Incentives for Smart Thermostats and Heat Pump Water Heaters Now Available Through Sonoma Clean Power

November 26, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kate Kelly, Director of Public Relations/Sonoma Clean Power

kkelly@sonomacleanpower.org | 707.978.3468

 

Incentives for Smart Thermostats and Heat Pump Water Heaters Now Available Through Sonoma Clean Power

Sonoma Clean Power Adds New Technologies to Its Demand-Response Program

 

(SANTA ROSA, CA) – Sonoma Clean Power (SCP), the public electricity provider for Sonoma and Mendocino counties, has added two new smart devices to its demand-response program, GridSavvy.

SCP first launched GridSavvy in 2017 to experiment with the unique opportunity that smart home devices present for controlling the local demand for electricity during hours of the day when California’s grid is stressed.

“Through GridSavvy, we’re able to partner with, and provide financial incentives to, Sonoma Clean Power customers that use their smart devices as a resource, working to get the last bit of carbon out of SCP’s electricity portfolio,” says Rachel Kuykendall, Senior Programs Manager with SCP.

In addition to free electric vehicle chargers, SCP will now offer generous incentives for smart thermostats and heat pump water heaters. The new options include two thermostat products by ecobee and a heat pump water heater by Rheem.

Once any of the three technologies are installed in an SCP customer’s home or business, they are eligible to join the GridSavvy Community and receive a $5 per month bill credit.

Demand-response programs, like GridSavvy, have the ability to serve as a major tool for accelerating the use of renewable energy and balancing California’s electricity load.

In partnership with its program administrator, Olivine, Inc., a company which assists utilities, Community Choice Aggregators, and other energy service providers in designing, developing, and operating community-based distributed energy resources (DER) programs, SCP can manage multiple technologies and remotely control when these smart home devices use electricity.

When there is excess energy on the grid, primarily during the middle of the day when solar generation peaks, SCP can encourage the smart devices to charge or pre-heat themselves. When there are spikes in the demand for electricity and non-renewable energy sources are being used, SCP can delay the devices to operate when the grid is cleaner.

Not only does GridSavvy provide a solution for stabilizing the state’s electricity grid, but it can also help local households save a significant amount of energy each month. Heat pump water heaters, in particular, can be up to two or three times more energy-efficient than conventional gas or electric resistance water heaters, which can immediately reduce utility bills.

As smart home devices continue to rise in popularity, SCP hopes to expand and utilize GridSavvy’s capabilities to the fullest potential.

To learn more about GridSavvy and the integrated technologies, visit www.scpgridsavvy.org.

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MCE Commits $3 Million to Support Local Resiliency Projects in the Wake of PG&E Power Shutoffs

New investments are part of MCE’s comprehensive strategy for supporting communities and

vulnerable customers across its four-county service area

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 22, 2019

MCE Press Contact:
Kalicia Pivirotto | Marketing Manager
(415) 464-6036 | kpivirotto@mceCleanEnergy.org

SAN RAFAEL and CONCORD, Calif. — MCE’s Board voted last night to commit $3 million to support resiliency projects for its customers. This major new investment is focused on funding local resiliency efforts in MCE’s four-county service area, specifically for critical facilities and sites serving vulnerable customers. MCE has already begun extensive outreach with Offices of Emergency Services, Public Health officials, and other community partners to identify the most critical sites and vulnerable communities to target for initial investments.

This $3 million commitment is in addition to MCE’s current $2+ million Local Renewable Energy & Program Development Fund, which has supported creation of 12 local renewable projects in MCE’s service area. These projects are now delivering approximately 25 megawatts of energy capacity—enough energy to power 12,000 homes annually.

“MCE is committed to creating climate resilience within the communities we serve— building on our history of delivering community benefits and local energy projects,” said Dawn Weisz, CEO of MCE. “Our multi-pronged approach to resiliency will mirror the same best practices that we’ve relied on successfully over the past 10 years —leveraging strong community partnerships, focusing on vulnerable customers, and targeting our community investments to meet gaps and accelerate progress.”

