Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Honey I shrunk the utility: California's final nuclear plant closure attributed to CCA

The impact of CCA on California is just getting started, but it has already caused a nuclear power plant to become redundant. Pacific Gas & Electric officials said its recent decision to close the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant was influenced in part by the loss of customers because of Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), under which local jursidictions group power purchases to choose alternative suppliers.

With six Bay Area counties already under service from Napa to San Francisco, and virtually every coastal county of the state now preparing to launch their own local electricity services, PG&E's nuclear baseload power is simply no longer needed. Industry analysts predict that 60% of all Californians served by investor-owned utilities like PG&E will soon be served by CCAs, leading the media to ask, can renewables and energy efficiency replace nuclear power?

Moreover, now that CCA is definitely and permanently transforming California's electricity system, the operative question is, will the CCAs forming up and down the coast from Humboldt to Alameda County, San Mateo County to San Jose, Santa Cruz to Lancaster and Los Angeles County and Riverside, San Diego and Del Mar, realize their founders' dreams of becoming energy independent, building local renewables and energy efficiency, creating local green jobs. and achieving a new business model focused on the other side of the meter? These are palpable local benefits that only get delivered if substantial local buildouts happen, and in a meaningful time frame.

The answer lies in the very activists who are driving each of these efforts in each community. CCA is not just a solution to the energy crisis and climate change: it is an opportunity for democracy to deliver this result. CCA is not an end, but a means to an end. Activists must realize that this unique opportunity to change everything requires more than the conventional campaign, in which winning a vote on a law is the goal, then everybody folds up their tents and goes home.

CCA is a more holistic, comprehensive process that takes years of community deliberation to fully execute. Changing everything takes perseverance on the inside, and activists who see CCA through to launch only are blowing it if they think they are "done" once the program launches. Creating your new CCA program is just the beginning, not the end, of CCA. Now you have to attend to the details of transforming energy. It must involve an active community process. If you want to deliver local jobs, local development, local companies, and local ownership, there is work to do to make those things happen. The physical transformation of energy takes time but it won't happen unless it starts at program launch. No waiting for reserves is called for, because so many ways now exist to finance efficiency and renewables, build-outs should begin at program launch, and local build-out be the centerpiece of the program from day one. If CCA activists, who have successfully made local build-out the central focus of California CCA, will just persevere with their elected officials that govern CCA programs, and hold their feet to the fire, democracy will prevail: we will truly revolutionize energy in this state, as we have promised for so many years. 


Geo said...

Pay close attention to this post because if you do not stay active, looking out for the good of the whole community after launch the politicians will be swayed by the good ole boy network of business as usual only concerned about rates as low as possible. Reducing green house gases, energy efficiency and roof top PV will be low priorities moving ahead at a snail's pace.

Brooke said...

That 'Honey I shrunk the Utility' slogan is perfect lol. Good job on that, I saw some other power saving mottos you may like I can leave here: Save Electricity Slogans

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