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

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.

POSTPONED – Electric Bike Public Workshop

Electric bike workshop flyer featuring a bike in front of the creamery district

POSTPONED – Electric Bike Public Workshop

In light of recent developments surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19), Redwood Coast Energy Authority has decided to postpone the E-Bike Workshop. RCEA believes it to be in the best interest of the community to take proactive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Public safety is our top priority. We want to ensure the safety and well-being of our event staff, participants, and community members. RCEA will also be suspending all other RePower Hour events until further notice. Updates will be provided regarding the event when more information becomes available. Thank you for your understanding.

 

Public Workshop on Battery Storage Basics

Public Workshop on Battery Storage Basics

Building resilience in Humboldt County

Since the recent Public Safety Power Shutoffs, Humboldt County residents have been asking how they can make their homes and businesses more energy resilient, how they can utilize the electricity from their solar panels when the grid is down, how vehicle to home storage solutions work, and where to start when investing in a battery storage system.

The Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) will address these questions at a public workshop on battery storage systems on Tuesday, Feb. 4, from 5:30-6:30 p.m., upstairs in room 203 at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center, 921 Waterfront Dr., Eureka.

Next month, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is set to roll out changes to its battery storage incentives through the Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). These changes will focus on storage for microgrids and simpler emergency back-up systems, especially for lower-income customers and customers with critical resiliency needs. Qualified low-income residential customers will be able to apply for the new incentives by March 1, 2020, and commercial/industrial/government customers by April 1, 2020.

Staff will be available for individual questions after the hour-long presentation. RCEA Project Manager Mike Avcollie will be the lead presenter. Battery vendors are encouraged to display their products.

The Battery Storage Basics workshop will be the first in a speaker series designed to answer Humboldt County’s critical energy questions. For more information on speaker series topics, please contact the Redwood Coast Energy Authority Community Strategies Manager, Nancy Stephenson, at (707) 269-1700 ext. 352 or nstephenson@redwoodenergy.org.

Battery Storage Workshop flyer

Going Solar in Humboldt County

The workshop will also include brief updates on four of RCEA’s solar energy initiatives that support locally produced, sustainable electricity and also pave the way for battery storage opportunities.

The first is RCEA’s Solar Net Energy Metering Program. RCEA’s recently updated strategic plan, RePower Humboldt, aims to accelerate the rate of residential and commercial Net Energy Metering customer solar system installations to an annual average of 365 systems per year between 2020 and 2030, adding about 40 megawatts of additional solar capacity by the end of the decade. Battery storage will amplify the benefits of these projects.

Another is RCEA’s Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff Program, which supports the construction of new, community-scale renewable energy generation projects in RCEA’s service territory that are up to 1 megawatt in capacity. Current power purchase agreement terms and other details can be found on RCEA’s website.

RCEA’s Public Agency Solar Program (PASP) is currently assisting 19 local governments with assessing opportunities and accessing funding to install solar energy arrays and energy efficiency upgrades that will save money and reduce emissions. The PASP program is expanding its scope by helping participating local governments identify and implement opportunities to pair battery storage systems with solar arrays to enhance local energy resilience.

Construction of the Redwood Coast Airport Solar Microgrid is scheduled for 2020, which will install a 2.5 megawatt solar array, battery energy storage system, and advanced microgrid control system at the Humboldt County Airport. The electricity generated from the project will be added to RCEA’s retail electricity mix, but the infrastructure is also designed to “island” a portion of the local electricity distribution grid to be able to provide extended emergency power to the airport, US Coast Guard Air Station, and other adjacent customers in the event of a power outage on the larger grid.

RCEA enters second phase of strategic planning update

Forests Energy and the Environment Public Workshop flyer
Forests Energy and the Environment Public Workshop agenda

RCEA enters second phase of strategic planning update

RCEA continues to update its guiding plan with two public workshops. Both workshops will be held at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center, 721 Waterfront Drive in Eureka, Room 203.

The Thursday, October 17 workshop, from 5:30-7:00 p.m., is an opportunity to learn about and discuss RCEA’s Comprehensive Action Plan for Energy (CAPE), which incorporates public input received during the plan’s first update phase in August and September. The CAPE, adopted in 2012, details strategies to address regional energy planning and coordination, energy programs for residences and businesses, low-carbon transportation, and energy generation and utility services.

On Friday, October 18, from 1:00-4:00 p.m., the Forestry, Energy and the Environment workshop will focus on the use of biomass for electricity generation in RCEA’s energy mix. Biomass power derived from mill residuals and other wood waste has been a significant source of locally generated electricity in Humboldt County since the 1980s and has been an element of RCEA’s community choice energy program’s renewable energy power mix since 2017. At this workshop, a diverse panel of experts facilitated by Michael Furniss will share information, discuss, and answer questions about the role of biomass power in meeting our local electricity needs as well as its role in managing local forest lands and our local economy’s forest products sector.

Comments on the Draft CAPE should be emailed to EnergyPlan2019@redwoodenergy.org. Meeting agendas, CAPE update timeline, and additional details can be found on planning page, and by calling (707) 269-1700. Refreshments will be served.