Since the first Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) in June, 2019, MCE has been developing a comprehensive approach to supporting resiliency for communities and vulnerable customers. There have been six PSPS events this year that have impacted approximately 240,000 MCE customer accounts.

Other MCE resiliency initiatives underway:

  • Hardening MCE’s San Rafael office to add energy storage and islanding capability onto its existing 80kW solar array and 10 public charging ports, allowing MCE’s site to function during power shutoffs, and provide electric vehicle charging and power to the building for public charging or other community needs.
  • Adjusting MCE’s current rooftop solar program to include solar and storage incentives for existing solar customers.
  • Identifying additional long-term investments MCE can make to reduce strain on the grid, including resource adequacy, demand reduction, and load shifting.

To oversee MCE’s resiliency and distributed energy program, Jim Baak recently joined MCE as Manager of Distributed Energy Resources. Baak is an experienced clean energy and electric utility industry professional with over 30 years of experience in the energy industry, including 14 years working in renewable energy, distributed energy resources, and behind-the-meter energy storage. Prior to MCE, Baak worked for STEM, and for public power agencies in North Carolina and Alameda, CA.

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About MCE: MCE is California’s first Community Choice Aggregation Program, a not-for-profit, public agency that began service in 2010 with the goals of providing cleaner power at stable rates to its customers, reducing greenhouse emissions, and investing in targeted energy programs that support communities’ energy needs. MCE is a load-serving entity supporting approximately 1,000 MW peak load. MCE provides electricity service to approximately 470,000 customer accounts and more than 1 million residents and businesses in 34 member communities across 4 Bay Area counties: Napa, Marin, Contra Costa, and Solano. For more information about MCE, visit mceCleanEnergy.org.

Download Press Release (pdf)

East Bay Community Energy Approves $500,000 for Program to Support Customers with Medical Need for Reliable Electricity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 20, 2019
Press Contact: Annie Henderson
ahenderson@ebce.org | 510-640-9681
East Bay Community Energy Approves $500,000 for Program to Support
Customers with Medical Need for Reliable Electricity
Program will address vulnerable customer needs during PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs

Hayward, Calif. – The East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) board of directors tonight approved half a million dollars to develop and fund a program aimed at addressing the issues caused by PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) for its customers that are medically dependent on electricity. Power shutoff events increase Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, threaten our customers’ safety, and disrupt operations throughout EBCE’s service territory of Alameda County, as well as the rest of northern California. PG&E initiated multiple PSPS events in October 2019, cutting power to almost 1 million accounts and 3 million people across California.

In total 50,000 EBCE customers were affected by the second October PSPS event. More than 1,000 of those customers were on PG&E’s Medical Baseline program, which serves people with special energy needs because of a medical condition. EBCE has 10,000 Medical Baseline customers, which indicates they require special notification when power shut offs may occur and provides them special privileges if they are at risk for being disconnected for lack of payment. However, Medical Baseline enrollments may not accurately capture all EBCE’s vulnerable, electricity dependent customers.

As a leader in our community as well as in the energy space, EBCE is offering solutions to those customers who will be most at risk in future PSPS events, especially those who are reliant on electricity for their medical needs. In a display of this leadership, the Board of Directors approved funding for a program that enables EBCE to better understand its Medical Baseline / electricity dependent customers, assesses their individual needs, and develop a set of solutions to mitigate critical impacts to this customer segment as a result of PSPS events.

The approved funding will support completion of three program activities through June 2020:

  1. Finding the best solution: EBCE will partner with local public health institutions such as hospitals and municipal emergency services agencies to identify customers with critical, electricity dependent medical needs in Alameda County. EBCE will work with community partners to identify these customers, assess their individual needs, and develop the appropriate PSPS-response solutions.
  2. Immediate action with Solar + Storage: EBCE will partner with other Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) and the private sector to deploy solar and battery energy storage systems on homes of at least 30 Medical Baseline / electricity dependent customers to deliver immediate relief and test the approach and pricing for this solution. These back-up power systems will allow customers that are unable to leave their homes to safely stay at home during a power outage. It could also reduce power outage-related calls that these customers place to emergency services.
  3. Scaling the best results: EBCE will take the learnings from the first two activities and contract with a consultant to develop a comprehensive solution for all types of Medical Baseline / electricity dependent customers.

