Oakland, CA — Climate and clean energy experts released a new policy roadmap today to guide California state policymakers who want to use clean energy to combat wildfires and power outages. The roadmap details proposals that would accelerate the clean energy transition, transform the outdated investor-owned utility business model, and modernize the power system.
“The 2020 wildfire season might seem far off to some, but the state is already taking action to prepare and improve our defenses,” said Susannah Churchill, California Director for Vote Solar. “Many households, businesses, and local governments are worried about future power outages and are deciding now how to meet their backup power needs. Time is of the essence for enacting state policies that help them choose resilient and safe clean energy instead of dirty and dangerous fossil fuel backup generators.”
On January 10th, Governor Newsom released his proposed state budget, which included some funding for enhancing grid resilience. He also recently announced his intention to release a comprehensive vision for a 21st-century electric utility.
“Now is an ideal time for the state to establish a forward-looking electricity system that benefits all of our communities and helps secure a climate-safe California,” said Ellie Cohen, CEO of The Climate Center. “PG&E’s bankruptcy and the havoc created by recent power outages provide a unique political opportunity to create a decentralized electric utility system that is clean, affordable, resilient, equitable, and safe. This community-based, greenhouse gas-free network will advance state goals for pollution reduction, building electrification, and sustainable transportation while also supporting the transition of workers and their families to the clean energy economy.”
“It’s exciting to see such a focus on resiliency in the Governor’s proposed budget. Climate change and PSPS have devastated our local communities and the state needs to take decisive action to mitigate those impacts. The technologies and solutions to build California’s grid of the future exist today. They can be deployed quickly and cost-effectively to address the needs of communities,” said Allie Detrio, Chief Strategist for Reimagine Power and Senior Advisor to the Microgrid Resources Coalition. “With public and private investment channeled through the right market mechanisms, we can transform our antiquated electric grid to a much more technologically advanced, clean and safe grid. One that is decarbonized, diversified, resilient, and sustainable. But that will not happen if our policymakers don’t have the political will to make big changes to the utility business model.”
The policy roadmap outlines a broad set of clean energy policies that the state could enact to address wildfires and power shutoffs, while also addressing the climate crisis. The roadmap is organized under four broad topics:
- Accelerate our commitment to procuring renewable energy and decarbonizing the economy through clean technologies
- Transform the regulatory and business model for Investor Owned Utilities to promote the deployment and integration of clean, distributed energy
- Support modernization of the electricity grid that supports the rapid deployment and coordination of customer- and community-sited clean energy projects, including microgrids
- Other policies and programs that can help reduce the impact of wildfire risk and power outages
Proposed policies range from adopting performance-based utility regulation and helping local governments conduct energy resilience planning, to supporting the development of community resilience hubs and other means of quickly deploying resilient clean energy resources such as solar and wind coupled with battery storage, prioritizing projects targeting lower-income communities and communities of color in high fire-risk areas.
Download the full roadmap here.
About The Climate Center
The Climate Center is a 501(c)(3) organization working to enact rapid decarbonization policies that put California on track to reverse the climate crisis, through net-zero emissions, carbon-sequestration, and resilient communities. The Climate Center’s Community Energy Resilience initiative supports the creation of local electricity systems — greenhouse gas-free, safe, resilient and accessible to all — in every community in California. The Climate Center played a key role in the tremendous growth of Community Choice Aggregations (CCAs) in California, with 19 CCAs now providing 88% clean energy to 11 million residents.
About Vote Solar
Vote Solar’s mission is to make solar a mainstream energy resource across the U.S. Since 2002, Vote Solar has been working to lower solar costs and expand solar access. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Vote Solar advocates for state policies and programs needed to repower our electric grid with clean energy. Vote Solar works to remove regulatory barriers and implement key policies needed to bring solar to scale. For more information, visit VoteSolar.org.
About Reimagine Power
Reimagine Power Inc is a consulting firm focused on intelligence, market strategy and advocacy for microgrids and sustainable energy policy in the west coast. Reimagine Power’s carefully selected clientele consists of top tier innovators and thought leaders in advanced clean energy that are reimagining the power sector.