Council hears about crude by rail, water infrastructure and EMS costs Tuesday

“PG&E exit fees
Councilmember Alan Schwartzman provided the Council with some information pertaining to a proposal to submit a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regarding the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA) fee, essentially an exit fee, charged by Pacific Gas & Electric to customers who have switched to Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) providers such as Marin Clean Energy (MCE).
Schwartzman, an MCE board member as it happens, began by reading from the staff report accompanying the City Council agenda, a complete copy of which is available by visiting the city of Benicia web site under Agendas and Minutes, or by calling the city at 746-4200. Schwartzman’s reading is paraphrased here:
MCE has requested that the city of Benicia submit a letter to the CPUC regarding the PCIA charge increase. The CPUC has consistently denied adequate public input to discuss the fee. Earlier this year, PG&E increased this fee by 95 percent. The proposed letter asks the CPUC to provide a venue for public input. The charge is assessed by PG&E on a per-kilowatt basis to cover power generation costs acquired prior to a customer’s change in service provider.
Schwartzman explained that PG&E procures energy based on anticipated need, so that when customers switch away from PG&E, the company is left with the cost burden of the energy it has already acquired, without corresponding reimbursement from customers.”

Council Hears About Crude by Rail, Water Infrastructure and Ems Costs Tuesday, by Elizabeth Warnimont, Benicia Herald, July 7, 2016.

World’s Largest Storage Battery Will Power Los Angeles

By 2021, electricity use in the west Los Angeles area may be in for a climate change-fighting evolution.

For many years, the tradition has been that on midsummer afternoons, engineers will turn on what they call a “peaker,” a natural gas-burning power plant In Long Beach. It is needed to help the area’s other power plants meet the day’s peak electricity consumption. Thus, as air conditioners max out and people arriving home from work turn on their televisions and other appliances, the juice will be there.

Five years from now, if current plans work out, the “peaker” will be gone, replaced by the world’s largest storage battery, capable of holding and delivering over 100 megawatts of power an hour for four hours. The customary afternoon peak will still be there, but the battery will be able to handle it without the need for more fossil fuels. It will have spent the morning charging up with cheap solar power that might have otherwise been wasted.

Read more

By John Fialka, ClimateWire on July 7, 2016

Community Power Map – ILSR

Where are communities taking charge of their energy future? Which states give communities the most power?

ILSR’s Community Power Map provides an interactive illustration of how communities are accelerating the transition toward 100% renewable energy and how policies help or hinder greater local action.

Community Power MapInstitute for Local Self-Reliance.

MBCP gains momentum for Oct. 2016 launch

by Daniel Paul Nelson, Romero Institute

The Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) project continues to move forward. As June comes to a close, Community Choice energy (CCE) is nearing its launch in the tri-county area of Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito!

On June 9th, the MBCP Project Development & Advisory Committee (PDAC) convened its 2nd and 3rd “study sessions” for elected officials and their staffs who are considering joining the CCE on behalf of their respective counties and cities. These two study sessions were for the Counties of Santa Cruz and San Benito, i.e. both county officials and city leaders operating within those counties. At this time, now that the study sessions are complete, ad hoc educational meetings are occurring between those representing MBCP and electeds, as the 21 different regional bodies deliberate about whether to join the CCE this fall. The tentative deadline for regions to vote to join during this first year of voting (“early deciders”) is October 31st, 2016. Many regions are expected to join. The MBCP stands to be the largest CCE, geographically, in the State of California; it would be the only Community Choice program that spans 3 counties. To receive updates on MBCP progress, see

Anything but laid back: Los Angeles Community Choice on the move

Greetings from Los Angeles County where things are anything but laid back as we move quickly toward the launch of our LA County Community Choice Energy Program. Whether that program launches exclusively with the County’s unincorporated area and its 4,256,046 MWh of aggregated electrical power or it launches with the addition of any of the 82 cities eligible to join the program remains to be seen and will be determined in the next two to three months.

What started in May of 2014 as our South Bay Clean Power initiative targeting the 15 cities of our South Bay Cities Council of Governments, quickly grew to become a 20 city initiative when the 5 Westside cities of Santa Monica, Culver City, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Malibu joined our effort.

In June of 2014 we formed an ad hoc South Bay Clean Power working group made up of city staff members, elected representatives, heads of local organizations and other stakeholders from our different target cities. One of our first orders of business was to define our goals and objectives and here’s what we came up with:

Joe blog pic 1

One of our key and top priority strategies was to reach out to the Los Angeles National Association of Electrical Contractors and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 11 to ask them to partner with our effort, to join our Working Group and to help us create a labor friendly Community Choice Program. We knew we had tremendous common ground with our brothers and sisters on the labor and management sides and that their partnership was critical to achieving our goals and objectives for 100% renewable power and distributed energy resources. We also know that their subject matter expertise and experience would be invaluable in helping us create the kind of program design and elements that could maximize the potential for Community Choice energy.  We knew we had a potent and powerful partnership when they agreed to partner with us and support our initiative.