 The output of these efforts will be a suite of solutions for Medical Baseline / electricity dependent customers that EBCE will implement going forward in future budget years. This effort is the first step in many that EBCE will take to promote the health and well-being of the electricity-dependent vulnerable customers in Alameda County.

A copy of the staff report and presentation to the Board is available at https://ebce.org/wp-content/uploads/Item-18-Board-Memo-Medical-Baseline-Resilience-Progam-Funding.pdf

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About East Bay Community Energy (EBCE)
EBCE is a not-for-profit public agency that operates a Community Choice Energy program for Alameda County and eleven incorporated cities, serving more than 550,000 residential and commercial customers throughout the county. EBCE initiated service in June 2018 and is one of 19 community choice aggregation (CCA) programs operating in California. CCAs are expediting the climate action goals of their communities and those of California. EBCE is committed to providing clean power at competitive rates while reinvesting in our local communities. For more information about East Bay Community Energy, visit https://ebce.org/

MCE Releases Fall 2019 Update on Climate Action Advancements Across its Bay Area Service Area

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nov. 14, 2019

MCE Releases Fall 2019 Update on Climate Action Advancements Across its Bay Area Service Area

SAN RAFAEL and CONCORD, Calif. — MCE released a new report today highlighting climate action advancements across the four Bay Area counties its serves — including a record number of local governments in Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, and Solano Counties that have switched to 100% renewable energy service and shown steady growth in customers taking advantage of MCE’s rooftop solar and electric vehicle incentive programs.

“Since MCE became California’s first Community Choice Aggregation program in 2010, we have worked to help our customers fight back against climate change by offering more renewable energy service options, and making investments in local energy projects and innovative energy efficiency, solar, and electric vehicle programs,” says Dawn Weisz, CEO of MCE. “We’re heartened to see all of this progress to date across our entire four-county service area, and we’re committed to expanding these efforts.”

Among the highlights in the new report: 22 of the 34 city, town, and county governments in MCE’s service area have taken the lead on local climate action by choosing to enroll their municipal electric accounts in Deep Green, MCE’s 100% renewable energy service option. These communities are now purchasing carbon-free electricity for their public buildings, streetlights, and civic services — 100% of it from California solar and wind energy sources.

“MCE’s programs are a great incentive for everyone in our region to be less reliant on energy sources that are contributing to climate change and the growing threat of wildfires,” said Elizabeth Patterson, Mayor of Benicia and MCE Board Member. “We’re proud to welcome MCE to Solano County, and to give our electricity customers the option of cleaner, cost-competitive energy sourced by a local agency with a proven track record we can trust. It’s the right thing to do.”

Other highlights of the MCE Climate Action Update — Fall 2019:

  • MCE now has over 470,000 electricity accounts in the Bay Area – providing renewable energy to more than 1 million customers and businesses. Ratepayers have saved more than $50 million on their monthly bills after switching to MCE, compared to customers who have remained with PG&E.
  • MCE’s decision to install publicly available charging was influenced by an EPA-funded study of our service area showing a significant gap in EV charging infrastructure. Over the past year, MCE’s EV charging program, MCEv, and our own investments in workplace charging have contributed to closing the EV infrastructure gap by over 40 percent.
  • More than 33,000 MCE customers have invested in rooftop solar, benefitting from MCE’s premium rates that compensate solar customers for excess electricity generated.
  • There are now more electrical vehicle charging stations than gas stations in Marin County – in part due to MCE’s support of local, renewable energy infrastructure.
  • With the support of investments made by MCE, 12 new renewable energy projects in MCE’s service area are now providing a collective capacity of approximately 25 megawatts of clean electricity – enough energy to power over 12,000 homes annually.
  • MCE has reduced GHG emissions in the Bay Area by over 340,000 metric tons since it was launched – equivalent to taking nearly 72,200 cars off the road for one year, according to the EPA’s greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator.

To read the full MCE Member 2019 Update, please click here.

