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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

CCA Transforming Electricity in California

California CCA Activity -  Spring 2016 (Local Power Inc.)
How to report on the details of a revolution? As of this year, everything has changed. No longer is California's energy landscape dominated by Investor-Owned Utilities. No longer is CCA just an idea for how things might be different. Things are different. No longer are CCAs just talking about localizing energy. They are actually doing it.

As of today, most Californians know about CCA - in a few years, most Californians will be served by CCAs.

As the Center for Climate Protection's Ann Hancock recently reported, it appears that over half of all Californians are about to become CCA customers. Whereas just one CCA served a population of 261K in 2010, by the end of 2016 San Francisco, the South Peninsula and Silicon Valley  - plus Lancaster - will cover a population of over 3 million: by next year CCAs will cover over 12 million Californians. CCP estimates that the total population of communities launching or exploring CCA to be over 17 million, which comprises some 60% of California's entire population served by Investor-Owned Utilities. Considering that their estimates actually exclude a number of CCAs, these figures are actually conservative.

California's electric pie 2018 - IOU pops. (red) vs. CCA pops. (blue) 
What is more, virtually the entire crop of cities - even, finally, Marin Clean Energy - is strategically focused on energy localization goals: local jobs, demand reduction, carbon reduction, and local economic development. With the launch of Lancaster Choice Energy in Southern California last year, California saw its first CCA formed outside of PG&E's service territory. Boasting one of the most ambitious solar photovoltaic programs in the U.S., its Republican mayor has put Lancaster on the map as one of the nation's greenest cities.  Perhaps most importantly, Lancaster's business model is clearly focused not just on greener power, but on energy localization, local development of renewables, local storage, and strategic demand reduction.
California CCA growth curve from 2010 to 2020 in pops.

The die is, as they say, cast. Sonoma Clean Power is building local solar. San Francisco is launching CleanPowerSF this year, and has already shifted its focus upon localization. The City of San Diego became the first city in the nation to adopt binding targets for its CCA program - the very kinds of targets Local Power Inc. has pushed for. Reading through the solicitation and planning documents of CCAs covering virtually the entire California coast, I must conclude that we have won the war of ideas. The revolution is truly here.

These basic elements describe the Revolution in Power that Local Power Inc. had in mind when we created CCA, and we are even more thrilled to see "CCA 2.0" take hold in California and beyond than we are to see CCA hitting prime time. A great deal of pain and suffering - controversy and acrimony - has paid off.

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