California community group signs PPA for EDF’s 300MW Desert Quartzite solar-plus-storage project

Energy Storage News

Clean Power Alliance, a community energy provider in California, has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with EDF Renewables for a large-scale solar-plus-storage project’s output.

The renewables arm of French utility multinational EDF is building the Desert Quartzite Solar-plus-Storage power plant in California’s Riverside County, in an area designated a Solar Energy Zone (SEZ) by the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Desert Quartzite will combine 300MW of horizontal single-axis tracking solar PV with a 600MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) and is expected to be commissioned in February 2024. The BESS allows electricity generated during solar peak production during the daytime to be dispatched later when it’s most needed.

Read more here: California community group signs PPA for EDF’s 300MW Desert Quartzite solar-plus-storage project – Energy Storage News (energy-storage.news)

Rancho Mirage residents may qualify for solar battery storage rebates of $500 from the city

Desert Sun

Rancho Mirage is adding battery storage to its solar rebate program, which reimburses residents $500 for new solar installations or expansions.

Expanding the current program to include the installation of solar battery storage continues the city’s promotion of clean energy, Jessica Pulliam, senior management analyst, told the City Council on Thursday.

The rebate program was created in 2017 when the city formed the Rancho Mirage Energy Authority – RMEA – to promote clean energy and reduce energy costs for residents.

Read more here: Rancho Mirage residents may qualify for solar battery storage rebates (desertsun.com)

Diversity Lacking in Energy Procurement, State Regulators Tell Legislature

California Energy Markets

California’s investor-owned utilities and community choice aggregators are striving to meet state targets for procuring goods and services from so-called diverse firms, but are hamstrung in procuring energy from these types of businesses because there are so few eligible companies with which state energy providers can contract.

These and other insights into the entities’ procurement practices were included in a newly released California Public Utility Commission report to the Legislature.

Energy utility, water and telecommunications companies overseen by the CPUC are required by General Order 156 to provide an annual report detailing the dollar amounts of contracts awarded to diverse businesses.

The CPUC program also maintains a “clearinghouse” or database of women-; minority-; lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender-; and disabled veteran-owned business enterprises. Collectively, the acronym WMDVLGBTBE or the term “diverse suppliers” is used to refer to these types of businesses. The CPUC clearinghouse operator verifies most businesses; however, disabled veteran-owned businesses are certified by the Office of Small Business and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Services.

A total of 30 utilities and 14 CCAs submitted their 2020 procurement reports to the CPUC, which summarized those results in the Sept. 2 report.

On the surface, the numbers in the report show the CCAs to be lagging behind utilities; however, the report only focuses on contracts between the agencies and CPUC-registered suppliers. It also fails to consider that CCAs, which are public agencies, are prohibited by Proposition 209 from contracting based on WMDVLGBTBE status. IOUs can ask for this information before signing a contract.

“The majority of CCA spend (approximately 90-95 percent) is on power procurement,” the report states. “Historically, the electric market has been dominated by larger corporations with the capital to meet the credit and collateral requirements, making it difficult for most small and diverse businesses to be competitive or achieve ownership of energy resources. This ratio of power spend with minimal diverse procurement opportunities has presented a challenge for CCAs looking to increase spend with diverse suppliers,” the CPUC said.

Read more here: Diversity Lacking in Energy Procurement, State Regulators Tell Legislature

Just like EVs, electric bicycles could come with tax credits to lower prices

Mashable

The “Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment” — or E-BIKE — Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate last month. A companion bill, also called the E-BIKE Act, was brought to the U.S. House of Representatives back in February.

They share the same goal: Get more people on electric bikes and out of cars.

To make that more likely, both pieces of legislation propose offering a tax credit worth up to 30 percent off (with a $1,500 cap) different types of e-bikes that can run as high as $8,000.

San Mateo County’s Peninsula Clean Energy rebate already offers up to $800 in discounts. Other counties also offer up to $1,000 for e-bike purchases, among other smaller discounts. Some incentive programs factor in income level to determine if you qualify for discounts or credits.

Read more here: Just like EVs, electric bicycles could come with tax credits to lower prices (mashable.com)

Progress report: Some more of US’ biggest battery projects taking shape

Energy Storage News

After the successful expansion of Moss Landing Energy Storage Facility — the biggest battery project in world to date — was reported last week, progress milestones have been recorded for three more major solar-plus-storage and standalone battery storage projects in California, Hawaii and Florida in the past couple of weeks.

Each of them answers a different aspect of energy system decarbonisation, from coal plant retirement on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, to natural gas retirements in Manatee County, Florida, to a California project which will directly sell dispatchable solar power to local community energy suppliers.

In California, construction began in January this year on Slate, a 300MW solar PV plant with 140.25MW / 561MWh battery energy storage, from which energy will be sold to two community choice aggregator (CCA) energy suppliers and three other off-takers.

Read more here: Progress report: Some more of US’ biggest battery projects taking shape – Energy Storage News (energy-storage.news)

Valley Clean Energy celebrates groundbreaking of 3-MW solar + storage project in Winters, California

Solar Power World

With the public unveiling last week of a 3-MW solar + storage project west of Winters, Valley Clean Energy (VCE) took another step toward its goal of providing more local renewable power generation for its customers.

The 20-year agreement with Putah Creek Solar Farms for 3 MW of solar energy and 3 MW of battery storage was approved by VCE’s board of directors last December. Valley Clean Energy is the local electricity provider for the cities of Winters, Woodland and Davis as well as the unincorporated portions of Yolo County.

