3CE Gets ‘A’ Credit Rating From S&P

California Energy Markets

Standard & Poor’s gave Central Coast Community Energy an “A” issuer credit rating Oct. 16, an indication that S&P considers the community choice aggregator “stable.”

3CE—formerly known as Monterey Bay Community Power—said it expects the rating will ultimately boost the number of counterparties competing for its wholesale contracts, lower its transaction costs, and provide it with access to “innovative financing structures” needed for developing energy solutions.

“3CE is proud to receive the first ‘A’ investment grade credit rating among California CCAs,” Bruce McPherson, 3CE policy board chair and Santa Cruz County supervisor, said in a news release. “This is a testament to the hard work and forward thinking 3CE staff and leadership have demonstrated since launching in 2018 . . . This historic rating will allow 3CE to embark on an even more impactful path towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions through local energy programs and energy procurement, and it helps to ensure the longevity and continued success of 3CE on behalf of our communities.”

Read more here: https://www.newsdata.com/california_energy_markets/regional_roundup/3ce-gets-a-credit-rating-from-s-p/article_ac5e73a0-1561-11eb-b42d-1fa192b92b9f.html

The First Major Long-Duration Storage Procurement Has Arrived

California’s community-choice aggregators are moving ahead of the traditional utilities.

Greentech Media

California regulators said this year that the state will need 1 gigawatt of long-duration storage by 2026. But the technologies that can cost-effectively meet that need have so far attracted more attention from white-paper authors than paying customers.

That changed on Thursday, when a coalition of eight Californian community-choice aggregators, led by Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE), published a request for offers seeking 500 megawatts of long-duration storage capacity. In doing so, they beat the state’s investor-owned utilities in making good on the California Public Utilities Commission’s call to invest in this resource.

“We know that this is going to be needed in our future,” SVCE CEO Girish Balachandran said in an interview. “As load-serving entities, we said, ‘Let’s take the first step of moving this forward.'”

Indeed, the Joint CCA procurement appears to be the largest-ever effort to contract for long-duration storage.

“I haven’t seen anything this big…that’s focused on long duration,” said Jin Noh, senior policy manager at the California Energy Storage Alliance.

Read more here: https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/the-first-long-duration-storage-procurement-has-arrived

CCA Board Members Petition CPUC to Resolve Exit Fee Issues Immediately

California Energy Markets

A group of almost 100 board members from 11 different community choice aggregators sent a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission Sept. 24, asking it to take prompt action to resolve the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment fee.

The PCIA is the mechanism that calculates the fees customers pay when they leave investor-owned utility service for CCAs and direct-access providers, and is frequently cited by CCA staff and board members as the root of higher utility fees.

The fee “has risen more than 600 percent since 2013 in the Pacific Gas & Electric service area, and nearly doubled since the CPUC changed the rules in 2018,” according to the letter. “Raising exit fees by hundreds of millions of dollars a year, now in the middle of a global pandemic and its accompanying economic crisis, is entirely unacceptable.

“The 2018 PCIA decision promised stakeholders transparency and stability,” the letter continues. “Neither outcome has occurred. The heart of the problem is that the current regulatory structures governing exit fees provide no incentive for the IOUs to reduce their portfolio costs—an outcome that hurts all energy consumers in the state, customers of the IOUs and the CCAs . . . [W]e call on the Commission to immediately take actions to reduce the PCIA for all customers (IOU & CCA) and smooth PCIA volatility.”

Read more here: https://www.newsdata.com/california_energy_markets/regional_roundup/cca-board-members-petition-cpuc-to-resolve-exit-fee-issues-immediately

Calif. Governor bans new gasoline car sales by 2035, orders EV charging buildout

S&P Global

Citing the transportation sector’s majority share of California’s greenhouse gas emissions amid the escalating climate crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 23 issued an executive order effectively banning the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger cars and trucks by 2035. Newsom’s order will also require zero-emission medium- to heavy-duty vehicles by 2045 “everywhere feasible” and charge state agencies with ensuring the buildout of sufficient electric-vehicle charging infrastructure.

