In 2013, Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA), Schatz Energy Research Center and other local partners culminated a years-longplanning effort with the publication of the RePower Humboldt Strategic Plan. The aim of this work was to determine how Humboldt County could transition to a low-carbon, renewable energy-powered economy by 2030. A key recommendation in the plan was to create a local Community Choice Energy (CCE) program, as other local governments in California were just then beginning to do.
Fast-forward to 2018, and RCEA’s CCE program has now been providing service to the majority of Humboldt County electricity customers for over a year, keeping about $20 million dollars per year in the local economy that was previously exported via utility bills. These revenues are now funding exciting new programs that deliver benefits to the community such as ratepayer savings, home and building improvements, new infrastructure, and community resilience.
Governor Brown’s recent signing of Senate Bill 100 officially puts California on a path toward 100% zero-carbon electricity by 2045. RCEA plans to meet and exceed this goal for our community with local renewable sources by 2030, and our CCE program is enabling this transition. To meet this ambitious goal, we are currently developing a solar microgrid at the California Redwood Coast – Humboldt County Airport (see page 5), as well as a floating ocean wind energy project off our coastline (see page 4).
With RCEA as Humboldt’s default electricity service provider, our County is now participating in a statewide, local energy choice movement that is advancing clean energy development faster than State law requires. As of the end of this year, we’ll have seventeen sister agencies serving utility customers across California with cleaner electricity at lower rates, under the same CCE model. RCEA is united with these agencies through the California Community Choice Association (CalCCA), an industry organization that advocates for us in State proceedings and allows us to share innovative ideas among our communities.
While most of our County no longer receives electricity generation service from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E), RCEA continues to partner with the PG&E, which still provides the necessary services of delivering electricity, metering usage, and billing services to customers. PG&E’s generation rates change as needed to reflect the constantly fluctuating energy market, and although RCEA’s rates may periodically change as well, we strive to be cost-competitive. The CCE program enables us to buffer our customers from potential price spikes as we all move forward into this transitioning energy landscape.
This is an excerpt from Redwood Coast Energy’s Fall 2018 Newsletter. Click here for the full newsletter.
“Community Choice Energy,” by Redwood Coast Energy Authority, Redwood Coast Energy Authority Fall 2018 Newsletter, September 29, 2018.