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About MCE: MCE is California’s first Community Choice Aggregation Program, a not-for-profit, public agency that began service in 2010 with the goals of providing cleaner power at stable rates to its customers, reducing greenhouse emissions, and investing in targeted energy programs that support communities’ energy needs. MCE is a load-serving entity supporting approximately 1,000 MW peak load. MCE provides electricity service to approximately 470,000 customer accounts and more than 1 million residents and businesses in 34 member communities across 4 Bay Area counties: Napa, Marin, Contra Costa, and Solano. For more information about MCE, visit mceCleanEnergy.org.

Winters Votes to Join Valley Clean Energy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press contact: Jim Parks, customer outreach and programs director

530-446-2750 | info@valleycleanenergy.org

WINTERS VOTES TO JOIN VALLEY CLEAN ENERGY

The city of Winters is the fourth local jurisdiction to join Valley Clean Energy, Yolo County’s not-for-profit public clean power electricity agency. The cities of Woodland and Davis as well as the unincorporated area of Yolo County are already members, having launched the agency in June 2018.

At its Oct. 15 meeting, the Winters City Council passed a resolution approving the terms of membership in VCE as well as the first reading of an ordinance authorizing implementation of the community choice aggregation program for all electricity customers in Winters. The second reading and adoption of the ordinance occurred at the Nov. 5 council meeting.

Earlier, the VCE board — composed of elected officials from the participating jurisdictions — had approved Winters’ membership in the joint powers agency.

“We’re very excited to be able to offer Winters residents and businesses an energy portfolio with high renewable content at rates that are competitive with those of PG&E’s,” Mayor Bill Biasi said.

The city will now become an associate member of VCE prior to being granted full membership in December. Two members of the Winters City Council will join the VCE board.

“Adding Winters to our service territory further strengthens our locally controlled power agency,” said VCE Board Chair Tom Stallard, a member of the Woodland City Council. “Working together, we are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing local renewable generation capacity and bolstering energy conservation projects and programs.”

VCE and the city of Winters will jointly undertake community engagement efforts to raise awareness of the program and answer community questions. These efforts will include Winters-specific web pages, social media and printed materials in Spanish and English; continued public workshops and community events; meetings with key stakeholder groups as well as commercial and large energy users; and at least four notices mailed to each customer.

Winters has submitted a $25,000 membership fee to offset costs associated with joining the joint powers agency. Per VCE’s new membership policy, that fee is refundable upon enrollment of Winters customers in VCE in 2021.

Joining now as an associate member allows Winters to participate with other VCE member jurisdictions in ongoing discussions related to the potential acquisition of local PG&E distribution assets.

The West Sacramento City Council has also voted to join VCE as an associate member, giving that city a seat at the table as discussions continue concerning PG&E’s future.

On Friday, Oct. 18, VCE submitted a non-binding $300 million bid to purchase PG&E’s lines, poles and other electricity distribution assets within Yolo County. VCE’s offer is subject to approval by the federal court handling the PG&E bankruptcy case.

For more information about Valley Clean Energy, visit www.valleycleanenergy.org or call Jim Parks, VCE’s customer outreach and programs director, at 530-446-2750.

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About Valley Clean Energy: Valley Clean Energy is a not-for-profit public agency formed to provide electrical generation service to customers in Woodland, Davis, Winters and the unincorporated areas of Yolo County. Our mission is to source cost-competitive clean electricity while providing product choice, price stability, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emission reductions and reinvestment in the communities we serve.

Four Bay Area Community Energy Agencies Kick Off New Program to Provide Local Resiliency

Program will result in thousands of homes and businesses installing backup power

Fremont, Calif. – Local Bay Area energy agencies are joining forces to stabilize California’s grid by providing residents and businesses with economical and emissions-free battery backup systems. East Bay Community Energy (EBCE), Peninsula Clean Energy, Silicon Valley Power (SVP), and Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) are issuing a joint solicitation for the installation of over 30 megawatts of battery storage for their customers. The program will provide resilient solar power combined with battery storage to approximately 6,000 homes and hundreds of businesses in Alameda, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties, including those hit by recent Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) power shutoffs.

