Wind power off the coast of California has been in the news recently, all the way from our Northern California Press Democrat to the New York Times. If all you ever did was read these stories you would never know that Community Choice Energy agencies have been a driving force behind at least one of these highlighted projects.
In April 2018, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA), created a consortium of potential partners for their offshore wind project. In September, RCEA sent in a proposal to the Bureau of Ocean Management to lease ocean waters for wind turbines. Currently there are no operational offshore wind projects in the state, but offshore wind prospects are increasing throughout the coast, particularly along the Redwood Coast, San Luis Obispo, and Morro Bay. According to a press release by RCEA, they expect to build about 10 to 15 turbines at a site chosen to “avoid or minimize impacts on marine navigation corridors, major commercial fishing areas, and environmental resources.” This project is projected to cost about $500 million and can potentially start construction in 2023 with 120 MW of power being delivered to homes in 2024 according to an article by the New York Times.
How did this come to be?
The energy produced by the wind farm would be aggregated then distributed to RCEA’s service territory of about 60,000 customers. These customers are enrolled in the Energy Authority’s Community Choice program. RCEA, as well as other Community Choice agencies, seek to harness local energy resources, create jobs in their communities and deliver local clean power. Matthew Marshall, the Executive Director of RCEA says “It is accurate to say that RCEA would not be moving forward with this wind project if not for having formed a Community Choice agency and the role of RCEA, and other CCAs, as potential off takers is definitely key.”
This project is just one of many in state energy projects started by a Community Choice agency. Peninsula Clean Energy and Silicon Valley broke ground on a collaborative Solar project in Los Banos, California earlier this month. With 19 Community Choice agencies and more on the way, California can anticipate more local clean energy projects.