Contact: Nancy Stephenson
Phone: (707) 382-7110
Community Choice Energy Celebrates Five Years in Humboldt County
The Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s Community Choice Energy Program is celebrating its five-year anniversary this May. RCEA has been meeting the electricity demands of about 63,000 Humboldt County customers to the tune of roughly 700,000 MWh per year since 2017, and providing that power at discounted prices.
“Five years ago, RCEA switched on the Community Choice Energy program on behalf of Humboldt County residents and business owners,” said RCEA Board Chair Stephen Avis. “As a joint powers public agency, City and County elected officials voted to participate in a program designed to retain control of our energy dollars by reinvesting them in local and sustainable energy projects instead of sending them to out of area shareholders. The decision-making process of our RCEA board of directors has helped us replace fossil fuel with renewable and sustainable sources of energy. This shift has put our county on the leading edge of combating the causes of climate change, and I am very proud to be a part of that.”
RCEA’s Community Choice Energy program aims to provide its local energy users with a mix of 100% renewable and carbon-free electricity by 2025, and 100% local renewable power by 2030. “RCEA is pursuing and signing contracts for local renewable energy and utility-scale energy storage to make good on the ambitious clean energy goals advocated by our community and adopted by our Board,” said RCEA’s Power Resources Director Richard Engel.
Revenues from Community Choice Energy power sales are directed back into the community in the form of RCEA’s customer programs. “In addition to cleaner, more affordable energy, Community Choice Energy in Humboldt County allows us greater flexibility to provide energy efficiency services to residents, businesses, and public agencies by keeping energy dollars local,” said Stephen Kullmann, who leads RCEA’s Customer Energy Solutions. “We recently launched a new series of rebates, this time for a wide variety of equipment like washers, dryers, heat pumps, and other efficient appliances. We’ll continue with our assessment and installation services–with even more energy-saving programs planned.”
“The Redwood Coast Airport Microgrid in McKinleyville is an example of RCEA building local resilience and clean energy resources for our Community Choice Energy portfolio. It’s built, operational and feeding renewable power to the grid now,” said RCEA Board member and former Chair Sheri Woo. “Join us for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the airport.” Details for the Wednesday, June 22 celebration will be forthcoming. RCEA, the Schatz Energy Research Center at Cal Poly Humboldt, PG&E, and the County of Humboldt, constructed this first-of-its-kind, multi-customer microgrid during the pandemic. The 2.3 MW solar array and battery energy storage system was funded by RCEA and the California Energy Commission and provides electricity for RCEA’s customers during normal operations. During power outages, the electricity will support the Coast Guard, air transport activities, and regional emergency responses.
RCEA is also working to make offshore wind part of its Community Choice Energy local power mix. “In 2016 when our CCE program was being designed, local offshore wind energy was a distant concept,” said RCEA Executive Director Matthew Marshall. “This fall, the federal government will auction off leases to developers who wish to explore the feasibility of wind energy projects 20 or so miles off Humboldt Bay, which could be operational by 2030. Offshore wind will be a critical tool in combating climate change while creating skilled jobs and driving economic development up and down the California coast. RCEA will continue to work with our community, the local fishing industry, Tribes, local labor organizations, and other stakeholders to maximize offshore wind’s benefits for our community.”
Visit RCEA’s website for updates and details on upcoming events – www.RedwoodEnergy.org.
Established in 2003, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority is a local government joint powers agency whose members include the County of Humboldt, the seven cities within the county, 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.
Community Strategies Manager | Redwood Coast Energy Authority
Office (707) 269-1700 x 352 | Cell (707) 382-7110 | www.RedwoodEnergy.org