California’s community has chosen 2 GW of renewables


California Community Choice Aggregators (CCA) have signed 59 power purchase agreements now totalling greater than 2 GW of capacity.

Of the 59 projects, 43 of them were solar power facilities totalling 1,360 MW. The system sizes ranged from 60 kW through 200 MW, with just over 1 GW of the projects contained in the eight largest projects (all at or over 100 MW). The final two projects signed included a 15 year PPA on a 150 MW-AC, 45 MW / 180 MWh solar+energy storage power plant in Kings County, California, and the Big Beau solar+storage project – a 128 MW-AC with 40 MW/160 MWh battery storage in nearby Kerns County.

Twenty one of the projects – representing 980 MW – are slated to start in 2019 through 2023.

A full list of the projects, and the above map can be found here (.pdf).

For a more formal description of the CCA than this author is able to communicate, see how pv magazine reader Paul Fenn, “Creator of Community Choice Aggregation,” once described the CCA;

Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) brings a new paradigm to energy markets, that otherwise put the ball in hands of sellers of energy, not buyers and certainly not communities. CCA gives buyers the leverage to negotiate with sellers, control to define what kind of energy they want, and control over rates and customer engagement. Traditionally, communities had to take over (purchase by issuance of bonds) the distribution systems to be able to decide what kind of power they want. CCAs open up control as a function of choice, not takeover, and use a city council-based process under state oversight to purchase their electricity collectively, and enroll customers on an opt-out basis so residents and businesses are unwilling are not forced to participate. Americans in about 1500 U.S. cities are already getting their energy through Community Choice in California, New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, New Jersey, Illinois, and Rhode Island, which together consume about a third of the nation’s electricity.

Recently, Marin Clean Energy, a CCA from California, received an ‘Investment Grade’ Baa2 rating from Moody’s. The main driver seems to reflect, ‘the strength of the California Joint Power Agency (JPA) statute and the MCE JPA agreement be California Joint Power Agency statute.’ This legal structure in California, along with broader politics, gives confidence to Moody’s that the state will continue to support CCAs.

With the growth of CCAs, California has also moved to make sure the public grid’s costs are covered for those who choose to stay with their electricity provider. California regulators voted recently, 5-0 to implement higher priced exit fees for CCAs, as requested by investor-owned utilities. The fees will increase residential bills for members of CCAs by 1.7-5.2%.

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