s Safety Culture
  • Fire Safety and Utility Infrastructure En Banc

Next Steps:

  • Deadline for PG&E to propose reorganization plan

Our next CPX Regulatory Update will be published on Thursday, October 31. Boo!

 

 

 

CPX Legislative Update – 2019 Wrap-up

For this final update for the 2019 legislative session, we will do things a little differently. Below is a table of all the bills we kept an eye on during the 2019 session. On the left is the bill number and bill author, middle column is the brief description from leginfo, and on the right, the status of the bill.

We’ll be back in January, 2020. Till then, enjoy the break!

Bill Number/Bill Author
Brief Description
Status
AB-235

(Mayes)

Electrical corporations: wildfire victim recovery bonds Two-year bill
AB-296

(Cooley)

Climate change: Climate Innovation Grant Program: voluntary tax contributions Vetoed
AB-684

(Levine)

Building standards: electric vehicle charging infrastructure Vetoed
AB-857

(Chiu)

Public banks Enacted
AB-915

(Mayes)

California Renewables Portfolio Standards Program Two-year bill
AB-961

(Reyes)

Energy programs and projects: nonenergy benefits Two-year bill
AB-1144

(Friedman)

Self-generation incentive program: community energy storage systems: high fire threat districts Enacted
AB-1347

(Horvath)

Electricity: renewable energy and zero-carbon resources: state and local government buildings. Two-year bill
AB-1371

(Cunningham)

California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program: offshore wind generation. Two-year bill
AB-1584

(Quirk)

Electricity: cost allocation. Enacted
SB-45

(Allen, et al)

Wildfire Prevention, Safe Drinking Water, Drought Preparation, and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2020. Two-year bill
SB-155

(Bradford)

California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program: integrated resource plans. Enacted
SB-168

(Wieckowski)

Climate change: Chief Climate Resilience Officer. Two-year bill
SB-212

(Allen)

Elections: local voting methods. Vetoed
SB-246 Oil and gas severance tax. Two-year bill
SB-255

(Bradford)

Women, minority, disabled veteran, and LGBT business enterprise procurement: electric service providers: energy storage system companies: community choice aggregators. Enacted
SB-350

(Hertzberg)

Electricity: resource adequacy: multiyear centralized resource adequacy mechanism. Two-year bill
SB-386

(Caballero)

California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program: irrigation districts. Two-year bill
SB-520

(Hertzberg)

Electrical service: provider of last resort. Enacted
SB-548

(Hill)

Electricity: transmission facilities: inspection. Two-year bill
SB-549

(Hill)

Public Utilities Commission: rates: capital structure changes. Two-year bill
SB-550

(Hill)

Public utilities: merger, acquisition, or control of electrical or gas corporations. Enacted
SB-662

(Archuleta)

Green electrolytic hydrogen. Two-year bill
SB-676

(Bradford)

Transportation electrification: electric vehicles: grid integration. Enacted
SB-766

(Stern)

Public utilities: weatherization. Two-year bill
SB-772

(Bradford)

Long duration bulk energy storage: procurement. Two-year bill
SB-774

(Stern)

Electricity: microgrids.    Two-year bill

 

SLO County asks for another study of Monterey Bay Community Power

Unsatisfied by a recent fiscal analysis of Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP), the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors wants to commission another to help it decide whether to join the Community Choice Energy agency, which is expanding to serve six SLO County cities over the next two years.

At its Oct. 1 meeting, county supervisors discussed the results of a $25,000 report done by accountants Alison Turner & Associates, which it contracted for this summer to detail the risks and benefits of joining MBCP.

MBCP procures carbon-free energy on behalf of its customers while PG&E continues to deliver it over existing power lines.

The 12-page report found that MBCP, which launched service in 2018 in Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito counties, had a “promising” first few years, but it warned against future fluctuations in the energy market that could create instability.

“We would want to have more historical knowledge before we felt comfortable making such a significant financial commitment,” the report concluded.

Both the board’s liberal and conservative members grumbled about the report’s lack of depth and detail. In a 4-1 vote, the supervisors asked county officials to put out a new request for proposals for a more robust analysis, which could cost up to $80,000.

“I don’t believe we have the information to make the decision,” said 1st District Supervisor John Peschong.

Fifth District Supervisor Debbie Arnold was the lone dissenting vote, believing the county should simply revisit the idea of MBCP in a year.

“Why are we going to spend $80,000 right now to get a different version of the same thing?” Arnold asked.

The cities of SLO and Morro Bay start service with MBCP in January 2020, while Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, and Arroyo Grande will enroll in 2021.

SLO County missed the deadline to join those latter jurisdictions with MBCP in 2021. The board likely has until late 2020 to decide if it wants to join for 2022. Δ

 

SLO County asks for another study of Monterey Bay Community Power, by Peter Johnson, New Times SLO, October 3, 2019.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

________

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

 

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

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

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

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

Key activities within this position include:

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

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

Fresno Is Weighing Community Choice Aggregate Energy, Giving Residents Options For Their Utilities

Editor’s note: Destiny Rodriguez of The Climate Center is referred to in this interview as Destiny Martinez. This is incorrect. 

In most Central Valley communities, there’s only one electric and gas utility. For most of the San Joaquin Valley, it’s Pacific Gas and Electric; if you live in the southeast region, the utility might be Southern California Edison. And unless you have solar panels to offset some of the cost, you have no control over the rates set, which are proposed by the utility and approved by the California Public Utilities Commission. Over the last few months, the City of Fresno has been considering an alternative to PG&E called community choice aggregate energy, or CCA.