At the public event Aug. 10, Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, a longtime Winters resident who was the city’s first female mayor, applauded Winters area farmer and project co-owner Dan Martinez as a “visionary,” while adding that California must triple its annual solar and wind installations to meet its goal of a carbon-neutral grid by 2045.

Read more here: Valley Clean Energy celebrates groundbreaking of 3-MW solar + storage project in Winters, California (solarpowerworldonline.com)

Hundreds of U.S. cities adopted climate plans. Few have met the goals, but it’s not too late.

USA Today

Over the past three decades, more than 600 local governments across the United States adopted their own climate action plans setting greenhouse gas reduction targets. These pledges were in addition to America’s commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement, an international treaty signed by nearly 200 nations to limit the impact of climate change.

But experts now say that many of those cities’ individual plans were aspirational at best. Now they must work harder if they’re going to curb the warming trend.

Palm Springs also has seen success in reducing emissions, but the city sweltered this summer during its hottest June and July on record and fears the rising heat will hurt its tourism-reliant economy.

It reduced last year’s emissions to 16% below levels a decade ago. That was due in large part to a collaboration with a community-choice program launched last year that allows local governments to purchase electricity for its residents. All residents were automatically enrolled in Desert Community Energy’s carbon free plan, which provides electricity from carbon-free sources such as hydropower, wind, and solar.

Without the program, city officials said it would have seen a nearly 5% increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

Read more here: Hundreds of U.S. cities already adopted climate plans. What happened? (usatoday.com)

Community choice in action: the power of MCE

Business Reporter

Community choice aggregation, also known as community choice or CCA, allows residents and businesses to purchase electricity from locally controlled public agencies operating on behalf of their member communities. Communities benefit from re-investments in tailored programmes and services as well as social equity, economic and workforce development opportunities. CCAs offer a unique value proposition that allows communities to control where their energy comes from and how their electricity dollars are spent. This innovative energy model is resonating throughout California and there are now 24 CCAs serving the state, with MCE as its first CCA.

During MCE’s first 10 years of service, it reinvested more than $180 million into its member communities through programmes such as energy storage and resiliency, energy efficiency services, local renewable energy development and income-qualifying rebates to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), solar, heat pump water heaters, smart thermostats and batteries.

As we move toward a more climate-friendly future, it’s important to consider the cost of this shift away from fossil fuels, which still employs a large portion of the energy workforce. In 2017, MCE implemented a Sustainable Workforce and Diversity Policy focused on creating equitable clean energy jobs. This policy outlines our commitment to diversity and inclusion by contracting for power resources, procuring goods and services, and implementing hiring initiatives. The policy calls for quality training, and apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programmes; fair wages; and direct hiring practices that promote diversity in the workplace.

Read more here: Community choice in action: the power of MCE – Business Reporter (business-reporter.co.uk)

How energy providers can prepare for summer heat with innovative solutions

Renewable Energy World

East Bay Community Energy launched its Pay for Performance program last year, three pilot projects that pay energy efficiency contractors based on their ability to reduce demand during evening peak hours.  EBCE contracted with OhmConnect to give customers smart thermostats and wifi-enabled smart plugs that can respond to signals from OhmConnect to cut demand when the grid is overtaxed.

EBCE is also working with Myst AI to use artificial intelligence (AI) to develop more accurate load forecasting, as described in a recent article in PowerGrid International. Partnering with Sunrun, EBCE customers who install solar and batteries are getting paid to dispatch their batteries during the evening peak each day. The batteries in the Resilient Home program are then available to power the home during outages.

EBCE is also partnering with Leap, a San Francisco company, to use “virtual power plants” to provide flexible electricity capacity ahead of peak summertime demand.  Virtual plants are a network of residential and commercial batteries, electric vehicle charging, smart thermostats, agricultural and municipal water pumping, cold storage, and commercial HVAC systems that respond to market pricing signals.  Statewide, Leap has 288 MW and over 18,000 meters under contract.

To enable these innovative distributed solutions, EBCE is also advocating for policy changes.  Joining with other CCAs and distributed energy providers in the California Clean Resource Adequacy Coalition, EBCE called for a set of reforms to remove roadblocks to storage and demand response. These reforms would better value distributed storage, eliminate limitations on demand response, and make it easier for both to get paid for providing reliable services.

Read more here: How energy providers can prepare for summer heat with innovative solutions | Renewable Energy World

‘Clean Power Alliance’ Battle Ongoing | Disagreement Over Millions in Electric Rates

South Pasadenan 

South Pasadena’s electric ratepayers, its mayor, state senator and assembly member are at the center of an ongoing battle in the electric utility industry worth tens of millions of dollars in annual benefits. The funds are tied to “exit fees” paid by customers of the state’s growing, renewable energy-focused community choice aggregators (CCAs), including the Clean Power Alliance (CPA) that serves South Pasadena residents and is chaired by South Pasadena Mayor Diana Mahmud.

The most recent iteration of the conflict took place a month ago when the Assembly’s Committee on Utilities and Energy chaired by Asm. Chris Holden (D-41) unexpectedly canceled a June 30 hearing on reform legislation authored by Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-25), likely killing its chances for success this year.

The bill “has strong local and statewide support.” Over 150 communities, environmental justice organizations, environmental groups, and clean energy providers back the bill. Its opponents are PG&E, Edison, their employees and a consumer group. Their principal objection is based on a desire not to undermine the ongoing work of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which has overseen changes to the PCIA via a carefully laid out proceeding involving dozens of players who’ve put considerable time into it.

Read more here: ‘Clean Power Alliance’ Battle Ongoing | Disagreement Over Millions in Electric Rates | The South Pasadenan | South Pasadena News