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Stockton City Council votes unanimously to consider Community Choice Energy

On Tuesday, November 9, at a specially planned study session, the Stockton City Council directed city staff to prepare a report and recommendation on joining an existing Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) joint powers authority. The council members present voted unanimously to take this next step after hearing from a number of experts and representatives from operating CCA agencies. There are currently 23 CCAs in California, and Stockton could join any one of them that is interested in taking in a new jurisdiction. 

A CCA would allow the city to buy electricity at competitive rates on behalf of Stockton residents and businesses and reinvest net revenues back into the community. PG&E would continue to provide distribution services through its power lines, while a governing board of local elected officials would decide what electricity sources residents buy from, develop local energy programs, and set rates for power generation. 

The city council previously explored Community Choice Energy when it received the results of a technical study that focused primarily on the prospects of the city starting its own CCA. The technical study found that “a CCA program is financially feasible for Stockton [and] would likely be able to offer Stockton residents and businesses power that is priced at [the same rate] or a few percent lower than that offered by Pacific Gas & Electric.” The study also found that “a CCA would be well-positioned to provide additional energy services to [Stockton] businesses and residents,” provide “economic and employment benefits to the region [through] lower rates, local solar or other renewable development, and the implementation of energy efficiency programs … and create and induce over 300 jobs in the Stockton area and add over $30 million to the area’s economy.”

At a city council meeting on March 23, 2021, council members decided to evaluate other options. Joining an existing CCA allows Stockton to avoid many of the costs and steps needed to start a CCA from scratch and minimizes financial risk to the city. “Joining a JPA would be the right move for Stockton, allowing our city to leapfrog a lot of the hurdles of a single city CCA,” said Councilmember Dan Wright, a long-time champion of CCA in Stockton. 

In joining a CCA, Stockton would be taking the same steps as 170 California cities and 20 counties. The state’s 23 CCAs have collectively invested in more than 9,000 megawatts of new renewable energy infrastructure, creating thousands of construction jobs in the process. They’re now serving more than 11 million customers with cleaner energy at rates competitive with or lower than the existing utility in their service areas. The Climate Center has been advocating and supporting the formation of CCAs in California since 2006 and has been working with the Stockton community since 2016 on its effort.

The report on Stockton’s options for joining an existing CCA is expected to be ready for review at a city council meeting in early 2022.

California 550 MW virtual power plant would be the biggest yet

by Dan Gearino, InsideClimateNews


Highlights

  • Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners and OlmConnect have collaborated on a virtual power plant project titled Resi-Station
  • Resi-Station would use batteries at homes and businesses in California to act like a 550-megawatt power plant, becoming the largest virtual power plant in the world
  • This power can be used as backup in the case of power shut-offs, wildfire risks, and other outages
  • The project kicks off in 2021, starting with 150,000 OlmConnect customers and should be fully built by 2023

Community Energy Resilience through clean energy microgrids is a key pillar in The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California Campaign.


Read More: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/10122020/inside-clean-energy-fossil-fuel-power-plants/

California Community Choice agencies eye long duration batteries for energy storage


Highlights

  • A group of 11 small scale, local agencies called Community Choice Agencies (CCAs) have issued a request for information regarding long-duration battery storage that can hold power for at least 8 hours
  • The storage can be used to take in excess solar power from the day and shift its use for night time and morning energy needs
  • The request for storage comes after the California Public Utilities Commission adopted a 46 million metric ton (MMT) greenhouse gas emission target for the electric sector by 2030 early this year
  • The request for new storage will help create new economic opportunities and help fight climate change by lessening the state’s dependence on fossil fuels in our energy system

Community Choice Energy can be one of the most powerful ways to accelerate the transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy sources, and The Climate Center is working to spread it throughout California for a climate-safe future


Read More: https://www.utilitydive.com/news/california-ccas-solicit-info-on-long-duration-storage-with-possible-procur/579505/

Coal isn’t dying. It moved to Asia.

by Nathanael Johnson, Grist

In the United States, coal, that supervillain of fossil-fuels, is in a death spiral. But on a global scale, there’s no spiral, just an arrow pointing to Asia. Turns out coal isn’t dying; it’s moving.

A report out Tuesday from the International Energy Association reveals the extent to which coal has provided the power for Asian countries like Indonesia and Vietnam as their economic growth pulls millions out of poverty. The world burns 65 percent more coal today than it did in 2000, according to the IEA’s new report. Coal accounts for 40 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Read more: https://grist.org/energy/coal-isnt-dying-its-moving-to-asia/

The power switch: tracking Britain’s record coal-free run

by Niko Kommenda, The Guardian

Britain is setting new records for going without coal-powered energy. In the latest milestone, it has gone for two weeks without using coal to generate electricity – the longest such period since 1882.

The coal-free fortnight comes just two years after the National Grid first ran without coal power for 24 hours.

Phasing out the heavily polluting fuel is a key step in the transition towards a net-zero carbon economy and essential to averting catastrophic climate change.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2019/may/25/the-power-switch-tracking-britains-record-coal-free-run

A centralized, top-down power grid is outdated. Time for a bottom-up redesign.

The below article outlines many of the challenges and opportunities of transforming the current power grid to one that works for the mass deployment of renewables.

The Climate Center’s Solar Sonoma County is working on this issue through our “Solar Plus” vision – a combination of solar, battery storage, electric vehicles, and all-electric homes and businesses for a carbon-free future.

The Center is also the lead partner on a team selected in May 2018 by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to participate in a collaborative research effort to explore new ways solar energy can improve the affordability, reliability, and resiliency of the nation’s electric grid. The Center was also selected by the California Energy Commission for a project to empower Community Choice agencies to use grid-connected local clean energy in commercial and industrial buildings.

Lastly, with support from the Adobe Foundation, the Center is compiling resources for distributed energy projects, programs, and best practices.


By David Roberts, Vox.com

The US power grid is, by some estimates, the largest machine in the world, a continent-spanning wonder of the modern age. And despite its occasional well-publicized failures, it is remarkably reliable, delivering energy to almost every American, almost every second of every day.

This is an especially remarkable accomplishment given that, until very recently, almost none of that power could be stored. It all has to be generated, sent over miles of wires, and delivered to end users at the exact second they need it, in a perfectly synchronized dance.

Given the millions of Americans, their billions of electrical devices, and the thousands of miles of electrical wires involved, well, it’s downright amazing.

Read more: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/11/30/17868620/renewable-energy-power-grid-architecture