California Community Choice Aggregator Sees Promise in Floating Offshore Wind

Greentech Media

California community choice aggregator (CCA) Monterey Bay Community Power has signed a memorandum of understanding to explore buying the power from a 1,000-megawatt floating offshore wind farm.

It’s an early, if no-stakes, claim to what could be a massive offshore wind opportunity set to open via federal offshore lease auction next year, assuming floating wind turbine technology can meet the tests of wind, wave and California’s energy markets.

This week’s MOU, which is not a binding contract, calls for a long-term power purchase agreement between Monterey Bay Community Power and Castle Wind LLC, a joint venture of EnBW North America and Trident Winds Inc. The power is to be delvered by 2025 from the Castle Wind Offshore project, which would see around 100 wind turbines held upright by floating substructures anchored to the ocean floor 30 miles off California’s Central Coast.

It’s the most public step yet by one of the more than a dozen developers that are reportedly eyeing California’s offshore wind potential, including Avangrid Renewables, EDF, EDP, E.ON and Equinor. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is planning to hold an auction in 2020 for leases off California’s coastline.

Read more here: https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/community-choice-aggregator-sees-promise-in-california-offshore-floating-wi#gs.waa1vu

Aggregators supply nearly one-quarter of regulated load in California

S&P Global

California’s cities and counties are at the center of a sweeping local takeover of power procurement as the world’s fifth-largest economy strives to decarbonize its electric system.

Formed in recent years by more than 130 cities, counties and towns, 19 local government-run agencies known as community choice aggregators, or CCAs, now purchase electricity for about 10 million Californians, roughly a quarter of the state’s population, according to the California Community Choice Association.

Ten of these aggregators emerged in 2018 alone in a mass defection that predominantly hit Pacific Gas and Electric Co., or PG&E, and Southern California Edison Co. Propelled by communities’ desire for a faster energy transition and by a state law that requires automatic customer enrollment when local governments form CCAs, more migration is in progress.

Read more here: https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/trending/OfUwtWWl8nb6uiplukkkqg2

San Jose contracts for solar-plus-storage project

Public Power Daily

San Jose Clean Energy and EDP Renewables North America on Wednesday signed a 20-year power purchase agreement for 100 megawatts of new solar energy and 10 MW of battery storage from the Sonrisa Solar Park in Fresno County, California.

Non-profit San Jose Clean Energy is a community choice aggregator run by the City of San Jose’s Community Energy Department. It began providing electrical service to over 300,000 customers in February 2019.

“Today’s investment will avoid more than 4.1 million tons of greenhouse gases from our air, bringing us another step closer towards meeting the aggressive emission reduction targets defined in our Climate Smart San Jose plan and securing a sustainable future for our community,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a statement.

EDP Renewables North America LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of EDP Renewables SA based in Madrid. Is developing the solar-plus-storage project in Fresno County south of San Jose. It is slated to begin operations in 2022.

With the signing of the San Jose PPA, the Sonrisa Solar Park is now envisioned as a 200 MW the solar-plus-storage project.

In June, EDP Renewables North America signed a 20-year PPA for 100 MW of solar and 30 MW of storage capacity with East Bay Community Energy, a community choice aggregator in Alameda County, California.

Read more here: https://www.publicpower.org/periodical/article/san-jose-contracts-solar-plus-storage-project

What are California’s CCAs Up To? Catch Up Here

There’s a seismic shift underway in California, and I’m not referring to the recent earthquakes that have rocked the state. The shift is occurring as electricity load migrates from bundled, investor-owned utility (IOU) service to local community choice aggregators (CCAs). Statewide in the three main IOU territories combined, CCAs are now serving about 25 percent of load and more community choice programs are poised to launch in 2020 and beyond.

In April, when the California Public Utilities Commission adopted a preferred portfolio of resources to meet the state’s 2030 emissions-reduction target, the magnitude of this shakeup on procurement responsibility came into bold relief. CCAs plan to purchase more than 90 percent, or 10,000 MW, of the new clean energy resources that are needed by 2030, while IOUs and energy service providers plan to invest in approximately 1,000 MW combined.