This innovative program also enables the use of local resources to fulfill state “Resource Adequacy” requirements. Resource Adequacy refers to energy generating capacity that local agencies and utilities must contract to ensure the safe and reliable operation of California’s  electrical grid in real time. This requirement has historically been filled through purchasing Resource Adequacy from distant power plants. This new program shifts the purchase of Resource Adequacy to new local solar power and battery storage systems that provide the benefits of backup power directly to local homes and businesses as well as bill savings.

The announcement will be made outside the Fremont Fire Station #6, where a microgrid powered by a solar and battery system ensures the lights stay on for emergency responders through the outages that have affected more than one million customers in PG&E territory alone during the past several weeks.

The Request for Proposals, issued today, calls for proposals to install battery systems on local homes and businesses that may be combined with new or existing solar systems. The systems will lower energy bills, increase reliability, and help stabilize the power supply for the community at large. A minimum of fifty percent of the systems are earmarked for residents and the remaining capacity for multifamily properties and commercial buildings. Partner vendor(s) will be selected in early 2020, with the intent of announcing the program details in spring 2020, and projects to be underway soon after with the intent of preempting the next fire season.

EBCE, Peninsula Clean Energy, and SVCE are Community Choice Energy providers; public agencies that for the past few years have provided businesses and residents in Alameda, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties respectively with clean power at rates below PG&E’s. The agencies have collectively saved customers tens of millions of dollars each year on electricity while funding the development of hundreds of megawatts of new renewable energy projects. They are joined by SVP, the long-standing municipal utility serving the City of Santa Clara.

While the solicitation is not prescriptive, it lists goals of supporting low-income residents, customers with life-dependent medical equipment, and residents and businesses located in disadvantaged communities. One potential model for the program is EBCE’s ten-year agreement with San Francisco-based Sunrun for 0.5 megawatts of energy storage in and around Oakland drawn from new solar plus storage installations on low-income housing. The program will also complement Peninsula Clean Energy’s commitment of up to $10 million to provide clean backup power in Santa Mateo County, as well as additional customer programs provided by SVCE and SVP.

The Request for Proposals can be found at ebce.org/solicitations, or peninsulacleanenergy.com/resilience-RFP, or https://www.svcleanenergy.org/solicitations/.

Customers within Alameda County interested in participating in the program can sign up to receive updates at ebce.org/resilience, in San Mateo County at peninsulacleanenergy.com/resilience, and in portions of Santa Clara County at  svcleanenergy.org/resilience.

Read this story as featured in the San Francisco Chronicle.

A press conference will be live streamed on the SV Clean Energy Facebook page today at 10 a.m.

Peninsula Clean Energy Commits $10 Million for Emergency Backup Power During PG&E Outages

Peninsula Clean Energy Commits $10 Million for Emergency Backup Power During PG&E Outages

REDWOOD CITY, CA – October 28, 2019 – The Peninsula Clean Energy Board of Directors voted to commit up to $10 million over three years to fund clean backup power for San Mateo County’s medically vulnerable residents and essential community services during PG&E power shutoffs.

“This investment will help provide the most vulnerable Peninsula Clean Energy customers and facilities with electricity during blackouts,” said Jan Pepper, CEO of Peninsula Clean Energy. “In just two weeks, PG&E has already turned the lights out on portions of San Mateo County three times.The planned outages by PG&E are expected to continue for years. We are acting now to develop emergency power solutions for those customers who are most at risk.”

Peninsula Clean Energy purchases the electricity for 290,000 homes, businesses, and community facilities in San Mateo County while PG&E continues to maintain the grid. Nearly 60,000 Peninsula Clean Energy accounts have been affected by PG&E power shutoffs over the last several days. This includes medically vulnerable residents who rely on electricity to power lifesaving devices such as ventilators.

Peninsula Clean Energy will develop programs to support the installation of battery backup systems powered by renewable energy on eligible homes and community facilities with greatest need. These clean power options are expected to increasingly replace backup diesel generators. Diesel generators emit dangerous pollutants and greenhouse gases.

