Close up RCEA's electric vehicle charging station in Arcata

New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Arcata

RCEA partnered with the City of Arcata to install four new electric vehicle charging stations at the Arcata Community Center. They’re open to the public now and can charge up to 8 cars at once.

We continue to expand local EV charging infrastructure because of the environmental and economic benefits and positive impacts on our community.

  • Communities with charging infrastructure are taking a decisive step toward cleaner air by shifting as much local driving as possible to zero-emission electric vehicles.
  • EVs charging at RCEA’s stations are powered by RePower+ 100% carbon-free energy.
  • EVs are cheaper to fuel and maintain than gas cars.
  • EVs raise awareness of major changes that are happening in the transition to clean, alternative transportation modes.
  • EVs support environmental justice by reducing transportation pollution in neighborhoods.
  • EVs help us achieve our climate change goals and build sustainability.

The goal of RCEA’s Transportation Program is to support the use of low-carbon fuel vehicles in Humboldt County. Visit our EV page for more information, including available rebates.

Building on a Foundation of Local Energy Resiliency Efforts

8/10/21. RCEA’s Stephen Kullmann, who is also a Humboldt Bay Harbor Commissioner, on the afternoon cruise on the Madaket with CEC Commissioner Karen Douglas, Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland, Congressman Jared Huffman, and Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality Brenda Mallory, chatting about offshore wind energy.

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory Build on a Foundation of Local Energy Resiliency Efforts

August 10, 2021. Plans to bring offshore wind energy to Humboldt County have been picking up speed in recent months after years of local discussions. What started as small meetings in 2018 with local Tribes, fishermen, and environmental groups about the challenges and benefits for our community has blown into being a priority for both the Biden Administration and the State of California. Most of the world is now united by the desire to dodge a global climate crisis and transition to a clean energy future.

On May 25, the Biden Administration announced that it will focus on what would be the first U.S. commercial-scale wind projects off the Pacific Coast, including Humboldt County. Today U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory met with local leaders on Woodley Island to discuss a range of issues, including the need to “build out a clean energy economy and create jobs, including by spurring offshore wind development.”

Humboldt Bay is a good fit for an offshore wind industry for several reasons: there’s an excellent wind resource off our coast, a connection to the grid next to the bay, no bridge in the way of floating the turbines in and out for maintenance, and there’s ample space on the harbor for an industrial port. The Redwood Coast Energy Authority provided $50,000 in funding to the Humboldt Bay Harbor District to help them put together a proposal that will hopefully secure ~$66 million in state and federal funding to redevelop Humboldt’s port infrastructure to be able to support offshore wind development.

Discussions with local fishermen led to a Memo of Understanding in 2018 between RCEA and the Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association (HFMA) to work together throughout the development of an offshore wind project. Ken Bates from the HFMA commented that “Wind power proposals on this coast are not new, the HFMA has been engaged since 2018 with wind power advocates and local organizations concerning impacts to fishing and fishing grounds.”

RCEA intends to model how developers should engage communities on projects of this scale. Local Tribes were consulted early on and will remain at the forefront of RCEA’s engagement efforts. Although every Tribe will have their own perspective, Ted Hernandez, the Chairman of the Wiyot Tribe (whose unceded land surrounds Humboldt Bay), recently publicly commented that he supports local offshore wind development.

Most recently, a network of local organizations, governments, Tribes, and individuals have come together under the umbrella of the Humboldt Area Foundation to launch a central entity, the Energy Resiliency Network. As a collaborative, the Energy Resiliency Network is poised to coordinate engagement efforts regarding offshore wind that will include all the diverse values of our North Coast community. Expect to hear more about this in the coming weeks.

 

Here’s the press release from the Dept. of Interior about their visit. https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/secretary-haaland-ceq-chair-mallory-highlight-offshore-wind-developments-california

100% Renewable Microgrid “Takes Off” at Airport in Humboldt County

100% Renewable Microgrid “Takes Off” at Airport in Humboldt County

July 7, 2021.  The Redwood Coast Airport Microgrid’s (RCAM) community partners announced Wednesday, July 7 construction activities on what will be the first 100% renewable, multi-customer microgrid in California.

The Redwood Coast Airport Microgrid has been designed and developed by the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State University. Located at Humboldt County’s regional airport, it will be owned by the Redwood Coast Energy Authority and will run on power lines owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). This interagency collaboration is the first of its kind in California.

Capt Mark Hiigel (US Coast Guard, Sector Commander for Humboldt Bay) microgrid event

RCAM will provide energy resilience for Humboldt County’s regional airport, including emergency services and medical life flights, as well as the neighboring U.S. Coast Guard Air Station. The Sector Humboldt Bay Air Station maintains search and rescue missions for 250 miles of remote, rugged coastline, and its team has saved 32 lives in the last year.