Even as some continue to question the financial wherewithal of CCAs, aggregators are successfully plugging away at signing new long-term power purchase agreements, going above and beyond state green energy requirements. CCAs have already signed contracts for well over 2,500 MW with new renewable energy facilities in California, with almost 600 MW
secured in June alone (see updates from Clean Power Alliance and East Bay Community Energy below).

CCAs’ procurement of battery energy storage—a combined 150 MW/600 MWh in less than a year—is proving to be a case study that demonstrates the capability of CCAs to rapidly procure the resources the state needs to meet and exceed clean energy goals, despite their newness and short credit histories.

With energy storage, “CCAs are breaking open a new market that does not depend on the lengthy cycle of utility procurement,” notes a recent Greentech Media article. “The fact that the local decision-making process moves faster than working with massive utility bureaucracies only sweetens the deal.”

In June, CalCCA shared a letter with Gov. Newsom and legislative leaders that provides a series of detailed recommendations for improving the reliability of electricity service, reducing the risk associated with IOU operations, and making communities more resilient in the face of catastrophic wildfires.

The letter contains our views on the transformation of the state’s energy market, and the regulatory and legislative changes we believe are necessary to keep the lights on, protect ratepayers and fire victims, and cultivate the clean energy system California will need to thrive. We hope you will join us in helping to ensure that every community in California has safe, reliable, affordable clean energy options.

Read the full Q2 2019 report here: https://cal-cca.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Q1-2019-Update-Final.pdf

Close to Home: The clean energy revolution rolls on

Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Marin and Sonoma counties, take a bow. Because of your pathfinding efforts with community choice, you have had a huge, positive impact on climate action and on California’s emerging energy system. Marin’s community choice agency, called MCE Clean Energy, began serving customers in 2010, and Sonoma’s agency, Sonoma Clean Power, in 2014. Inspired by Marin and Sonoma, leaders across the state and nation are securing community choice benefits for their businesses and residents.

Read more here: https://www.pressdemocrat.com/opinion/9815365-181/close-to-home-the-clean

What Oakland’s Pioneering Peaker Replacement Says About the Storage Market

GTM Squared

There’s an underappreciated market in California, with 4 million customers and counting, that’s constitutionally disposed to buying storage.

by Julian Spector

July 15, 2019

Sometimes the greatest clean energy innovations happen in your own backyard.

That’s a wishful statement for most people in this country, but I live in Oakland, California, so it comes true with delightful regularity. Thus, I commuted 10 minutes on a recent Monday morning to see the unveiling of an energy storage project that the industry would do well to emulate elsewhere.

The Oakland Clean Energy Initiative hits several grid edge high notes.

It’s shutting down an urban peaker that burns jet fuel next to bustling residential and commercial areas, replacing it with a battery peaker. It’s also a non-wires alternative, offsetting a much more expensive and invasive wire-based upgrade. Lastly, it’s a proof of concept that California’s local power purchasers, known as community-choice aggregators (CCAs), could offer considerably more upside for storage deployment than previously thought.

Here are the key lessons from this new project structure that could translate beyond the shores of Oakland’s Jack London Square.

CCAs will drive significant storage development

For better or worse, California structured its energy storage rollout so that large projects flow through utility procurement. The state gave each investor-owned utility a target, and they had to meet it. But CCAs are breaking open a new market that does not depend on the lengthy cycle of utility procurement.

Case in point, East Bay Community Energy, which covers Oakland and the rest of Alameda County, across the bay from San Francisco, just launched last fall. Besides the 20-megawatt/80-megawatt-hour system slated for downtown Oakland, it contracted with EDP Renewables North America for a 100-megawatt solar plant in the Central Valley paired with 30 megawatts/120 megawatt-hours of storage.

Before its one-year anniversary, the group signed contracts that exceeded its obligation under the state energy storage mandate by a factor of four or five, CEO Nick Chaset told me.