Peninsula Clean Energy’s new emergency power backup programs will begin rolling out next year. Governor Newsom’s recently announced statewide funding for emergency power backup systems is expected to supplement this effort. Peninsula Clean Energy is also collaborating with other Bay Area community choice energy agencies and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District on resiliency programs.

“Peninsula Clean Energy is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions throughout San Mateo County,” said Pepper. “We will offer cleaner, economical alternatives to diesel generators to protect medically sensitive customers and our community service providers. These programs are part of fulfilling the organization’s mission.”

About Peninsula Clean Energy

Peninsula Clean Energy is San Mateo County’s official electricity provider. It is a public local community choice energy agency that provides all electric customers in San Mateo County with cleaner electricity at lower rates than those charged by the local incumbent utility. Peninsula Clean Energy saves customers an estimated $18 million a year. Peninsula Clean Energy, formed in March 2016, is a joint powers authority made up of the County of San Mateo and all 20 cities and towns in the County. The agency serves approximately 290,000 accounts. www.PeninsulaCleanEnergy.com

 

Peninsula Clean Energy Contact

Kirsten Andrews-Schwind

Peninsula Clean Energy

kandrews-schwind@peninsulacleanenergy.com

M: 650.260.0096

VCE Pays Back Start-Up Loans Early

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press contact: Jim Parks, Director of Customer Care and Marketing

530-446-2750 | info@valleycleanenergy.org

VCE Pays Back Start-Up Loans Early

Valley Clean Energy’s board of directors has announced that the local community choice energy agency is repaying its start-up loans early, years ahead of schedule.

VCE was formed in 2016 as a joint powers agency comprising the city of Davis and the unincorporated area of Yolo County. The city of Woodland joined later, in 2017. Each agency lent VCE $500,000 to cover program implementation costs with a requirement that the loans would be repaid with interest.

“Now, after less than 1½ years in operation, we are repaying the loans — far ahead of schedule,” said Tom Stallard, a member of the Woodland City Council who chairs the VCE board of directors. “The agency’s firm financial footing allows us to do so.”

VCE serves the electric power needs of 150,000 customers in Davis, Woodland and unincorporated Yolo County, delivering greener energy at competitive prices.

Added Lucas Frerichs, a member of the Davis City Council and another VCE board member, “Through Valley Clean Energy, we’ve taken a big leap toward a more sustainable future for our communities. And to have done so in such a fiscally responsible way is even more gratifying.”

VCE also announced this month that it has exceeded its program goals for renewable energy. Its Standard Green electricity portfolio included 48 percent renewable energy, topping the original 42 percent goal.

In contrast, PG&E’s standard electricity product for 2018 was 39 percent renewable, and the average for California as a whole was 31 percent, as estimated by the California Energy Commission.

“We exceeded our goal even while matching PG&E’s rates,” said Gary Sandy, representing the Third District on the Yolo County Board of Supervisors and VCE board member. “And as a not-for-profit entity, VCE is investing its revenues back into the local economy. Our board is in tune with our communities and is responsive to their priorities and needs.”

For more information about Valley Clean Energy, visit www.valleycleanenergy.org or call 855-699-8232.

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About VCE: Valley Clean Energy is a not-for-profit public agency formed to provide electrical generation service to customers in Woodland, Davis, and the unincorporated areas of Yolo County. Our mission is to source cost-competitive clean electricity while providing product choice, price stability, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emission reductions and reinvestment in the communities we serve.

Valley Clean Energy Board Answers Governor’s Call, Authorizes Offer to Purchase PG&E Assets

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Oct. 19, 2019
Press contact:
Jim Parks, customer outreach and programs director
530-446-2750 | info@valleycleanenergy.org

Valley Clean Energy Board Answers Governor’s Call, Authorizes Offer to Purchase PG&E Assets

Yolo County, CA – The board of Yolo County’s clean power agency has submitted a $300 million bid to purchase Pacific Gas & Electric’s lines, poles and other electricity distribution assets within Yolo County.

The purchase would enable the creation of a locally owned and operated public utility that the board has concluded would result in a more successful, efficient and safe electricity system.