Matthew Marshall (Redwood Coast Energy Authority, Executive Director) with Peter Lehman (Schatz Energy Research Center, Founding Director) microgrid event.

This innovative project is funded by a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission’s EPIC program — which invests in scientific and technological research to accelerate the transformation of the electricity sector to meet the state’s energy and climate goals — and a $6.6 million loan from the USDA. The project’s design team has developed technology innovations and new partnership models to enable community microgrid opportunities across the state.

Emcee: Sheri Woo (Redwood Coast Energy Authority, Chair)

Resilient, renewable, and replicable

The microgrid’s solar arrays will generate enough electricity each year to power the equivalent of 500 households on the North Coast. During power outages, emergencies, and shutoff events, RCAM will typically be able to island and run independently for at least two weeks. Under the worst solar conditions (e.g. an extended winter storm event), the microgrid can still provide up to 24 hours of backup power for the airport and Coast Guard.

RCAM will be the first microgrid to participate in the state’s wholesale electricity market — which not only helps make sure that solar energy will be deployed when it’s most useful, but also helps pay for the cost of the microgrid system itself. Over the last year, the Schatz Center worked closely with PG&E to write a technical guide for communities who want to build similar microgrid systems in California.

PG&E’s Nikky Avila at the Redwood Coast Airport Microgrid’s Take Off event.

“We know how much our customers and communities need reliable energy, and microgrids play a key role in PG&E’s ongoing efforts to harden our electrical system and enhance local grid resilience throughout Northern and Central California. The Redwood Coast Airport Renewable Energy Microgrid is a unique, collaborative effort on which PG&E intends to model future multi-customer microgrids developed through our recently launched Community Microgrid Enablement Program. We look forward to partnering with our customers and community stakeholders to identify, design and build customized resilience solutions that address local electric reliability needs for the long term,” said Ron Richardson, Vice President, North Coast Region, PG&E.

Building on regional microgrid expertise

In 2017, the Schatz Center launched its first grid-connected microgrid — a campus-wide, low-carbon system for the Blue Lake Rancheria, developed in collaboration with multiple partners. In 2019, they added a second demonstration system at the Rancheria to explore the capacity of small buildings such as gas stations and convenience stores to support neighborhood resiliency via solar+storage.

The Schatz Center, the Blue Lake Rancheria, and the Redwood Coast Energy Authority are currently exploring how energy demands within an interconnected microgrid system can respond intelligently to the needs of the primary utility grid.

Matthew Marshall (Redwood Coast Energy Authority, Executive Director)

“The Redwood Coast Energy Authority seeks to follow the airport project with a network of community microgrids and renewable backup power systems that can help manage disruptions within the rural energy supply,” said RCEA’s Executive Director Matthew Marshall.

RCEA Board member/County Supervisor Mike Wilson (on the left) speaks with Humboldt State University’s president Tom Jackson. (US Rep. Jared Huffman in the background).

The Redwood Coast Airport Microgrid will be fully operational later this year. For more information, visit schatzcenter.org/acv or contact Nancy Stephenson at nstephenson@redwoodenergy.org.

Coverage of our "Take Off" event at the airport

In addition to our press release above, a few notable sources also reported about the event:

Microgrid Knowledge – an excellent piece

Tweets from our guest speakers

Local coverage

The sun is rising on renewable energy for Humboldt County

A residential solar array
4.8 kW Solar Array at Hondeydew Elementary School
solar panels on Ridgewood Elementary in Cutten
Ridgewood Elementary Cutten 52kW solar array

“We’ve been doing this four years.”

This month marks the fourth anniversary of the Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s Community Choice Energy Program.  Since we began providing electricity to customers in 2017, our central goal has been to affordably meet our community’s energy needs by advancing the use of renewable resources.  Despite last year’s challenges, we are making exciting progress on becoming a community powered by renewable energy. Much of this early success came from greatly expanding solar energy production while simultaneously increasing local energy resilience.  Here are some highlights:

  • Redwood Coast Airport Microgrid – This project and the other strong microgrid work by the Schatz Energy Research Center, the Blue Lake Rancheria, and others, have made Humboldt County an industry leader in the development of microgrids. RCEA’s solar and battery-storage microgrid at the county airport is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year and will provide local renewable power to RCEA’s customers while enhancing local emergency-response capabilities and energy resilience.

