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

Millions of Californians Lost Power Because PG&E Refused to Spend Money to Fix Its Problems

Vice

On Wednesday, much of Northern California went dark. Residents in 34 California counties received just a day’s warning before their lights went out. As weather conditions created increased wildfire risk, Pacific Gas and Electric, the same utility that caused many of the deadliest fires in California’s recent history, shut off the power rather than shoulder the cost of fixing its old, crumbling infrastructure.

PG&E has said that shutting off power was the safest option to prevent more wildfires, but this sidesteps the simple fact that PG&E has not invested enough to make its electric grid safe and reliable. The company has faced so many lawsuits over fires caused by its poor infrastructure maintenance that it filed for bankruptcy in January. At this point, PG&E’s financial situation and rising costs of deferred maintenance have left essentially left the company unprepared to reliably provide power to Californians.

As the climate changes and wildfire season lengthens in California, many policy experts are demanding that we reimagine the grid as a whole. The system we have now was built throughout the 20th century, with expectations of a stable climate and a goal of satisfying ever-growing demands of consumption. One option is to adopt an expanding system of “microgrids” like the kinds used in hospitals and military bases, and which cities like San Diego are already pioneering as a community strategy. In this scenario, cities could use solar or wind energy to generate their own power and store it, and then provide whole communities with clean energy during power outages. This process, called “islanding” communities, ensures more resilience in the face of continuing power outages. It also gets rid of the need for so many wires running through dense underbrush and parched hills.

“This could ultimately evolve to a state-wide system,” said Woody Hastings, the energy program manager at the Climate Center, a nonprofit focused on forward-looking solutions to the climate crisis. “Each community would provide a lot of power and store it locally or regionally, but communities would still be integrated and able to share.”  “If ever there was an opportunity to change how we do things,” he said, “the climate crisis is it. The time is now.” Another strategy that has gained traction in recent years is Community Choice Aggregation (CCA). In a CCA, municipalities can purchase power on behalf of their residents and businesses from greener, cleaner sources, while still receiving distribution and transmission services from the utility. Stone said that he’s currently working to set up a CCA in Chico, and that it’s one of his major goals as mayor. While CCAs don’t take communities off the grid (they’d still be affected by outages), it can help in the long-term transition to a cleaner, more sustainable energy system.

Read more here: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/a35y38/millions-of-californians-lost-power-because-pgande-refused-to-spend-money-to-fix-its-problems

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/

California’s next climate step: pushing for equitable choices

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

CalCCA Issues Report on CCA Efforts to Advance Equity and Diversity in Local Communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 5, 2018
Press Contact: Leora Broydo Vestel
(415) 999-4757 | leora@cal-cca.org

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.

PCIA

PCIA Fact Sheet