California opens rulemaking on provider of last resort, as customers move away from utilities

Utility Dive

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) opened a rulemaking Thursday to implement a provider of last resort (POLR) framework for the state, to ensure customers will receive electricity even if their power provider goes under or isn’t able to continue service.

Investor-owned utilities in the state currently serve as the POLR in each of their service territories. But in a second phase of the new rulemaking, regulators intend to focus on other entities that could take on that role.

A POLR, essentially a utility or entity that is obliged to serve all customers, isn’t specific to the electric sector — telecommunications carriers of last resort, for instance, have existed since the 1990s. In California, the concept has become especially relevant since the state restructured its electricity markets and transitioned away from vertically-integrated utilities that controlled generation, transmission and distribution, to a more competitive landscape.

Now, a host of other entities — like community choice aggregators (CCAs) and direct access providers, can provide customers with electricity. Moreover, customers have increasingly been turning to distributed solar and storage resources. As a result, a large chunk of load in the state is no longer in the hands of investor-owned utilities.

The California Community Choice Association (CalCCA) welcomes the discussion around improving the POLR process and “believes policies should be updated to reflect the reality of today’s electricity market in California, one in which CCAs serve the vast majority of customers in their service territories”, the group said in an emailed statement.

“We look forward to engaging in the CPUC rulemaking to ensure CCAs have a clear pathway to be designated as POLR,” CalCCA added.

Read more here: California opens rulemaking on provider of last resort, as customers move away from utilities | Utility Dive

SV Clean Energy Receives Clean Financial Audit

Local energy agency receives audit report

Sunnyvale, Calif. – On March 10, Pisenti & Brinker, LLP reported clean and unmodified financial audit results for the 2019 – 2020 fiscal year, to the Silicon Valley Clean Energy Board of Directors. This is the fourth clean and unmodified audit received by the agency.

“The audit went well, you are getting a clean opinion,” said Brett Bradford, Audit Partner for Pisenti & Brinker. “We didn’t identify any weaknesses in internal controls.”

The Pisenti & Brinker audit focused on revenue recognition, cash balances, accrued cost of electricity and other liabilities.

“The audit process offers great transparency into how Silicon Valley Clean Energy is operating,” said Margaret Abe-Koga, SVCE Board Chair and City of Mountain View Councilmember. “The Board of Directors is pleased with the clean audit and the financial practices SVCE has and continues to implement.”

The result of this audit is another positive indicator of SVCE’s financial standings. Additional financial indicators include SVCE’s ‘A’ credit rating from S&P Global in early 2021, and the ‘Baa2’ rating from Moody’s in 2020.

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About Silicon Valley Clean Energy

Silicon Valley Clean Energy is a not-for-profit, community-owned agency providing clean electricity from renewable and carbon-free sources to more than 270,000 residential and commercial customers in 13 Santa Clara County jurisdictions. As a public agency, net revenues are returned to the community to keep rates competitive and promote clean energy programs. Silicon Valley Clean Energy is advancing innovative solutions to fight climate change by decarbonizing the grid, transportation, and buildings. Learn more at SVCleanEnergy.org.

 

Media Contact:

Michaela Pippin, michaela.pippin@svcleanenergy.org, 408-721-5301 x1020

3CE PROVIDES $700,000 FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLE INCENTIVES

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE 2/24/21

3CE PROVIDES $700,000 FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLE INCENTIVES

 Central Coast Program Bridges Gap Between Regional EV Programs, Boosts Low-Income Benefits, Energizes Progress Toward State and Local EV & Emissions Goals

 

Monterey, CA. February 24, 2021 – Central Coast Community Energy (3CE) today launched the 3CE Electrify Your Ride Program, offering 3CE customers with cash rebates toward the purchase or lease of new or used electric vehicles.  While transportation accounts for an estimated 41% of California’s greenhouse gas emissions, currently less than 2% of vehicles on the Central Coast are electric. 3CE’s program is aimed at accelerating the adoption of electric and alternative-fuel vehicles for residential and commercial customers, as well as public agencies. This focus on vehicle adoption will bring 3CE’s EV adoption efforts full circle after partnering with the California Energy Commission on the California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP) to provide local businesses and property owners access to $7 million in funding for the construction of new or upgraded EV charging stations. More infrastructure funding could be in store for late 2021.

 

“The Central Coast is poised to see a dramatic increase in electric vehicle adoption,” shares Central Coast Community Energy’s Policy Board Chair and County of Santa Cruz Board Chair, Bruce McPherson. “3CE’s rapid response to delivering funds to electrify local vehicles, fleets, and buses is a testament to our flexibility and innovation. The transportation sector has been identified as one of our top focus areas for reducing local greenhouse gas emissions.” 

 

The Electrify Your Ride EV Incentive Program totals $700,000 in funding and is available on a first-come, first-served basis to all 3CE customers across 26 cities and four counties. Residential customers are eligible for one 3CE clean vehicle incentive per household, and commercial/agricultural customers as well as public agencies interested in electrifying their transportation fleets are eligible for up to five vehicles per company/agency.