 

In addition to these local benefits, this cutting-edge project provided the inspiration and template for the “Community Microgrid Enablement Program” recently approved by the California Public Utilities Commission. This program will support microgrid deployment to serve critical facilities and vulnerable populations across PG&E’s entire service territory.

 

  • Supporting customer solar – RCEA’s Solar Net Energy Metering program provides rate savings to customers who produce power on their property. We’ve seen the number of RCEA customers with solar on their home or business double to nearly 2,400 since 2017. Customers who produce more power than they use over the course of the year receive a check for this surplus solar generation every spring. This year, customer-level power producers are receiving over a quarter-million dollars.

 

In addition, RCEA’s Public Agency Solar Program has helped our local government partners successfully secure over $3 million in funding to install renewable, resilient energy systems at schools, water-treatment facilities, fire stations, and other critical community facilities across the county.

 

  • Utility-level solar generation – RCEA’s Feed-in-Tariff program offers above-market rates to community-scale renewable energy generators around the county. Nearly 6,000 kilowatts of new, local, distributed solar generation capacity has been contracted to date, with projects set to break ground this year.

 

RCEA also contracted for a 100-megawatt solar project to be built in central California to generate enough power to meet about 45% of our customers’ current electricity needs. This is equivalent to the power generated by over 48,000 residential rooftop solar arrays. Power prices for this project will be about 1/3 of what RCEA pays for small-scale local solar power (and, I’ll note, will be well below the cost of power from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas). This will reduce power procurement costs on behalf of all our customers.

These projects give me hope for the future, but we have much work ahead of us.  Solar energy, rooftop solar in particular, has an important part to play in Humboldt County’s clean energy future. It is not a one-size-fits-all panacea, but rather part of a diversified portfolio that can also include wind and biomass, supplemented by energy storage, small hydropower, geothermal, and other emerging technologies, and the key ingredient of customer energy efficiency and conservation.

To address the magnitude of the climate change emergency we need every tool in the toolbox and we need to focus on where we as individuals and as a community can have the most impact.  While we aren’t the sunniest place in California, we are the windiest: the North Coast has a truly world-class offshore wind resource. Things have been in holding pattern since 2018 while we waited for the federally-managed offshore waters leasing process to get moving again, but RCEA continues to make steady progress on a proposed project 25-30 miles off our coast. Keep an eye out for offshore wind energy efforts picking up steam starting this year.

There will be many challenges while we transition to a renewable energy future, and solar energy is one part of the solution — but a significant new stage of sustainable energy progress for Humboldt County is happening now, and this first big step will be powered by the sun.

 

Sincerely,

Matthew Marshall

Executive Director, Redwood Coast Energy Authority

 

Eight Community Choice Aggregators Partner to Form California Community Power – A Joint Powers Authority

CCAs to leverage combined buying power for large-scale clean energy procurement and provide cost-effective services and programs

Sunnyvale, Calif. – Northern and central coast Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) are joining forces by forming a new Joint Powers Authority (JPA) – California Community Power. The JPA allows the CCAs to combine their buying power to procure new, cost-effective clean energy and reliability resources to continue advancing local and state climate goals.

The CCAs forming California Community Power represent 2.6 million customer accounts and 6.6 million people across more than 140 municipalities spanning from Humboldt County to Santa Barbara County. The CCAs serve a combined annual load of 32,600 gigawatt hours, which represents about 40% of PG&E’s annual electric load. The member CCAs include Central Coast Community Energy, East Bay Community Energy, MCE, Peninsula Clean Energy, Redwood Coast Energy Authority, San José Clean Energy, Silicon Valley Clean Energy and Sonoma Clean Power. CleanPowerSF is pursuing membership.

Additional benefits of the new JPA include enhanced negotiating power, larger renewable and storage project procurement, shared risk mitigation, and increased opportunities for innovation, as demonstrated by the first, major joint procurement for 500 megawatts (MWs) of long-duration energy storage. The long-duration Request for Offers seeks a minimum 10-year contract for grid-charged technologies to come online by or before 2026 with a discharge period of at least eight hours. The solicitation is currently in the project evaluation stage.

“California is a policy leader in the fight against climate change. CCAs have helped local communities meet their climate goals by building new renewable resources and implementing programs that reduce emissions from transportation and buildings,” said State Senator Josh Becker, D-Peninsula. “As we work to achieve the clean energy goals set by SB 100, CCAs will continue to play a crucial role to reduce emissions for communities across the state. It is encouraging to see CCAs come together to develop long duration storage, a crucial resource for achieving our 100% clean energy target.”

“As a long-serving MCE Board Director, I am excited to see the momentum for CCAs in the state,” said MCE Board Director and Mayor of Richmond, Tom Butt. “We started as a small program serving just a handful of communities and the recent creation of California Community Power truly showcases the power of what communities can do when we work together to advance our climate goals, while supporting local economies.”

