Community Choice Agency’s effort to retire Oakland power plant moves forward

San Francisco Chronicle

An old fossil-fuel burning power plant in Oakland’s Jack London Square area is one step closer to being replaced with cleaner energy sources.

The board of East Bay Community Energy, an Alameda County agency that buys green power for local residents, on Wednesday approved a contract with the plant’s owner for an 80-megawatt-hour battery installation that will pave the way for the closure of the plant, whose equipment is about 40 years old.

While the Martin Luther King Jr. Way plant is used only a few times annually when demand in the area is especially high, local officials have wanted to shut it down for years.

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State Needs New RA Sales Framework as Market Tightens

California Energy Markets

Guest Editorial: State Needs New RA Sales Framework as Market Tightens
Bottom Lines, Issue 1541, May 31, 2019

SUMMARY: A tightening market for resource-adequacy supply has created problems for load-serving entities, including community choice aggregators that say state RA procurement policies need updating. In this guest editorial, the California Community Choice Association says action is urgently needed to address possible market power in RA supply, and presents a platform of changes for the California Public Utilities Commission to consider. -Editor

It is now more important than ever that California take steps to address a rapidly evolving energy market as the state focuses on ways to advance the safety, reliability and affordability of electricity service, while also staying on track to achieve ambitious climate goals.

California’s resource-adequacy program–a critical tool to ensure load-serving entities procure the resources that are needed to keep the lights on–is one area where swift action is needed. The RA market is tightening and some load-serving entities are finding it impossible to meet their RA requirements, resulting in increasing waivers and penalties.

A confluence of factors is contributing to these problems in the RA market, including a growing number of LSEs competing to buy the same resources and a shrinking pool of resources LSEs can procure due to the planned retirement dates of older natural gas plants.

But outdated RA policies and practices might be the main culprit.

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Going Green Means Gaining Jobs in Central Valley

Operating Engineers Local No. 3 Newsletter

The 200-megawatt utility-scale Wright Solar project is unique on its own, simply because of its enormity and location. Spanning across a giant, privately owned 2,700-acre field nestled in Los
Banos, southwest of the intersection of I-5, Hwy. 33 and Hwy. 152, 1,300 acres will be used for solar panels to power 100,000 San Mateo County homes with clean, efficient energy. Just how efficient? According to the electricity provider, Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE), its rates will save county residents about $17 million a year, with their energy being 100 percent renewable by 2025.

But the project is even more unique specifically for Operating Engineers with signatory Live Action, because it is under a ProjectLabor Agreement (PLA), meaning every construction job the project creates will belong to a unionized, local craft – big news for our Central Valley members, who rarely enjoy short work commutes.

“I get a chance to go home, which is a rarity sometimes,” said District 50 Lead Gradechecker Nick Dodson.

Having local union labor has been important to PCE from Day One, because the company believes a partnership between an inclusive and sustainable workforce is critical to everyone’s success.

“As a local Community Choice agency, it is very important to us and our board members, who are locally elected city council members and county supervisors, to have a Sustainable Workforce policy that prioritizes utilizing union labor when possible,” said PCE Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jan Pepper.

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San Jose CCA credit agreement with Barclays expanded to $80 mil

Public Power Daily

The city council of San Jose, Calif, in late April agreed to expand San Jose Clean Energy’s revolving credit agreement with Barclays Bank PLC from $50 million to $80 million. San Jose Clean Energy is the city’s community choice aggregator (CCA).

The increased credit facility will allow the CCA to make additional purchases of clean power into future years, thereby further hedging future electricity costs and maximizing customer savings.

“Our credit facility is another community choice financial milestone demonstrating the financial stability of CCAs,” said Lori Mitchell, San Jose Community Energy Department Director. “Financial institutions are recognizing the strength of the California community choice model,” she said.

San Jose Clean Energy is operated by the Community Energy Department, which is a department of the City of San Jose.