3CE’s EV program offers double the incentive amount for eligible income-qualified customers, a step toward addressing local climate equity through 3CE’s GHG reducing energy programs. The income-qualified verification process is simple by design – customers need only one of the following: to be enrolled in PG&E’s CARE or FERA programs or be enrolled in the LIHEAP program. 3CE’s Electrify Your Ride Program, in combination with other available funding from State and Federal resources helps make clean vehicles more accessible and affordable. Currently, the average income-qualified residential participant can save up to $4,000 on a new electric vehicle through 3CE incentives and up to $15,000 by combining all other available incentives and rebates. EV shoppers can learn more about additional incentives and rebates by visiting 3CE’s website.

Table-and-Logo

New vehicles eligible for the program mirror the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project’s eligible vehicle list while eligible used vehicle requirements include 75,000 odometer miles or less, model year between 2014 and 2021, no open recalls, and a clean title. Additional requirements can be found on the EV incentive webpage.

 

“3CE continues to design and fund impactful programs that create meaningful greenhouse gas reductions while supporting the electrification of our Central Coast” shares 3CE CEO, Tom Habashi. “3CE is excited to continue accelerating the electrification of the transportation sector to reduce the climate impact locally.”

 

3CE Energy Programs are aimed at reducing GHG emissions in the three sectors which emit the most emissions: transportation, buildings and agriculture, as well as additional efforts to improve regional energy resiliency. By providing incentives to electrify infrastructure, equipment and everyday resources used by residential, commercial and agricultural customers, 3CE is making the greatest impact possible and making resources available to all types of customers. For more information about 3CE Energy Programs, please visit 3CEnergy.org/energy-programs/

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About Central Coast Community Energy

Central Coast Community Energy (3CE) is a public agency that sources competitively priced electricity from clean and renewable energy resources. 3CE is locally controlled and governed by board members who represent each community served by the agency. Revenue generated by 3CE stays local and helps keep electricity rates affordable for customers, while also funding innovative energy programs designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate economic development. 3CE serves more than 400,000 customers throughout the Central Coast, including residential, commercial and agricultural customers in communities located within Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more at 3CEnergy.org and on social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @3CEnergy.

Statewide Incentives for Energy Storage: Humboldt County Homes and Businesses are Signing Up for No- or Low-Cost Battery Systems

NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Nancy Stephenson
Phone: (707) 382-7110
Email: nstephenson@redwoodenergy.org
www.redwoodenergy.org

Statewide Incentives for Energy Storage

Humboldt County Homes and Businesses are Signing Up for No- or Low-Cost Battery Systems

Eureka, CA – Sept. 3, 2020.  Redwood Coast Energy Authority encourages our customers to take advantage of rebates available for a limited time for installing energy storage technology such as batteries at homes, businesses, and public facilities. Energy storage can reduce utility bills and keep the lights on during a power outage.

The California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) is providing these incentives. RCEA encourages our customers to reach out to an approved developer to reserve any potential incentives and rebates from SGIP as they are going fast. RCEA is negotiating a contract with one of these approved developers, Swell Energy, to implement a program specifically for our Community Choice Energy customers, which would add value to the SGIP. Swell Energy has said that residential incentive sign-ups may be filled up in less than three weeks, and we encourage you to contact them to see if you would qualify. Swell Energy is just one of the developers under SGIP, and they will be working with local companies for installation. A complete list of developers is available on RCEA’s website.

As of September 1, over $26 million of incentives has been reserved in Humboldt County, which includes Residential, Commercial, Tribal, and Public Facilities.

“The Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District requested $2.9 million in SGIP funds, and PG&E is reviewing our request,” said HBMWD Board member Sheri Woo. “The funds would allow energy storage at the Essex station and the Turbidity Reduction Facility, allowing us to avoid or greatly reduce energy use during expensive peak times.”

In response to California’s wildfires and Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) the CPUC has authorized funding of more than $1 billion through 2024 for SGIP. This funding includes prioritization of communities living in high fire-threat areas, communities that have experienced two or more utility PSPS events, as well as low income and medically vulnerable customers. Residential customers who meet one of the following may be eligible for a no- or low-cost energy storage system:

  1. Are eligible for medical baseline.
  2. Have a serious illness that is life-threatening if disconnected from electricity.
  3. Rely on an electric well pump.
  4. Live in income-qualified housing.

The funds are also available for critical facilities that support community resilience in the event of a PSPS event or wildfire, such as police stations; fire stations; emergency operations centers; 911 call centers; medical facilities; hospitals; skilled nursing facilities; nursing homes; public and private gas, electric, water, wastewater and flood control facilities; dialysis centers; jails and prisons; cooling centers; homeless shelters; grocery stores; corner stores; and markets and supermarkets with less than $15 million in annual receipts.

An added benefit to the installation of distributed storage systems throughout the state is that they can be connected into a virtual power plant system to lessen peak demands and reduce the need for statewide Flex Alerts and rolling blackouts. RCEA is working with partners to establish such a system.