“Over the years, as the CCA movement has grown, there has been an increase of CCA joint procurement efforts for large-scale renewables and energy storage projects,” said Beth Vaughan, executive director of the California Community Choice Association (CalCCA). “The creation of California Community Power represents a truly community-led approach to advancing cleaner energy, greater reliability, and reduced costs for ratepayers.”

The JPA model has been proven with municipal utilities operating under this structure for decades,” said Girish Balachandran, Silicon Valley Clean Energy CEO. “We are eager to expand and formalize our partnerships among CCAs to help our communities affordably meet their climate goals while maintaining reliability, as the state transitions to a decarbonized grid.”

CCA climate goals are typically more aggressive than the state mandate to achieve a 100% clean energy grid by 2045. Many CCAs already meet or exceed state mandates for eligible renewable resources and some have set targets to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2030, or match supply with load on a 24/7 basis with renewable or carbon-free generation. California CCAs have done this while saving their customers tens of millions of dollars annually on their utility bills, developing thousands of megawatts of new wind and solar power projects, and developing and offering innovative energy programs.

Under the JPA structure, individual members are not obligated to participate in every procurement or joint project. Each CCA will be represented by their CEO or other designee on the board of directors, which will operate as a public entity with open and transparent meetings compliant with the Brown Act. The JPA structure safeguards members from additional liabilities so there is no added risk for the members. Each CCA maintains its community-driven, local autonomy to meet the needs of their customers and region.

More information will be available on the California Community Power website (cacommunitypower.org), which is currently under development.

 

About CCAs

Community Choice Aggregators, or CCAs, provide competitively priced, clean energy choices to their communities while reinvesting revenues into local and statewide projects and programs, supporting sustainability, and enhancing their local economies. There are 23 CCAs in California serving more than 10 million customers.

 

Central Coast Community Energy – 3CEnergy.org 

East Bay Community Energy – ebce.org

MCE – mcecleanenergy.org

Peninsula Clean Energy – peninsulacleanenergy.com

Redwood Coast Energy Authority – redwoodenergy.org

San José Clean Energy – sanjosecleanenergy.org

Silicon Valley Clean Energy – svcleanenergy.org

Sonoma Clean Power – sonomacleanpower.org

 

Media Contact

Pamela Leonard, Communications Manager

pamela.leonard@svcleanenergy.org

O: 408-721-5301 x1004 | M: 530-306-0122

Resource adequacy for grid reliability

Woman hold smart phone and use smart home control app to monitoring home parameters.

Leap Extends Resource Adequacy Capacity to California Community Choice Aggregators – 

Initial agreements enable Redwood Coast Energy Authority and Valley Clean Energy to tap into the statewide market for flexible, distributed energy capacity to meet electricity demand in their service territories.

 

Leap, the provider of a universal distributed energy marketplace, announced it has signed Resource Adequacy (RA) Agreements to provide a total of 12.5 MW in flexible capacity to two Community Choice Aggregators (CCA), Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) and Valley Clean Energy (VCE). The new capacity will be made available for use by these CCAs starting June 2021 over a ten-year term and will be sourced from Leap’s marketplace for grid flexibility.

The new agreements with Leap allow the CCAs to unlock a new means of meeting energy demand in their service territories by gaining access to a statewide market of distributed energy resources (DER). This includes delivering flexible capacity from customer facilities around the state.

Leap has been the largest participant in California’s DR Auction Mechanism (DRAM) over the past two years, and working with CCAs provides a significant expansion opportunity. Leap’s marketplace allows technology partners to deliver clean, flexible grid capacity and energy from their residential HVAC systems, battery energy storage, and commercial, industrial, and agricultural solutions. The addition of these resources allows RCEA and VCE to support California grid resiliency while sourcing capacity from their own customers, as well as zero-carbon, local, customer-based resources statewide.

Leap’s expansion to providing CCAs with RA capacity also complements California’s push to increase its incremental grid resources in the face of sustained energy demand challenges, which have been exacerbated by a summer that triggered the state’s first calls for Level 3 emergency rolling blackouts in almost 20 years.

“CCAs are an integral part of California’s transition to a cleaner and more responsive grid, and we’re proud to be working with these two organizations to unlock the value of the state’s growing suite of distributed energy resources,” said Thomas Folker, Leap’s co-founder and CEO. “This is also an important proof point for meeting California’s immediate need for more flexible capacity, especially in light of the intensifying heatwaves and energy demand that we saw here this summer.”