In September of 2015, after the 13th of our target cities had passed the resolution to participate in a CCA feasibility study (all unanimous votes) we went to our LA County 4th District Supervisor, Don Knabe, and asked for the funding to pay for the study. We also asked the Supervisor to champion the initiative. That’s exactly what Supervisor Knabe, a Republican, did, immediately partnering with his 3rd District colleague, Supervisor Shelia Kuehl, a Democrat, to offer the motion which passed 5-0 on September 15.

The LA County CCA Task Force began meeting in October of 2015. When no committees were formed or tasks assigned to attendees South Bay Clean Power stepped up and formed its own Advisory Committees on Economic & Workforce Development, Program Elements and Design, Governance and Technical, and Public Outreach to provide independent, third party analysis to the County Internal Services staff and their consultants who were working without the benefit of our input. Those Advisory Committees include staff members for four of the five Supervisors offices, city council members and city staff members from our target cities, members of labor unions and Labor Management Cooperative Committees, representatives of UCLA and USC, environmental and environmental justice organization leaders and renewable energy industry representatives.

At the County’s June 2016 CCA Task Force meeting the consultants from EES provided a PowerPoint preview of their Feasibility Study results and a draft of a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) document.

The headline for the feasibility study news is that our LA County CCA can provide a baseline of 50% renewable energy for a lower rate than Southern California Edison charges for its current 24.3% Renewable Power Standard:

Joe blog pic 2

The study says there is more than enough renewable energy supply available and that our CCA can offer 100% renewable power to customers at just one cent more per kilowatt hour.

LA County’s ambitious schedule for the launch of the program calls for service to start phase I in January of 2017 rolling out to all of LA County’s municipal buildings in the unincorporated areas. Phase II is called for in July of 2017 and would add all the other ratepayers in the unincorporated area.

Joe blog pic 3

As we enter the Independence Day holiday weekend, South Bay Clean Power is continuing to work directly with the Supervisors, staff, and our Working Group partners to create a JPA governance that provides each of our participating cities with a seat and a vote on the organization’s Board of Directors.

We are confident that we will be successful in coming to an equitable agreement with the County of Los Angeles that will allow 8-10 of our South Bay Clean Power cities to join the County’s unincorporated areas in launching Community Choice service for our municipal buildings in January of 2017 and then start rolling out service to our other customers beginning one year from now in July of 2017.

Over the course of the rest of this decade we expect all 82 eligible cities to join what will be the largest, most innovative, most renewably powered CCA in the United States of America.

Joe Galliani is the Founding Organizer of South Bay Los Angeles 350 Climate Action Group, the oldest chapter of in California. He can be reached at

Municipal Aggregation Could Add 100,000 Customers

Marin Clean Energy’s customer base is growing, and the word is getting out.

“Communities with some 94,000 customers are joining California community choice aggregation Marin Clean Energy in the coming months, which, depending on the opt-out rate, could increase the aggregation’s customer count by about 50%.”

Municipal Aggregation Could Add 100,000 CustomersRetailEnergyX, June 29, 2016.

Will ‘Independence’ from PG&E Bring Cleaner and Cheaper Electricity?

The County of Yolo and its largest city, Davis, California are working through the initial phases of creating a Community Choice Energy (CCE) program. They will have a joint powers agreement (JPA) ready in the fall, and will potentially launch service as early as May or June of 2017.

Davis city staff are working out the right mix of price and sources of renewable energy.

“So, what does all this mean? Well, it means that if beating PG&E in greenhouse gas reductions and renewables in the short term is an important goal, then the Davis-Yolo CCE should offer a supply portfolio that exceeds the state’s 2030 50% renewable standard.”

Will ‘Independence’ from PG&E Bring Cleaner and Cheaper Electricity?, by Leanna Sweha, Davis Vanguard, July 4, 2016.

Report: Fresno is No. 1 for Industrial Solar Power in California

Community Choice Energy Program Gets Preliminary Financing Approval

“The Placer County Board of Supervisors recently approved a preliminary financing plan and introduced an ordinance for the development of Community Choice Energy (CCE) program for Placer County.”

Community Choice Energy Program Gets Preliminary Financing ApprovalRocklin & Roseville Today, June 28, 2016.

Cleaner Energy Option Coming to Lafayette

Lafayette residents to start receiving mailers from Marin Clean Energy ahead of their September service launch.

“To announce the community choice energy program and educate residents, provider Marin Clean Energy is sending a series of five colorful mailers, in the form of post cards and letters, announcing the program over the summer. The first batch of 11,000 mailers went out to every electricity customer within the city of Lafayette during the week of June 20. The months-long outreach program is geared to give residents a complete picture of what greener power means, and how it works, prior to the September start date.”

Cleaner Energy Option Coming to Lafayette, by Cathy Tyson, Lamorinda Weekly, June 29, 2016.