There’s a seismic shift underway in California, and I’m not referring to the recent earthquakes that have rocked the state. The shift is occurring as electricity load migrates from bundled, investor-owned utility (IOU) service to local community choice aggregators (CCAs). Statewide in the three main IOU territories combined, CCAs are now serving about 25 percent of load and more community choice programs are poised to launch in 2020 and beyond.
In April, when the California Public Utilities Commission adopted a preferred portfolio of resources to meet the state’s 2030 emissions-reduction target, the magnitude of this shakeup on procurement responsibility came into bold relief. CCAs plan to purchase more than 90 percent, or 10,000 MW, of the new clean energy resources that are needed by 2030, while IOUs and energy service providers plan to invest in approximately 1,000 MW combined.
Even as some continue to question the financial wherewithal of CCAs, aggregators are successfully plugging away at signing new long-term power purchase agreements, going above and beyond state green energy requirements. CCAs have already signed contracts for well over 2,500 MW with new renewable energy facilities in California, with almost 600 MW
secured in June alone (see updates from Clean Power Alliance and East Bay Community Energy below).
CCAs’ procurement of battery energy storage—a combined 150 MW/600 MWh in less than a year—is proving to be a case study that demonstrates the capability of CCAs to rapidly procure the resources the state needs to meet and exceed clean energy goals, despite their newness and short credit histories.
With energy storage, “CCAs are breaking open a new market that does not depend on the lengthy cycle of utility procurement,” notes a recent Greentech Media article. “The fact that the local decision-making process moves faster than working with massive utility bureaucracies only sweetens the deal.”
In June, CalCCA shared a letter with Gov. Newsom and legislative leaders that provides a series of detailed recommendations for improving the reliability of electricity service, reducing the risk associated with IOU operations, and making communities more resilient in the face of catastrophic wildfires.
The letter contains our views on the transformation of the state’s energy market, and the regulatory and legislative changes we believe are necessary to keep the lights on, protect ratepayers and fire victims, and cultivate the clean energy system California will need to thrive. We hope you will join us in helping to ensure that every community in California has safe, reliable, affordable clean energy options.
Read the full Q2 2019 report here: https://cal-cca.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Q1-2019-Update-Final.pdf