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with a solution provider that aligns with our vision of leveraging clean, local distributed resources to bolster grid reliability,” said Matthew Marshall of RCEA. “The new capacity added by Leap will be critical to mitigating peak demand over summers moving forward.”

“Leap’s platform is an ideal fit for ensuring a cleaner, more reliable grid for our customers,” said Don Saylor, Chair of the Board of Valley Clean Energy. “Now more than ever, it’s critical we implement solutions like Leap’s for transitioning to a cleaner, more resilient grid that utilizes all of its assets.”

Note: RCEA’s procurement share is 5.5 MW. 

Valley Clean Energy is a not-for-profit public agency formed to provide electrical generation service to customers in Woodland, Davis, Winters and the unincorporated areas of Yolo County. Its mission is to source cost-competitive clean electricity while providing product choice, price stability, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emission reductions and reinvestment in the communities it serves.

Leap enables real-time automated trading on energy markets. Leap’s marketplace for grid flexibility grants energy resources — including battery energy storage, electric vehicles, smart thermostats, HVAC systems and industrial facilities — access to global demand response programs, wholesale markets, and real-time pricing through a single API.

Leap’s open, hardware-agnostic platform turns the operators of energy resources of any size and type into autonomous smart energy traders, providing revenue to participants while unlocking the benefits of a truly resilient and transactive grid. Leap is a privately held company with offices in San Francisco and the Netherlands.

California Community Choice Aggregators Issue Request for Long-Duration Storage

solar panels

Eight community energy agencies seek innovative technologies to strengthen grid resilience

Today, eight Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) launched a joint Request for Offers (RFO) to procure up to 500 megawatts (MWs) of long-duration storage. The RFO is seeking a minimum 10-year contract for grid-charged technologies. Central Coast Community Energy, CleanPowerSF, Marin Clean Energy, Peninsula Clean Energy, Redwood Coast Energy Authority, San José Clean Energy, Silicon Valley Clean Energy and Sonoma Clean Power (the “Joint CCAs”) are seeking one or more projects to come online by or before 2026 with a minimum discharge period of eight hours.

Long-duration storage provides grid resiliency to support higher concentrations of renewable energy on the grid. Similar to battery storage today, which helps provide energy during a few evening hours when solar stops producing, long-duration storage will be able to charge from the grid when renewable resources are at their peak, and discharge for periods of 8-16 hours when renewable production is lower.

The addition of long-duration storage to the CCA portfolios will aid renewable integration on the grid while advancing California’s aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030. Long-duration storage technologies are a needed solution to provide grid reliability as California transitions away from fossil fuel plants. Earlier in 2020 the Joint CCAs issued a Request for Information for long-duration storage and received more than 58 project entries with 14 different technologies, signaling significant supplier interest.

“By working together, the eight CCAs are able to procure large-scale projects that would be challenging for one CCA to procure on its own,” said Girish Balachandran, Silicon Valley Clean Energy’s CEO. “Collaborating on this long-duration storage solution allows the CCAs to manage financial and technology risks while still diversifying portfolios with cost-effective and innovative resources.”

“CCAs are the leaders when it comes to advancing new clean energy resources in California, having already signed long-term contracts totaling more than 5,000 megawatts with a diverse mix of new-build renewable energy facilities throughout the state,” said Beth Vaughan, executive director of the California Community Choice Association (CalCCA). “Now CCAs are acting fast to secure the reliability resources that are needed to support a more resilient power system.”

The Joint CCAs have ambitious climate goals and are currently providing nearly three million residents and businesses in northern and central California with clean electricity. The cost-effective, long-duration storage solutions the Joint CCAs are seeking will enhance the benefits of renewable energy to customers during critical evening hours when renewable resources are unable to produce energy, thus improving California’s grid reliability and resiliency. Joint procurement offers the CCAs an opportunity to acquire diverse resources with shared risk and enhanced negotiating powers.

The RFO can be found at SVCleanEnergy.org/joint-lds-rfo. Proposals are due by December 1, 2020.

RCEA’s Tierra Buena battery energy storage project

ORMAT TECHNOLOGIES EXPANDS ENERGY STORAGE FOOTPRINT IN CALIFORNIA

Signs Resource Adequacy Agreements Totaling 5mw/20mwh with Two California Community Choice Aggregators

RENO, Nev. October 01, 2020, Ormat Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: ORA) today announced that it has signed two Resource Adequacy Agreements, each for 50% of its 5 MW / 20 MWh Tierra Buena battery energy storage project currently under development in Sutter County, northern California. Two Community Choice Aggregators (“CCAs”), Redwood Coast Energy Authority (“RCEA”) and Valley Clean Energy (“VCE”), each signed an agreement for 2.5 MW of resource adequacy from Ormat’s Tierra Buena energy storage project. Under the 10-year agreements, the project is expected to begin commercial operation no later than June 2022.