Following the announcement this summer of its intent to examine the purchase of local PG&E assets, and after months of study and review with expert consultants, the Valley Clean Energy board of directors submitted a non-binding offer Friday, Oct. 18, to purchase PG&E’s assets.

Valley Clean Energy’s offer would ultimately be subject to approval by the federal court handling the PG&E bankruptcy case.

Valley Clean Energy is a public agency that currently purchases electricity under a joint powers agreement for the cities of Woodland and Davis and unincorporated Yolo County, but relies on PG&E’s distribution system to bring that power to its customers.

Purchase of the local PG&E power poles and lines would allow for the creation of a Yolo County-based public utility similar in nature to those found in Lodi, Roseville, Sacramento (SMUD) and other communities across the state.

Circumstances surrounding PG&E’s January bankruptcy filing have created this unique opportunity to reimagine a more successful, efficient and safe electricity system in Yolo County and other areas of PG&E’s service territory.

“We have taken an important step toward local energy independence by submitting an official non-binding offer letter to PG&E of $300 million for the acquisition of PG&E’s power delivery infrastructure in Yolo County,” said Valley Clean Energy Board Chair Tom Stallard, a member of the Woodland City Council. “Our analysis was conducted by seasoned professionals and we believe the offer is competitive, fair and equitable.”

Valley Clean Energy’s efforts are supported by recent statements by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is encouraging local jurisdictions to pursue acquisition of PG&E’s local electrical lines. In reference to San Francisco’s recent offer to buy PG&E assets, the governor was quoted as saying, “I back more competition. I am very specifically encouraging others to come into this space and to make some bids. We want to create a competitive space — and all of it with an eye on different approaches.”

PG&E’s bankruptcy protection filing in January 2019 created an opportunity for community choice energy agencies such as Valley Clean Energy, along with other public agencies, to determine whether a “public power” electric service approach might provide greater control, benefits and safeguards to California communities.

“The transfer of PG&E’s electricity assets will aid PG&E’s financial stability and contribute to fire victim recovery settlements while helping Valley Clean Energy expand upon its efforts to provide reliable, safe, clean and affordable electricity to the residents and businesses of Yolo County,” added VCE Board Vice Chair Gary Sandy, a member of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors. “Bottom line, our offer makes financial and environmental sense.”

Added VCE Board Member Lucas Frerichs, a member of the Davis City Council, “Control of the power poles and lines in Yolo County would allow us to make local investment decisions that could mean a safer electricity system and provide benefits for both customers and the environment.

“We want this process to be as smooth as possible and will work with all concerned parties to ensure that transitioning from an investor-owned model to a municipally owned utility is beneficial to consumers, businesses and employees who would be served by our new utility.”

The decision to pursue acquisition of PG&E’s electric distribution assets is not unique to Valley Clean Energy; the city and county of San Francisco announced a $2.5 billion offer on Sept. 9 for PG&E’s infrastructure within its geographic boundaries.

Additionally, on Sept. 3, the South San Joaquin Irrigation District — a water agency in the heart of the state’s agricultural region that tried to buy PG&E distribution facilities in 2006 and 2016 — formally renewed its offer to purchase PG&E distribution system assets as part of the current bankruptcy proceeding.

And on Thursday, Oct. 17, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo announced his proposal to investigate the formation of a public utility for his city in the wake of the recent PG&E power shutoffs.

While the cost and responsibility of operating and upgrading an electrical distribution system is significant, many proven examples indicate that public ownership of power facilities is practical. A total of 54 public power utilities currently serve almost one-third of Californians.

Valley Clean Energy procures power for more than 150,000 residential and commercial electricity customers in Woodland, Davis and unincorporated Yolo County. However, customers currently pay PG&E for the distribution of that power to their homes and businesses using the infrastructure Valley Clean Energy has now offered to acquire.

Having full control over both electricity distribution and generation can help achieve Valley Clean Energy’s stated goals of providing cost-competitive clean energy, product choice, increased energy efficiency and price stability.