That’s a striking departure from the status quo approach of procuring to meet a target. East Bay Community Energy is not alone in this storage enthusiasm.

Silicon Valley Clean Energy and Monterey Bay Community Power signed a joint deal with Recurrent Energy in October for a 150-megawatt solar plant combined with a battery system rated at 45 megawatts/180 megawatt-hours. They also signed a deal with EDF Renewables North America for 128 megawatts of solar capacity coupled with a 40-megawatt/160-megawatt-hour battery plant.

“CCAs represent a non-trivial opportunity for solar and storage developers doing business in California,” said Ravi Manghani, energy storage director at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

The upside could be considerably better than “non-trivial,” as the addressable market of CCA customers has grown astonishingly vast in the last few years. Industry group CalCCA counts 19 different CCAs covering almost the entire coastal territory of California. They serve a combined 4,073,600 customer accounts, and many more counties are mulling whether to go the CCA route.

In just a few years, CCAs have pulled retail customers away from utilities across a vast swath of California.

The CCAs’ charters include varying degrees of commitment to locally sited and clean energy investments. Both goals lend themselves to storage when it comes time to ensure dispatchable capacity; nobody is eager to build new fossil-fuel-burning resources in their neighborhood.

“CCAs, just based on the philosophy of their existence, are likely to go beyond state mandates,” said WoodMac’s Manghani. “By definition, they have to be progressive.”

Read more here: What Oakland’s Pioneering Peaker Replacement Says About the Storage Market

What Oakland’s Pioneering Peaker Replacement Says About the Storage Market

Green Tech Media

There’s an underappreciated market in California, with 4 million customers and counting, that’s constitutionally disposed to buying storage.

Sometimes the greatest clean energy innovations happen in your own backyard.

That’s a wishful statement for most people in this country, but I live in Oakland, California, so it comes true with delightful regularity. Thus, I commuted 10 minutes on a recent Monday morning to see the unveiling of an energy storage project that the industry would do well to emulate elsewhere.

The Oakland Clean Energy Initiative hits several grid edge high notes.

It’s shutting down an urban peaker that burns jet fuel next to bustling residential and commercial areas, replacing it with a battery peaker. It’s also a non-wires alternative, offsetting a much more expensive and invasive wire-based upgrade. Lastly, it’s a proof of concept that California’s local power purchasers, known as community-choice aggregators (CCAs), could offer considerably more upside for storage deployment than previously thought.

Here are the key lessons from this new project structure that could translate beyond the shores of Oakland’s Jack London Square.

CCAs will drive significant storage development

For better or worse, California structured its energy storage rollout so that large projects flow through utility procurement. The state gave each investor-owned utility a target, and they had to meet it. But CCAs are breaking open a new market that does not depend on the lengthy cycle of utility procurement.

Case in point, East Bay Community Energy, which covers Oakland and the rest of Alameda County, across the bay from San Francisco, just launched last fall. Besides the 20-megawatt/80-megawatt-hour system slated for downtown Oakland, it contracted with EDP Renewables North America for a 100-megawatt solar plant in the Central Valley paired with 30 megawatts/120 megawatt-hours of storage.

Before its one-year anniversary, the group signed contracts that exceeded its obligation under the state energy storage mandate by a factor of four or five, CEO Nick Chaset told me.

That’s a striking departure from the status quo approach of procuring to meet a target. East Bay Community Energy is not alone in this storage enthusiasm.

Silicon Valley Clean Energy and Monterey Bay Community Power signed a joint deal with Recurrent Energy in October for a 150-megawatt solar plant combined with a battery system rated at 45 megawatts/180 megawatt-hours. They also signed a deal with EDF Renewables North America for 128 megawatts of solar capacity coupled with a 40-megawatt/160-megawatt-hour battery plant.