“We are experiencing unprecedented weather,” Newsom said during a media briefing, pointing to the crushing heatwave and recent wildfires that have consumed roughly 3.7 million acres, a combination that triggered widespread power outages. “So as a consequence we have to deliver more than platitudes. We have to deliver more than proposals and promises well into the future. We’ve got to deliver in the application of our ideals.”

The electrification of transportation is an “economic opportunity to transform our economy” and chance to bring manufacturing and “green collar jobs” to California, Newsom added. “This is the next big global industry and California wants to dominate it.”

Clean Power Alliance, a community choice aggregator that procures power for roughly three million customers in Southern California, applauded the executive order and committed to launching a new program to increase the number of EV charging stations in the region.

“We will continue to expand the supply of renewable energy and energy storage so that these vehicles can be powered by reliable, pollution-free energy,” Clean Power Alliance Executive Director Ted Bardacke said in an email.

Read more here: https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/blog/essential-energy-insights-september-2020

California community group contracts for 260MWh of batteries to help keep lights on in dark times

Energy Storage News

A community choice energy provider run by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission in California has signed contracts for battery storage with EDF Renewables and NextEra Energy totalling 260MWh, to be deployed in combination with solar PV.

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is the provider of water to the City of San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area in California but also provides hydroelectric and solar energy in the Hetch Hetchy Valley of the famous Yosemite National Park – as well as providing power to San Francisco homes and businesses through its community choice programme, CleanPowerSF.

Community choice utilities providers, active in a handful of US states, are non-profit entities that enable customers to choose where their power comes from and through which sources, while still being able to rely on large investor-owned utilities’ infrastructure to transmit and distribute that power. The groups have been active in the past year or so in inking contracts for clean solar PV coupled with battery storage that makes the power dispatchable and reliable, nowhere more so than in California

Read more here: California community group contracts for 260MWh of batteries to help keep lights on in dark times

Wildfire Safety Division Refines WMPs; Co-ops, CCAs Tout Local Awareness

California Energy Markets

The Wildfire Safety Advisory Board at a Sept. 23 meeting acknowledged new challenges as the effects of climate change raged across the state in the form of record temperatures and millions of burning acres.

The WSAB, a board of independent experts within the California Public Utilities Commission, was created with the 2019 passage of AB 1054. It convened via webcast for its fifth meeting, in which it heard updates from the CPUC’s Wildfire Safety Division, with which the board has an advisory relationship, and presentations from California’s rural electric cooperative association and the California Community Choice Association about their wildfire mitigation efforts.

Sonoma Clean Power CEO Geof Syphers and Stephanie Chen, senior policy counsel for MCE, presented to the board the resilience initiatives of California’s community choice aggregators. CCAs represent some of the highest-fire-threat areas in the state, Syphers said, and like co-ops, they are experts in their local areas. As part of local governments, CCAs are also well positioned to work with other agencies to achieve best practices for wildfire mitigation. For example, a deeper understanding of community needs and resources can aid in improving the placement and efficacy of backup power resources for PSPS events, Syphers said.

Read more here: https://www.newsdata.com/california_energy_markets/regional_roundup/wildfire-safety-division-refines-wmps-co-ops-ccas-tout-local-awareness/article_08fea500-ff99-11ea-9865-9bb4894fabba.html

Preparing our SV workforce for clean, all-electric buildings and appliances

Silicon Valley Business Journal

Our energy landscape is changing rapidly. More than 50% of California’s electricity now comes from clean sources, such as solar and wind, and that number will be 100% by 2045, according to the executive order put into place by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2018’s Senate Bill 100. New building codes increasingly favor “all-electric” construction and electric vehicle sales continue to grow. This emerging transition to a clean, all-electric future is creating exciting growth opportunities for building contractors and tradespeople prepared to meet the challenge.