These are the first energy storage deals for the two CCAs, sought in order to comply with a multi-year statewide mandate to add 3.3 GW of incremental resource adequacy to the California grid by 2023. This project marks another expansion of Ormat’s energy storage footprint in California, its current primary growth market for energy storage. It is in addition to Ormat’s acquisition of the operating Pomona energy storage facility (20 MW/ 80 MWh) and the ongoing construction of the Vallecito energy storage project (10 MW / 40 MWh), also in California.

“Ormat is committed to being an active participant in California’s effort to achieve its goal of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045,” commented Doron Blachar, Ormat’s Chief Executive Officer. “Increasingly, energy storage plays a key role in making this transition reliable and cost-effective, and Ormat continues to expand its presence and capabilities in this area. In particular, Ormat is focused on serving CCAs around the state, bringing innovative solutions focused on renewable and sustainable energy resources to meet current and projected demand, responsibly. We are pleased to leverage our proven capabilities and provide grid operators with the expertise to enhance grid performance, stability and responsiveness, while delivering capacity at the right time, the right place, and the right price.”

“Valley Clean Energy is proud to announce our partnership with sister agency Redwood Coast Energy Authority, and battery storage experts Ormat, on this initiative,” said Don Saylor, VCE’s Chair of the Board. “Battery storage is critical to maintaining grid stability, especially within the context of increasing wildfires and power shutoffs in California. VCE’s customers will continue to benefit from our commitment to climate resilience, community benefits and partnering on local projects like Tierra Buena.”

“The Tierra Buena battery energy storage project will help us deliver cost-effective, low carbon electricity to our customers while helping the state maintain grid reliability as we transition to renewables,” said Matthew Marshall, Executive Director of RCEA. “The deployment of energy storage statewide allows Community Choice Energy programs like ours to play a critical role in helping retire aging gas infrastructure by providing the flexibility necessary to rely on renewable sources to meet our energy needs.”

CCAs provide a large and growing portion of California’s energy supply. There are over 10 million electric accounts served by CCAs in California, providing power to tens of millions of people. Ormat will deliver long-term resource adequacy to RCEA and VCE while also participating in merchant energy and ancillary services markets run by the California Independent System Operator, contributing to overall grid stability and reliability.

Ormat will undertake engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of this project, leveraging its core EPC capabilities gained through decades of renewable energy project development, as well as specific know-how in battery energy storage design and operation. The project design will incorporate Li-Ion batteries and other components from leading suppliers. The asset will be operated by Viridity Energy Solutions Inc., Ormat’s energy storage, demand response and energy management arm.

About Redwood Coast Energy Authority

The Redwood Coast Energy Authority is a local government joint powers agency whose members include the County of Humboldt, all incorporated cities within the county, and the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District. RCEA’s purpose is to develop and implement sustainable energy initiatives that reduce energy demand, increase energy efficiency, and advance the use of clean, efficient, and renewable resources available in the region.

About Valley Clean Energy

Valley Clean Energy is a not-for-profit public agency formed to provide electrical generation service to customers in Woodland, Davis, Winters and the unincorporated areas of Yolo County. Its mission is to source cost-competitive clean electricity while providing product choice, price stability, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emission reductions and reinvestment in the communities it serves.

About Ormat Technologies

With over five decades of experience, Ormat Technologies, Inc. is a leading geothermal company and the only vertically integrated company engaged in geothermal and recovered energy generation (“REG”), with the objective of becoming a leading global provider of renewable energy. Ormat owns, operates, designs, manufactures and sells geothermal and REG power plants primarily based on the Ormat Energy Converter – a power generation unit that converts low-, medium- and high-temperature heat into electricity. With 68 U.S. patents, Ormat’s power solutions have been refined and perfected under the most grueling environmental conditions. Ormat has 578 employees in the United States and 830 overseas. Ormat’s flexible, modular solutions for geothermal power and REG are ideal for vast range of resource characteristics. Ormat has engineered, manufactured and constructed power plants, which it either currently owns or has installed for utilities and developers worldwide, totaling approximately 3,000 MW of gross capacity. Ormat’s current 933 MW generating portfolio is spread globally in the U.S., Kenya, Guatemala, Indonesia, Honduras, and Guadeloupe. Ormat leveraged its core capabilities and global presence, together with the energy storage expertise of its subsidiary, Viridity Energy Solutions Inc., to expand its operations to provide energy storage and energy management solutions.