Fresno Councilman Luis Chavez has already voiced his support for the program, which allows municipalities to have more control over where energy comes from, and how much it costs. However, the council is a long way from making a final decision on whether to adopt the program.

First the council has to complete a technical study, which will help determine the costs of CCA.

Listen to the interview above to hear an overview of CCA, and how Fresno lawmakers are considering if it’s right for the city.

Fresno Is Weighing Community Choice Aggregate Energy, Giving Residents Options For Their Utilities, By Laura Tsutsui, Valley Public Radio, September 27, 2019.

CPX Legislative Update for October 3, 2019

Updated 10/3/19

Legislative Calendar Check: The legislature adjourned on September 13. The governor has until October 13 to sign bills. We will issue one more legislative update on October 17, and then will be on break until the legislature resumes business in January 2020. In the meantime, visit the CPX legislative page for occasional updates.

In this 2019 session we are monitored about 29 energy and/or climate-related bills, not all of which would directly impact Community Choice Energy. Below is a selection of highlighted bills with a brief summary, the Center’s position, if any, and the status of the bill.

Two-year bills that will come back in 2020:

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

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

SB 246 (Wieckowski) – Read our Support Letter. – This bill, if enacted as written, will impose an oil and gas severance tax on the privilege of extracting oil or fossil gas from the earth or water in California upon any operator engaged in such extraction. Status: Two-year bill. It will be brought back in January 2020.

SB 350 (Hertzberg) OPPOSE – This bill would “authorize the CPUC to consider a multiyear centralized resource adequacy mechanism,” meaning, a central buyer, which would encroach on CCA statutory authority on procurement autonomy. This bill was a tandem bill with AB 56 that is also a tw0-year bill. Status: Two-year bill.

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

SB-772 (Bradford) – This bill relates to procurement of long duration bulk energy storage. Concerns center on forcing the hand of CCA procurement. Status: Two-year bill.

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

Bills we opposed that were enacted:

AB 1054 (Holden, Mayes, Burke) – Enacted: This 200-page bill was fast-tracked through the legislature. In addition to encumbering ratepayers with nonbypassable charges for more than a decade just as they were set to expire, and no safeguard against rate increases, the bill includes a clause that is completely outside of any wildfire concern, and it impacts Community Choice agencies. The clause empowers the CPUC to obstruct sales of IOU assets to other load serving entities and public entities. This could hobble local governments wanting to launch their own municipal service, and/or emerging CCAs that may benefit by acquiring assets that the IOUs no longer want or need. Status: AB 1054 passed out of the legislature on July 11 and was signed by the governor. It is now being challenged in federal court by two PG&E customers on grounds that it may allow for ratepayer funds to be used to pay for cost increases due to PG&E negligence.

AB 1584 (Quirk) – In its final form this bill requires the CPUC to develop and use methodologies for allocating electrical system integration resource procurement needs to each load-serving entity based on the contribution of that LSE’ load and resource portfolio to the electrical system conditions that created the need for the procurement. It also requires the CPUC to develop and use methodologies for determining any costs resulting from a failure of a LSE to satisfy its allocation of those procurement needs. Originally this bill would have impinged on Community Choice agency statutory procurement authority. Due to amendments in August, CalCCA shifted to a neutral position. Status: On the governor’s desk.

SB 155 (Bradford) – This bill expands CPUC’s authority over CCA procurement and Integrated Resource Plans. Read the Center’s July Letter of Opposition. Due to amendments made in early July, CalCCA shifted to a neutral position. Status: On the governor’s desk.

SB-520 (Hertzberg) This bill empowers the CPUC to determine what load serving entity should serve as the provider of last resort (POLR). Currently IOUs serve as the provider of last resort in their service territories. A big problem with the bill is that it gives the IOUs veto control over the POLR application process. If another LSE (e.g., a CCA) wants to become the POLR, the incumbent IOU must agree to the application submitted to the CPUC, which is unacceptable. This bill is a step in the wrong direction. It gives the existing utilities control over whether they continue to have the exclusive right to serve as the utility and gives them control over who if anyone would take over the role of POLR. Why should the State hand over that kind of decision-making authority to the existing utilities? We are concerned that over time, this will make the utilities less accountable. We encourage firm opposition to this bill in its current form. Status: SB 520 is on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature or veto.

SB 676 (Bradford) – This bill requires the CPUC, by December 31, 2020, in an existing proceeding, to establish strategies and quantifiable metrics to maximize the use of feasible and cost-effective electric vehicle grid integration. Based on amendments made in early July, CalCCA has shifted to a neutral position. Status: On the governor’s desk.

Bills we supported that were enacted:

AB 684 (Levine) – Read our Support Letter. Rules proposed in this bill would ensure that the infrastructure necessary for EV charging in multi-family dwellings is codified through multi-family building standards. Status: On the governor’s desk.

Bills we supported that died:

AB 1046 (Ting) – Clean Vehicle Rebate Program. This bill would have required the California Air Resources Board to develop a plan to provide for the continuous funding of a program with a goal of supporting deployment of 5 million electric vehicles by December 2030. Status: AB 1046 died in the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 30.

For the complete list of bills we monitored in 2019 click HERE.  The next and final 2019 CPX legislation update will be on Thursday, October 17th.