A majority of buildings in our region are mixed fuel, meaning they use both electricity and natural gas. Gas is primarily used for water and space heating as well as cooking, while electricity powers the rest – lighting, cooling, and other appliances. Historically, gas appliances were cleaner and more efficient for heating. But as we often see here in Silicon Valley, electric technology advancements have changed that equation, and are now disrupting the way energy is produced, and buildings are built.

A driving force for this transition from gas to clean electricity in buildings comes from increasing concerns around climate change. Through the growing Community Choice Energy movement, many communities across California have demanded a switch to clean energy sources, spurring new renewable energy projects that are cleaning up the electric grid. More than 150 cities have committed to using 100% renewable electricity, including many here in Silicon Valley.

Read more here: https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2020/09/23/preparing-our-sv-workforce-for-clean-all-electric.html

Pomona unveils new, city-backed power company

Daily Bulletin

The city of Pomona next month will launch its own power company, which officials say will produce clean and renewable energy along with savings for customers.

Set to launch Oct. 1, Pomona Choice Energy replaces Southern California Edison as the city’s main power provider. Household accounts will be enrolled in the new service automatically, though customers may opt out if they so choose. Businesses will be allowed to enroll at a later date.

Under the program, Pomona, not SCE, will purchase power directly from suppliers and significantly more of it will come from renewable resources, according to Chris Diggs, the city’s water resources manager who is overseeing Pomona Choice.

The program allows the City Council to select the power sources for the community, and gives it a say in setting rates. The council is expected to set rates annually based on projected costs.

Read more here: https://www.dailybulletin.com/2020/09/18/pomona-unveils-new-city-backed-power-company/

CalCCA Calls for Resource-Adequacy Reforms in Wake of Outages

California Energy Markets

Tight power supplies during a recent heat wave indicate an urgent need to reform the existing resource-adequacy rules in California, the California Community Choice Association told Gov. Gavin Newsom.

CalCCA sent a letter to Newsom Sept. 9, after rolling blackouts caused by inadequate energy capacity on the system.

“As the root causes of the extreme emergency events are revealed, they may point directly to solutions necessary to mitigate the risk of repeating similar events in the future,” CalCCA Executive Director Beth Vaughan said in the letter. “Even without certainty regarding those causes, however, California can begin now to take steps to increase reliability through action in the regulatory, legislative, and federal arenas.”

Read more here: https://www.newsdata.com/california_energy_markets/regional_roundup/calcca-calls-for-resource-adequacy-reforms-in-wake-of-outages/article_b710ad04-f482-11ea-87bf-9b9ad1a159be.html

New Bay Area Partnership Could Increase Grid Resilience

California Energy Markets

A new grid storage program rolling out across the San Francisco Bay Area could increase community resilience to blackouts and decrease a power provider’s resource-adequacy obligations, but regulatory uncertainty remains, speakers said during an Aug. 28 webinar.

The program, Power On Peninsula, is one of three being implemented through a 10-year contract between three California community choice aggregators and solar developer Sunrun, a representative from Peninsula Clean Energy said during the webinar hosted by the California Community Choice Association.

In addition to PCE, community choice power providers East Bay Community Energy and Silicon Valley Clean Energy also signed agreements with Sunrun (see CEM No. 1601). Collectively, the solar company will install up to 20 MW of residential solar power for around 6,000 households. The program is the result of a joint solicitation issued in November 2019.

It will also allow PCE to modify its load, decreasing the “duck curve” by dispatching storage capacity during peak load hours, Peter Levitt, associate manager of distributed energy resources strategy with PCE, said during the webinar. Under the agreement, PCE will pay Sunrun to continually discharge energy storage from the company’s distributed residential and multifamily solar-plus-storage systems in the 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. window, when PCE’s peak load traditionally hits, in order to create a permanent load shift to the evening hours.

Read more here: https://www.newsdata.com/california_energy_markets/regional_roundup/new-bay-area-partnership-could-increase-grid-resilience/article_dbeccbaa-eeea-11ea-9b68-3784f1064e6f.html