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:
- Are eligible for medical baseline.
- Have a serious illness that is life-threatening if disconnected from electricity.
- Rely on an electric well pump.
- 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 email@example.com For more information, please visit RCEA’s website, https://redwoodenergy.org/, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (707) 269-1700.
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.
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.”
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.
Resilient Solar for Critical Facilities
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.
When it comes to climate action, it will be hard for California to top 2018. Last year legislators passed a law committing our state to 100% emission-free electricity by 2045, and our governor issued an executive order setting the goal of a carbon-neutral economy by the same year.
Now the architects of those initiatives have moved on, and a new crop of leaders faces the enormous task of meeting these goals. What can they do to hit these ambitious targets while also making life better for the people who put them in office?
It’s a moment that calls for big-picture thinking. As experts in environmental economics and urban planning, we see a promising path forward in bundling climate change solutions with initiatives to ease the housing crisis, transportation problems, and income inequality. At the center of this approach is a simple but powerful concept: choice.
We’re not talking about expanding the kind of choice that the well-off among us are accustomed to enjoying while the people most in need of real options lose out. Rather, we believe all Californians — including members of low-income and vulnerable communities — deserve choice in terms of where they live, where they work, how they move around, and how they power their lives.
As a first step, we should dramatically increase choice when it comes to housing and transportation. California could launch its own version of a Green New Deal to build millions of units of affordable housing near mass transit and work centers. We could also radically expand options for Californians to conveniently ride transit, walk, bike, share rides, and otherwise avoid the high cost of driving fossil-fuel-powered cars. Improved housing and transportation choice would save countless hours and dollars for Californians who currently have no other option but dependency on gasoline guzzlers.
Tested tools include incentives for local governments and residents to make housing and transportation choices that reduce gasoline dependence, such as retiring polluting vehicles and replacing them with clean cars or transit passes. At UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation, our research has found that existing clean transportation incentives could be expanded to cost-effectively reduce pollution while increasing the wellbeing of Californians.
Expanding transportation and housing choices requires government resources. Funding can come from the many revenue-generating policies California already has in place, such as the cap-and-trade program for carbon pollution and the gasoline tax (Senate Bill 1).
In the electricity sector, innovative programs to increase choice are already making a big difference in California’s energy mix. Over the past 8 years, 19 community choice energy programs have emerged across the state. Community choice aggregators respond to local energy priorities, instead of answering to far-flung shareholders like a traditional investor-owned utility would. And as Luskin Center research documents, California communities that are given the choice choose renewable energy: community choice aggregators offered an average of 52 percent renewable energy in 2017.
Read more here: California’s next climate step: pushing for equitable choices
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 5, 2018
Press Contact: Leora Broydo Vestel
(415) 999-4757 | email@example.com
CalCCA Issues Report on CCA Efforts to Advance Equity and Diversity in Local Communities
Concord, Calif. – The California Community Choice Association (CalCCA) has issued a new report that details efforts by the state’s Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) to advance equity and diversity through their procurement, policy and program activities. The report’s release coincided with the California Public Utilities Commission’s Supplier Diversity En Banc, held on October 4 in Richmond.
The report, titled “Beyond Supplier Diversity,” highlights CCA initiatives that align with the intent and spirit of General Order (GO) 156, the CPUC’s Utility Supplier Diversity Program. The program monitors supplier diversity in procurements by participating utilities and oversees a clearinghouse of women; minority; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT); and disabled veteran-owned business enterprises.
CalCCA Executive Director Beth Vaughan and MCE Chief Executive Officer Dawn Weisz participated in a panel at the En Banc which focused on emerging energy markets. They highlighted the steps CCAs are taking to ensure their operations are inclusive of diverse groups, such as those targeted in the GO 156 program.
CalCCA’s Environmental Justice and Equity Working Group compiled the report after surveying CCAs to find out what they are doing to promote economic development in diverse communities.
“We asked, what are the CCAs doing to ensure access, inclusion, and representation of underrepresented sectors in the core business of CCAs, that of clean energy,” Vaughan said at the En Banc.
CCA programs and activities featured in the report vary widely, from the creation of community advisory committees and local development business plans to the funding of grants to enable community engagement and local workforce development initiatives.
“In their role as public, not-for-profit agencies, CCAs share a commitment to inclusion and representation of our diverse communities through democratic governance and intensive community engagement,” the report notes.
The working group is evaluating CCA diversity activities to establish best practices that can be shared within CalCCA’s membership and with external stakeholders. CalCCA also plans to host a CCA supplier diversity symposium next year in Southern California. The first symposium, co-hosted by CalCCA and the Greenlining Institute, was held in January 2018 in Richmond.
The full report is available here.
About CalCCA: The California Community Choice Association supports the development and long-term sustainability of locally-run Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) electricity providers in California. CalCCA is the authoritative, unified voice of local CCAs, offering expertise on local energy issues while promoting fair competition, consumer choice and cost allocation and recognizing the social and economic benefits of localized energy authorities. There are currently 19 operational CCA programs in California serving an estimated 8 million customers in 2018.
For more information about CalCCA, visit www.cal-cca.org.