“CCAs represent a non-trivial opportunity for solar and storage developers doing business in California,” said Ravi Manghani, energy storage director at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

Read more here: https://www.greentechmedia.com/squared/storage-plus/what-oaklands-pioneering-peaker-replacement-says-about-the-storage-market?utm_source=splusnewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=gtm2&tpcc=splusnewsletter

Oakland to Swap Jet Fuel-Burning Peaker Plant for Urban Battery

Greentech Media

OAKLAND, Calif. — Jack London Square reminds a visitor of Oakland’s nautical roots. Seagulls squawk, ships bob in the harbor, commuters rush out of cars or wheel their bikes to the ferry terminal to embark across the San Francisco Bay. Up the wharf, shipping cranes tower over the proposed site of the future Oakland A’s baseball stadium.

In the foreground, a combustion turbine peaker plant sits across the street from the ferry launch, behind an immense ochre-colored vat of the jet fuel that it combusts.

“The plant that’s sitting there has been there for a long time, and it’s been the bane of many West Oakland folks because it is a significant contributor to air pollution here,” said State Senator Nancy Skinner, adding that residents there face higher rates of asthma.

Now the residents who want the plant gone have a new ally: East Bay Community Energy, the locally governed entity that buys power for Alameda County. This community choice aggregator launched in 2018 with a mandate to buy cleaner power than utility PG&E while keeping prices affordable and promoting well-paying jobs.

On Monday morning, EBCE staff arrived at the wharf alongside Skinner, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and other local leaders to sign a set of contracts for clean energy. One of those contracts would rip out the old turbines and replace them with a 20 megawatt, 80 megawatt-hour lithium-ion battery system to meet demand in this pocket of the city without releasing local particulate pollution or greenhouse gases (although it will charge from the grid, resulting in emissions elsewhere).

The project blends several cutting-edge grid trends at once.

It shuts down fossil fuel infrastructure in favor of new cleantech alternatives, serving California’s grid decarbonization law. It also fills a grid reliability need that traditionally would have required more invasive and capital intensive infrastructure, offering yet another example of the non-wires alternative philosophy.

Read more here: https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/oakland-to-swap-jet-fueled-peaker-plant-for-urban-battery#gs.l3ceg6

Wholesale power sales to California’s Community Choice Aggregators up 114% in Q1

S&P Global

Houston — The pattern of wholesale power sales in California in the first quarter of 2019 revealed the strengthening shift in sales to Community Choice Aggregators, or CCAs, according to data filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and compiled by S&P Global Platts.

Total wholesale power sales in the California Independent System Operator market in Q1 2019, rose 18% to 89.3 million MWh. Over the same time period, sales just to CCAs rose 114% to total 11.952 million MWh in Q1 2019, up from 5.577 million MWh sold in Q1 2018.

In Q1 2018, sales to CCAs represented 7.3% of all wholesale power sales. In Q1 2019, sales to CCAs represented a near doubling, to 13.3% of total sales, according to the data published in S&P Global Platts’ Power Sales Analysis.

Seventeen CCAs bought power from 28 sellers in Q1 2019, compared to just 10 CCAs buying power from 22 sellers in Q1 2018.

The leading CCA buyer was Clean Power Alliance, which is an electricity provider across Los Angeles and Ventura counties in Southern California. CPA says it is now serving close to 1 million customers in 31 communities. In Q1 it bought 2.1 million MWh of power, compared to 65,719 MWh in Q1 2018. Southern California Edison is delivering power to CPA’s customers.

The second biggest buyer in Q1 2019 was East Bay Community Energy, known as EBCE, which launched in June 2018. It bought 1.77 million MWh. Marin Clean Energy, the oldest CCA, which was founded in 2010, was the fifth most active buyer, with 1.22 million MWh purchased, compared to 1.13 million MWh purchased in Q1 2018, an increase of 8.2%.

Read more here: https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/electric-power/061719-wholesale-power-sales-to-californias-community-choice-aggregators-up-114-in-q1

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.

Read more here: https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Agency-s-effort-to-retire-Oakland-power-plant-13944285.php