To check if you qualify and begin the application process, contact one of the developers listed on RCEA’s website, or Swell Energy at (310) 340- 0493 or email support@swellenergy.com For more information, please visit RCEA’s website, https://redwoodenergy.org/, email info@redwoodenergy.org, or call (707) 269-1700.

ABOUT RCEA:

The Redwood Coast Energy Authority is a local government joint powers agency whose members include the County of Humboldt, all local cities, and the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District. The Energy Authority’s purpose is to develop and implement sustainable energy initiatives that reduce energy demand, increase energy efficiency, and advance the use of clean, efficient and renewable resources available in the region.

Tracking Progress on 100% Clean Energy Targets

Greentech Media

A transition toward 100 percent clean electricity is underway in the United States, led by cities and states across the country. “An enormous amount of authority still rests with the states for determining your energy future. So we can build these policies that will become a postcard from the future for the rest of the country,” said David Hochschild, chair of the California Energy Commission, speaking last week at a UCLA summit on state and local progress toward 100 percent clean energy. According to a new report from the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, 13 states, districts and territories, as well as more than 200 cities and counties, have committed to a 100 percent clean electricity target — and dozens of cities have already hit it.

One way California communities are working to meet the state’s ambitious targets is through community-choice aggregation, via which cities and counties can take control of their energy procurement decisions to suit their preferences. Investor-owned utilities no longer purchase energy for these jurisdictions, but they continue to operate the transmission and distribution grid for all electricity users. A second paper released by the Luskin Center for Innovation in recent days examines how community-choice aggregators are affecting levels of renewable energy deployment in California and contributing to the state’s 100 percent target. The paper finds that 19 CCAs have launched in California since 2010, growing to include more than 160 towns, cities and counties. Of those communities, 64 have a 100 percent renewable or clean energy policy as their default energy program. Because of these policies, the UCLA paper finds that “CCAs have had both direct and indirect effects that have led to increases in the clean energy sold in excess of the state’s RPS.” From 2011 to 2018, CCAs directly procured 24 terawatt-hours of RPS-eligible electricity, 11 TWh of which have been voluntary or in excess of RPS compliance, according to the paper.

The formation of CCAs has also had an indirect effect on investor-owned utilities. As customers have left investor-owned utilities to join CCAs, the utilities have been left holding contracts for more renewable energy than they need to comply with California’s clean energy targets. UCLA researchers estimate that this indirect effect of CCA formation has left IOUs holding 13 terawatt-hours in excess of RPS requirements. The paper concludes that CCAs have helped to accelerate California’s ability to meet state renewable energy targets over the past decade. However, the future contributions of CCAs to the RPS are more uncertain as communities make new power-purchasing decisions and utilities seek to reduce their excess renewable energy contracts. “CCAs offer a way for communities to put their desire for clean energy into action. They’re growing fast in California, one of only eight states where this kind of mechanism is allowed,” said UCLA’s Kelly Trumbull, an author of the report. “State and federal policies could be reformed to better enable communities to meet local demand for renewable energy.”

Read more here: https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/tracking-progress-on-100-clean-energy-targets

 

California is decarbonizing its grid. Now it needs to address cars

PV Magazine

California has been a clear leader in deployment of solar and other forms of renewable energy. While it has not reached the very high portions of wind that smaller Plains States have boasted, the The Golden State has been a leader in terms of raw deployment, backed by renewable energy mandates for utilities as well as policies to support residential solar and battery deployment. And those policies are paying off. A new report by non-profit Next 10 not only confirms what the state’s renewable portfolio standard updates have shown, that it is rapidly decarbonizing the electricity sector. Some of the optimism for the future can come from California’s Community Choice Aggregators, which are taking over procurement for an increasing portion of the state’s electric load from investor-owned utilities under mandates to decarbonize faster than is required by state law.

Read more here: https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2019/10/11/california-is-decarbonizing-its-grid-now-it-needs-to-address-cars/

 

 

EBCE/PCE Resilience Project

Resilient Solar for Critical Facilities

California Aggregators To Seek 10 GW Of Clean Power By 2030

California’s Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) are slowly assuming the traditional utility role of acquiring renewable energy generation for customers. While the role is fairly new, the CCAs nonetheless are now faced with the massive task of securing 9 to 10 gigawatts of new clean energy to meet the state’s 2030 ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

This procurement role for the CCAs was fortified on April 25, when a California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) vote that requires CCAs to develop Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs) as a roadmap of future demand and procurement planning.

“In our Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) decision, we set out the optimal 2030 portfolio of supply- and demand-side resources needed to achieve our state’s ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets within the electric sector. Under Senate Bill (SB) 350, the portfolio also must ensure reliable electricity at lowest cost to ratepayers,” wrote Commissioner Liane M. Randolph, in a CPUC blog on April 25.

Read more here: https://cleantechnica.com/2019/05/01/california-aggregators-to-seek-10-gw-of-clean-power-by-2030/