Charting Humboldt’s Clean Energy Future

Flyer for Clean Energy Future Workshop

Submit your comments during the CAPE draft development and comment period schedule below. For more information on the calendar and workshops, contact the Redwood Coast Energy Authority at (707) 269-1700.

Meeting agendas, schedule updates, and additional details will be posted on our Planning page

Comments can be emailed directly to EnergyPlan2019@redwoodenergy.org

Help Plan Humboldt County's Energy Future

The Redwood Coast Energy Authority is updating its guiding strategic document and is seeking your input in the process. Look for workshops to attend in the coming months and submit your written comments.

The first workshop will be on Thursday, August 29 at 5:30 p.m., at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center, 921 Waterfront Drive, Eureka. Refreshments will be served.

RCEA’s Comprehensive Action Plan for Energy (“CAPE”) details strategies specifically addressing regional energy planning and coordination, programs for energy customers, low-carbon transportation, and energy generation and utility services.

The energy landscape in Humboldt County has changed over the past seven years, and strategies within RCEA’s original 2012 Comprehensive Action Plan for Energy need to be updated to align with this new landscape. The updated plan, which will include RCEA’s goal of 100% clean and renewable electricity by 2025, will include input from current countywide Climate Action Plan development and community outreach.

RCEA is updating high-level strategies for smart energy use, growth and security, incorporating several of the agency’s other strategic timeline planning documents into the CAPE, and developing quantitative targets including RCEA’s power mix make-up for the next ten years.

Prepare for Power Outages and Help PG&E Reach You

Map of Fire Hazard Zones in Humboldt County

Prepare for Power Outages and Help PG&E Reach You

Important message: PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoffs

Educate and prepare yourselves for the coming fire season and make sure your contact information is up-to-date with PG&E so they can alert you through automated calls, texts and emails, when and where possible, prior to a Public Safety Power Shutoff.

“Given the growing threat of extreme weather, we want all of our customers to be prepared for power outages. If extreme fire danger conditions threaten a portion of the electric system serving your community, it will be necessary for us to turn off electricity in the interest of public safety. This is called a Public Safety Power Shutoff.” – PG&E

RCEA’s role in 2019 will be to assist PG&E in distributing alerts to the public, we do not expect to have any additional information prior to or during outages. Please visit PG&E’s website for the most accurate service restoration details.

100% Clean and Renewable Electricity by 2025

Smiling male technician in blue suit installing photovoltaic blue solar modules with screw

The Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s (RCEA) Board of Directors approved two proposals at their March 28 meeting to advance the goals of Humboldt County’s Community Choice Energy program. The first was a resolution targeting a 100% clean and renewable electricity mix for RCEA’s community choice energy program by 2025. The City of Eureka, the City of Arcata, and the County of Humboldt have adopted similar resolutions.

The second was the launch of a Feed-In Tariff Program which offers standardized contract terms and purchase pricing for community-scale renewable energy projects under one megawatt in Humboldt County.

The 100 percent clean and renewable resolution was recommended by RCEA’s Community Advisory Committee to accelerate RCEA’s previously established renewable energy goals. The new Feed-In Tariff Program will facilitate the construction of new projects to help meet the 2025 target with local solar and other renewable energy generation projects located within the county.

Colin Fiske, the RCEA Community Advisory Committee member who presented the resolution to the committee was relieved, saying, “Adopting this goal clearly shows that RCEA recognizes the urgency of the need to take swift action to tackle the climate crisis. And it’s a significant step toward reflecting the values and priorities of our community in our energy portfolio. That’s the beauty of the Community Choice Energy program.”

According to Michael Winkler, RCEA board chair, “RCEA’s accelerated commitment to 100 percent clean and renewable electricity by 2025 builds on our already strong track record for delivering clean, local, renewable energy at competitive prices and promoting local economic development in Humboldt County.”

Matthew Marshall, RCEA’s executive director, added that “One of our central goals is to meet our local energy needs with local renewable resources, and the Feed-In-Tariff Program is a great mechanism to encourage new smaller, community-scale projects as a key element of meeting that goal.”

RCEA’s resolution reaffirms Humboldt County as a leader in going beyond the state of California’s 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018, which requires that eligible renewable energy resources and zero-carbon resources supply 100% of retail sales of electricity by the end of 2045.

In the coming months RCEA staff will conduct a technical analysis and gather public input on the long-term plan to achieve the goals of the resolution while continuing to also increase energy efficiency and conservation and deliver community benefits.

For more information, please visit the Power Sources page on our website.

Billing Glitch

RCEA has discovered an error on some customer’s bills. It does NOT affect energy or billing amounts shown; it’s purely descriptive.

PG&E accidentally used the Time-of-Use definition on an unspecified number of bills, regardless of the rate schedule customers are on. Those accounts did not experience a change to their rate schedule or the way their energy use was calculated.

The bill time-frame that has been affected is 10/5 to 10/23.

We took immediate action to fix the error, and the issue should be resolved within the next week or so.

Please contact us if you have any questions.


 

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