The PG&E bankruptcy process does not have a specific timeline but is expected to conclude in 2020. In the meantime, using other existing publicly owned utilities as models, the Valley Clean Energy board will consider possible agency structure, operational and financing options.

For more information about Valley Clean Energy, visit www.valleycleanenergy.org or call Jim Parks, VCE’s customer outreach and programs director, at 530-446-2750.

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About Valley Clean Energy: Valley Clean Energy is a not-for-profit public agency formed to provide electrical generation service to customers in Woodland, Davis and the unincorporated areas of Yolo County. Our mission is to source cost-competitive clean electricity while providing product choice, price stability, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emission reductions and reinvestment in the communities we serve.

 

Silicon Valley Clean Energy Launches Flagship Pilot with UtilityAPI

Community Choice Energy agency and energy data startup to ease data access and lower costs for energy services

Sunnyvale and Oakland, Calif. – Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) is teaming up with UtilityAPI to launch an energy data exchange platform as a flagship pilot. The pilot will demonstrate the potential of free, authorized access to standardized and automated energy usage data in accelerating the deployment of clean energy projects. Built on UtilityAPI’s industry leading, Data Exchange Platform, SVCE will be the first, and only, U.S. electricity provider with a Green Button Connect standard certified platform.

“We are excited to be launching such an innovative pilot with UtilityAPI,” said Girish Balachandran, SVCE CEO. “As much as the energy sector has been transformed by data over the past decade, we believe that data remains heavily under-valued – and good data policies are important tools to better serve our customers and spur market transformation.”

Primary users of the pilot will be third party companies in the solar, storage, energy efficiency, and EV charging sectors who need good data to deploy effective projects. SVCE also expects new business models to emerge, as this pilot lowers the barriers to data access for innovative companies. The pilot has been designated a flagship program because SVCE believes it will be transformative in improving the ability for market actors to support SVCE’s decarbonization mission while spurring private sector innovation and local economic opportunity.

In collaboration with SVCE’s data management services provider, companies will be able to use the UtilityAPI platform to request authorization from customers to access customer utility bill and usage data. The pilot will be built with the potential for third parties to send data back to SVCE via the same platform. Historically, the process for accessing energy data has been slow and cumbersome. Clean energy companies such as solar and storage providers have needed to expend considerable time and resources to acquire the data they need to offer their services. This is because there are few automated options for requesting access and providing standardized data. Many small and local businesses do not have the resources to commit to getting good data, so they must rely on less sophisticated tools such as gathering old utility bills and manually inputting data. This pilot will shorten the process into a one-click solution that will level the playing field for businesses of all sizes, lower acquisition costs for new business, and accelerate the deployment of clean energy services.

“We cannot imagine a more ideal launch partner for our data exchange platform,” said Devin Hampton, CEO of UtilityAPI. We are excited to demonstrate the value of the seamless exchange of energy data for both clean energy companies and electricity providers.”

The pilot will begin beta testing in November 2019, with the expected launch in January 2020. If your company would like to participate in the beta, please email support@utilityapi.com.

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About Silicon Valley Clean Energy

Silicon Valley Clean Energy is a community-owned agency serving the majority of Santa Clara County communities by acquiring clean, carbon-free electricity on behalf of residents and businesses. As a public agency, net revenues are returned to the community to keep rates low and promote clean energy programs. Member jurisdictions include Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Saratoga, Sunnyvale and unincorporated Santa Clara County. SVCE is guided by a Board of Directors, which is comprised of a representative from the governing body of each member community. For more information, please visit SVCleanEnergy.org.

About UtilityAPI

UtilityAPI is a mission driven software company working to streamline and secure the exchange of energy usage data between utilities, clean energy companies, and other technology providers. Founded in 2014, in Oakland, California, UtilityAPI is building the data network for a cleaner, more resilient energy sector. Some of the top clean energy and energy management companies use UtilityAPI every day to get the data they need. For utilities and utility vendors, UtilityAPI offers powerful tools for managing the exchange of energy data, while gaining behind-the-meter insights.

Media Contact
Pamela Leonard
Communications Manager
O: 408-721-5301 x1004
pamela.leonard@svcleanenergy.org