Wednesday, April 27, 2022

CCA 3.0 Hits New York as CCA 2.0 Achieves the "Highest Level of Sustainably-sourced Energy Out of Any Major US City"

One of America's ten largest cities is on track to carbon neutrality by 2030. Did you hear that? Do you know how little "on track" the other nine largest cities are? If you are clever, you will ask, "what on earth enabled San Jose to do that?" A climate activist from Boulder immolated himself in front of the Supreme Court last week due to the fact that worldwide carbon emissions have increased 50% since 1990, the date against which most climate agreements are gauged. In other words, the nation, and the world, are failing utterly. But not San Jose. What gives? Why can't we all do that? I am here to tell you that you can! Si puedes!

The City of San Jose announced last week that it's CCA program, San José Clean Energy (SJCE) had made "a major accomplishment" in the City's efforts to combat the effects of climate change. SJCE, the CCA for 350,000 homes and businesses in San José, has achieved a 95% carbon-free electricity mix through their use of solar, wind, and hydroelectric power, and is the cleanest electricity mix out of the ten largest cities in the country. Renewable sources like solar and wind comprise 60% of SJCE’s power mix. The CCA has launched San Jose to the leader among America's ten largest cities in an authentic physical decarbonization of its entire energy sector. Most importantly, SJCE has achieved this for the entire San Jose community without charging anyone higher electricity rates than the utility charges for brown power:

"As the community choice provider for San Joséans, SJCE sources energy at competitive rates while PG&E delivers the energy over its system of poles and wires. GreenSource, SJCE’s standard service option, is currently sourced at 60% from renewable energy. Community Choice Aggregation (CCAs) like SJCE are a driving force in California’s clean energy future: in total, 23 CCAs have contracted for nearly 10,000 MW of new solar, wind, biogas, geothermal, and energy storage, fueling renewable energy development, green jobs, and economic growth. CCAs are also driving markets for grid reliability solutions like long-duration storage."


Where's my prize? Ah well, smell the roses. Regional carbon neutrality based on massive new investment, for free! 

"To date, SJCE has invested more than $1 billion to add new solar, wind, and battery storage to the grid at cost-effective prices for customers. In February 2022, Mayor Liccardo, along with SJCE, announced the completion of a new 62 megawatt (MW) solar generation and energy storage facility in Kern County that is delivering clean, pollution-free electricity daily from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. for San José homes and businesses for the next 12 years. This builds on SJCE’s investment in a 225 MW wind farm in New Mexico produced from 117 wind turbines that deliver enough clean electricity to power 186,000 San José homes."

Wow. a billion dollars of investment, 60% renewable, and with hydropower, 95% carbon free. 

Does that mean we have a model? Yes, a foundation. Now we must build the edifice of community wide energy transition itself: something not yet done in California. While California's CCA program has grabbed the headlines like these for the past few years based on a "CCA 2.0" program designed to build local renewables at scale through a regional wholesale power agency, New York municipalities are now pursuing a new business model of Community Choice Aggregation designed for climate action. Version Three uses municipal and civic partnerships to organize voluntary investment in onsite renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies known as Distributed Energy Resources, known as DERs. Whereas California's CCAs work like wireless utilities, New York municipalities doing CCA 3.0 are lightly staffed coordinators of intra-municipal partnerships that enable any resident or business to invest in DERs in their building, on their block or in the neighborhood.

CCA 2.0 exploded the original mold of CCA 1.0 from back in 1995. I know because I co-authored the first and authored the second. The idea of 2.0, written 20 years ago, was to make CCA give a physical impact, not merely purchase greener power. Today, It has utterly succeeded, both in achievements of carbon goals like San Jose, and in replicating fast: speed and scale. It is time to take the success of California's 2002 CCA model to a 2022 scenario facing 2030 without a climate plan. How can we do this for all four "addressable carbon" sources, not just electricity? And how to do it in so many thousands of low income, resource-poor communities? These are the only remaining questions. The rest is now proven.

Now we are taking it to the next level. CCA 3.0, which Local Power released in 2020, uses energy democracy to take another leap in terms of decarbonizing whole communities in a timely and cost effective manner.   Scalable across all "addressable carbon," CCA 3.0 is also scalable in terms of reaching the entire community, most of which remains ineligible or "redlined" everywhere today. CCA 3.0 uses local municipal oversight of energy loans in conjunction with CCA-managed "shares" and "cooperatives" agreements to offer a voluntary investment option to every customer in a community irrespective of income or home/office ownership.  CCA 3.0 uses an "equity lens" to find commercialization pathways to reach every customer through an authentic local program in each participating municipality, and plans technological convergence  to decarbonize not only the electricity sector but natural gas, gasoline/diesel, and local sewer and solid waste, integrating all into interoperable microgrids, thermal loops and EV sharing on a block level.

Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) has been going on for 25 years. There are 1800 US municipalities doing CCA states comprising half the US energy market. Tens of millions of Americans get their energy from CCAs. But what happened in California was different from all the others. And what is now happening in New York will put California's great achievements in the dust. So you are wondering, which New York cities are now doing this?  Who is Local Power working with? When will these new programs launch?

As I hope you have learned today, it's only official when it's over.

Stay tuned....

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