                RCEA logo over a transparent background

Press Release to download

RCEA contracts for 100% of the output of a new 100 megawatt solar project

EDP Renewables, Redwood Coast Energy Authority Execute Long-Term Agreement for New California Solar Park

A 15-year agreement will bring the 100 megawatt Sandrini Sol Solar Park to Kern County, California

Humboldt County, CA, May 6, 2020 — EDP Renewables SA (EDPR), through its fully owned subsidiary EDP Renewables North America LLC (EDPR NA), and Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) have executed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for 100 megawatts (MW) for the Sandrini Sol 1 Solar Park in Kern County, California.

Located near Bakersfield, the 100 MW Sandrini Sol 1 Solar Park is expected to be operational in 2022 and represents an estimated capital investment of more than $100 million.  The project will bring economic benefits to Californians by way of payments to local landowners and governments, job opportunities during construction and operations, and an increase in money spent at local businesses in the vicinity of the solar park.  Sandrini Sol 1 will also generate enough clean electricity to annually power more than 46,000 average California homes and will save approximately 177 million gallons of water a year.

As the solar park’s only offtaker through the long-term PPA, RCEA will receive 100 percent of the project output.  RCEA is a community choice aggregator serving more than 60,000 customers in Humboldt County.  This project will generate enough electricity to meet approximately 45% of RCEA customers’ demand.  Sandrini Sol 1 will complement the several local solar projects that are also under development, including RCEA’s 2.5 MW solar and storage microgrid project at the Redwood Coast Airport as well as PPAs for another 3 MW of local solar projects that were recently approved through RCEA’s feed-in-tariff program.

“The State has set a target for a 100% clean and renewable electricity mix by 2045, and RCEA has established the ambitious objective of hitting that target 20 years early, in 2025,” said RCEA Executive Director Matthew Marshall.  “By providing enough affordable, renewable energy to meet almost half of our customers’ current electricity needs, the Sandrini Sol project is a major step toward achieving our local energy and climate goals.”

This agreement broadens RCEA and EDPR’s partnership and furthers the two companies’ commitments to growing renewable energy in California, noting RCEA, EDPR, and others also announced on April 2, 2018, their entrance into a public-private partnership to pursue the development of an offshore wind energy project off the Northern California coast.

“EDP Renewables is excited to work with RCEA on the development of another renewable energy project to respond to the increasing demand for more clean energy solutions in California,” said Miguel Prado, EDP Renewables North America CEO.  “Sandrini Sol 1 represents EDP Renewables’ burgeoning presence in the California renewable energy market and reinforces our commitment to investing in the state.”

EDP Renewables is a global leader in wind and solar, with a significant and an expanding presence in California.  The company’s operational footprint in the state includes two phases of the Lone Valley Solar Park in San Bernardino County and three phases of the Rising Tree Wind Farm in Kern County – annually powering more than 101,000 average California homes.  EDPR NA will also construct the Sonrisa Solar Park, consisting of 200 MW of solar capacity and 40 MW of storage capacity, in Fresno County, and the 200 MW Sandrini Sol 2 Solar Park in Kern County, which are both anticipated to be operational in 2022.

About RCEA

Established in 2003, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority is a local government joint powers agency whose members include the County of Humboldt, the seven cities within the county, and the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District. The Energy Authority’s purpose is to develop and implement sustainable energy initiatives that reduce energy demand, increase energy efficiency, and advance the use of clean, efficient and renewable resources available in the region.

About EDP Renewables North America

EDP Renewables North America LLC (EDPR NA) and its subsidiaries develop, construct, own, and operate wind farms and solar parks throughout North America.  Headquartered in Houston, Texas, with 52 wind farms, eight solar parks, and eight regional and development offices across North America, EDPR NA has developed more than 7,300 megawatts (MW) and operates more than 7,000 MW of renewable energy projects.  EDPR NA is owned by EDP Renováveis, S.A. (EDPR).  For more information, visit www.edprnorthamerica.com.

 

 

Community Choice Energy Turns Three

KEET solar panels in Kneeland

Community Choice Energy Turns Three

The Redwood Coast Energy Authority Celebrates Humboldt County’s Recent Energy Program Accomplishments and Future Objectives

When RCEA launched its Community Choice Energy (CCE) program May 1, 2017, it was based on a community vision that Humboldt County would have greater control over its electricity generation options, the electricity would have a higher renewable content, and it would cost a little less. CCE revenues would provide direct benefits to customers, develop the local workforce, and would be reinvested in the community.  Three years later, the innovative program is delivering on those goals.