“Our loan is an indication of our confidence in the financial position of San Jose Clean Energy and the California community choice model – its large customer base and support from local and state elected officials are markers of success,” said John McCray-Goldsmith, who leads the public sector climate change infrastructure finance practice for the western U.S. at Barclays.

More than 98.7% of San Jose residents and businesses are customers of San Jose Clean Energy. In order to meet San Jose customers’ increased demand for renewable energy, totaling 2,000 GWh annually by 2022, San Jose Clean Energy currently buys power from existing power plants.

San Jose Clean Energy is currently negotiating its first long-term power purchase agreement to build new renewable energy resources dedicated for San Jose Clean Energy customers and will issue a request for proposals for additional opportunities.

Many CCAs, including those without credit ratings, have successfully secured long-term PPAs with renewable energy developers at competitive rates. In 2018, Silicon Valley Clean Energy and Monterey Bay Community Power signed agreements with vendors to build a total of 328 MW of new solar and wind resources coupled with 40 MW of battery storage.

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Goldman Sachs Becomes Solar Supplier to California CCAs as Its Acquisition Spree Continues

GreenTech Media

With the Mustang project, Goldman Sachs Asset Management has also put its money behind the first big California solar project built specifically for community-choice aggregators (CCAs) — in this case, Sonoma Clean Energy and Marin Clean Energy (now MCE), which buy its electricity under long-term power-purchase agreements (PPAs). The Mustang project was the first utility-scale solar project fully contracted with CCAs to obtain non-recourse financing, in October 2015.

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In New Challenge for California’s Utilities, Rating Agency Warms to Community Aggregators

Greentech Media

The community-choice aggregators disrupting California’s electricity market have come a long way in a short time, and the credit rating agencies are taking notice. Peninsula Clean Energy, which procures electricity for around 300,000 accounts in the San Francisco Bay Area, obtained an investment-grade credit rating this week from Moody’s along with a stable outlook. It’s the second community-choice aggregator (CCA) to secure such a rating, after Marin Clean Energy did so last year. With investment-grade ratings in hand, CCAs may be able to negotiate better credit terms and lower energy prices, making them more competitive suppliers of renewable power.

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California’s CCA structure gets Moody’s thumbs up

PV Magazine

Moody’s has rated Peninsula Clean Energy, a California CCA, at Baa2 Investment Grade status. The rating agency gave significant credit to the legal structure surrounding CCAs giving them “sticky” customers, in addition to the PCE’s conservative management and strong customer relationships. The rating was made taking into account the ongoing bankruptcy proceeding at Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). All of PCE’s customers are located within the PG&E region, and PG&E – as per the CCA structure – bills and collects all money from those customers, then distributes them to the CCAs. Moody’s noted that a judge’s “first-day orders” directing PG&E to continue standard payment processes was also considered in their rating.

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Community Choice Aggregation Drives Economic Development

Western City Magazine

The concept of community choice aggregation (CCA) has gained a lot of momentum since the enactment of California’s CCA-enabling legislation, AB 117 (Chapter 838, Statutes of 2002). Under the CCA model (also known as a community choice energy model), cities and counties buy and/or generate electricity for local government, residents and businesses and make key decisions about rates, what types of electricity to purchase and which programs to offer customers. Though reducing electricity costs and providing cleaner energy options for residents and businesses were the initial drivers leading cities to pursue CCA, elected leaders are now also looking at it as a means of economic opportunity and job creation for their communities.

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Long Beach Considers Switch to Locally-Run Electric Power Service

Long Beach Business Journal

With one of the largest urban solar projects on the roof of the downtown library and a transition towards alternative fuels for the city’s port and public transit fleets, Long Beach has made its intentions clear: the city is going green. Now, city leadership is considering the formation of a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program, a change in utility systems associated with more sustainable power sources. In California, the CCA concept first took hold in the northern part of the state. California residents, shocked by the power outages of the energy crisis in 2000, pushed for more local control and inclusion of renewable energy sources.

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