BENEFITS
RCEA continues to serve over 62,000 customers, which is about 93% of Humboldt County electricity customers. Rates are currently 1% less than that of bundled PG&E customers, and those savings have added up to a cumulative savings for RCEA customers of $4.9 million through the end of 2019.
The program also directly benefits CCE customers by way of providing energy efficiency services, a net energy metering program for solar customers, public charging stations for electric vehicles, and customer rebates. The most recent rebate program rolled out this Earth Day, April 22, offering up to $500 on qualifying electric bicycles.  More RCEA rebates will be released in the months ahead to support homes and businesses with energy efficiency and low-emissions transportation options.

 

“Central to the goals of the CCE program is to provide both environmental and local economic benefits to the community,” said RCEA Executive Director Matthew Marshall.  “Since its launch in 2017, the program has been able to retain and accesses a total of over $51 million of investment in direct, local economic benefits to Humboldt County through customer rate-savings, program spending and matching outside grant funding, local power-procurement, and allocations toward building a reserve/contingency fund.”

 

COMMUNITY CHOICE
The “choice” in Community Choice has meant that community members have had a clear voice in RCEA’s decision-making processes. During the summer and fall of 2019, RCEA’s strategic plan was updated with input from six public workshops, monthly public Board meetings, and hundreds of written comments. RCEA’s 14 Community Advisory Committee (CAC) members, appointed by the Board of Directors, meet quarterly and for special sub-committee meetings to discuss current opportunities and priorities. A few notable outcomes include a resolution for 100% renewable energy for all customers by 2025 (20 years sooner than the State’s target), the formation of a Citizen Sourcing process to solicit ideas for local programs, and ongoing, in-depth discussions on the use of biomass for local electricity generation.

LOCAL SOLAR PROJECTS
In three short years, RCEA has taken important strides to encourage new electricity generation projects. Three new community-scale solar projects are about to be built in Humboldt County through RCEA’s Feed-in Tariff Program, which encourages local renewable energy development. In April, the RCEA Board approved contracts with developers to build two one-megawatt solar arrays outside of Blue Lake and another one-megawatt project outside of Hydesville. These three solar arrays will power the equivalent of 1,200 homes in Humboldt County and will be online in the fall of 2021.

REDWOOD AIRPORT MICROGRID
The Redwood Coast Airport Microgrid project is a partnership with the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State University, PG&E, and the County of Humboldt to build a 7-acre, 2.5 MW solar array and battery energy storage system at the California Redwood Coast – Humboldt County Airport. The County is providing the land, RCEA will own and operate the solar and battery systems, PG&E will provide connection to the larger grid, and the Schatz Center is serving as the technical lead and coordinator responsible for project management,  design,  and technology integration. The project, which is considered by the State of California to be a model for replication throughout the state, will provide electricity to RCEA customers and, in the event of a disruption to the larger grid, the microgrid will have the ability to island and provide emergency power to the airport, Coast Guard, and another facilities.

LARGE  SOLAR
RCEA’s largest project so far will be a new 100-megawatt (MW) project in Kern County.  A 15-year power purchase agreement was approved by the RCEA Board in April and the project is planned to be built and operational in 2022. RCEA will take 100% of the energy produced from this project; watch for more details coming soon.

SMALL HYDRO
In September of 2019, RCEA also signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with Snow Mountain Hydro for its Cove hydro project, an existing, seasonal, 5.6 MW run-of-the-river project in Shasta County.  RCEA began receiving the full power output of the project in March of 2020.  Small, low-impact hydro projects like Cove qualify as renewable energy under state standards.

BIOMASS
When Humboldt County’s Community Choice Energy was launched in May of 2017, the only utility-scale source of local renewable electricity was from biomass, which utilizes waste material from local sawmills. The current biomass contracts with Humboldt Sawmill Company in Scotia and DG Fairhaven Power on the Samoa peninsula are relatively short term and allow RCEA to keep options open for future efforts to diversify the local renewables portfolio. RCEA continues to recognize the environmental benefits of not having to ship waste out of the county, providing local blue-collar jobs, and supporting a viable, sustainable local wood products industry.

OFFSHORE WIND
Looking forward, in addition to these current projects, RCEA is actively working to develop new sources of local renewable energy generation. Prominent among potential options for local projects is the prospect of offshore wind energy generation, 20 or more miles off the coast of Humboldt County.  The north coast has a world-class offshore wind resource and moving forward with an appropriate and thoughtful process to pursue local offshore wind development is expected to be a key focus of RCEA’s efforts and community engagement in the coming years.

RCEA’s staff and Board of Directors look forward to continuing to serve the community with reliable, affordable, and renewable energy through the community choice energy program for years to come.

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