Public Workshop on Battery Storage Basics

News

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.


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

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.

 

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.

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

 

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

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.


 

October is Energy Action Month

Who is the Redwood Coast Energy Authority? What do we do? How do we serve our community?

This first issue (a downloadable PDF) provides a good overview of RCEA’s past, present and future programs, activities, and milestones – just in time for Energy Action Month.

Please call or stop by if you’d like to discuss any of this. Better yet – come see us on Saturday, October 6 at the Sequoia Park Zoo as we sponsor a FREE DAY for the entire community (see back cover).


 

RCEA and Consortium Submit Lease Application for Northern California Offshore Wind Energy Project

PRESS RELEASE:

Redwood Coast Energy Authority and Consortium of Development Partners Submit Lease Application for Northern California Offshore Wind Energy Project

EUREKA, California, September 12, 2018 – The Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA), with support from a consortium of private companies, has submitted a lease application to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to advance the development of an offshore wind energy project off the coast of Humboldt County, in Northern California. The 100-150 megawatt (MW) floating offshore wind farm is planned to be located more than 20 miles off the coast of Eureka.

RCEA and the consortium, which includes Principle Power Inc., EDPR Offshore North America LLC, and Aker Solutions Inc., have been working with members of the community since 2017 to explore and develop the offshore wind potential of Humboldt County. RCEA initiated a competitive process earlier this year and selected the consortium to enter into a public-private partnership to pursue the development of the proposed project. Since its founding in 2003, RCEA, a local government joint powers agency, has provided an array of energy services to Humboldt County residents and businesses.

In recent months, RCEA has done an increasing amount of community outreach – informing the public and commercial interests, gathering feedback, and listening to and incorporating the concerns and desires of the region – to form the basis for the lease application submitted to BOEM.  The project is expected to bring significant economic benefits to the region in the form of jobs and increased spending in the local community and State of California. A longer-term goal of the project is for Humboldt Bay to become a central hub of a US west coast offshore wind industry.

“Humboldt County has much to gain by harnessing our offshore wind power potential,” said County Supervisor and RCEA board member Estelle Fennell. “Coastal resiliency, local jobs, increased investments in economic development, manufacturing, protecting wildlife and future generations of Humboldt County. The State of California set ambitious goals this week by signing Senate Bill 100, reaching for carbon neutrality and 100% clean electricity by 2045. We are at the very beginning of a multi-year process, but so far, the response from the public has been positive. Humboldt County has a long history of innovative leadership when it comes to renewable energy solutions.”

RCEA’s work with the Humboldt community, state and federal agencies, and others has generated an overall positive response to the proposed project and sets the framework for successfully delivering clean energy to local ratepayers at a competitive cost, under an efficient, locally driven and guided development philosophy.  RCEA and the consortium will continue to focus on community and stakeholder outreach during this multi-year process to understand and address potential concerns.

Donna Wright, Executive Director of the Greater Eureka Chamber of Commerce, said “the Chamber supports economic development opportunities with offshore wind and clean energy and supports efforts to keep Humboldt County and California competitive in this growing industry. Business plays a key role in community leadership and by working with RCEA and their consortium we want the community to know that we are committed to supporting policies and advocating for programs that promote economic, environmental and community sustainability.”

RCEA and its project partners engaged in a systematic, comprehensive process to determine a location for the Humboldt offshore site that minimizes impacts to the environment and communities, including commercial fishing, that are active offshore.  Based on this interactive process, the proposed lease area will support selecting a final project site for an expected 10-15 turbines that avoids or minimizes impacts on marine navigation corridors, major commercial fishing areas, and environmental resources.

RCEA‘s project partners bring the expertise needed to develop, finance, and operate projects as well as build an offshore wind energy supply chain.  The complementary capabilities of Principle Power, EDPR, and Aker Solutions bring the long-term commitment needed for a successful project.  RCEA and its consortium of development partners are working to bring the project online in 2024, which will help unlock the extraordinary value of offshore wind energy for California.

“We wanted a project of this magnitude to move forward with the local community having a strong role throughout the process,” added Matthew Marshall, Executive Director at RCEA. “We are extremely excited that we’ve been able to partner with such a highly-capable and experienced team of companies that are committed to that vision of a community-led project.”

About the Redwood Coast Energy Authority

The Redwood Coast Energy Authority is a local government Joint Powers Agency whose members include the County of Humboldt; the Cities of Arcata, Blue Lake, Eureka, Ferndale, Fortuna, Rio Dell, and Trinidad; and the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District. The purpose of the Energy Authority 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 for the benefit of the Member agencies and their constituents.

Press Contact: Nancy Stephenson, RCEA Community Strategies Manager

For more information please visit our Offshore Wind page: https://redwoodenergy.org/offshore-wind-energy/

(707) 269-1700 ext 352 -NStephenson@redwoodenergy.org


 

RCEA & PG&E RATE COMPARISON

Curious how the Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s (RCEA) generation charges compare to PG&E’s? RCEA recently partnered with PG&E to provide customers with a comparison of average monthly charges and energy sources. RCEA and PG&E are required to provide this side-by-side rate and power content comparison in an annual postcard mailer to all electric customers in the county.

Most customers should have received their card by now, but it can also be seen on PG&E’s website, pge.com/cca. Copies are also available at RCEA’s office at 633 3rd Street in Old Town Eureka and can be re-mailed upon request. Specific rates not included in the cards can also be found online.

RCEA’s default electricity option, called REpower, costs 3% less than PG&E’s equivalent generation rate. By comparison, PG&E’s electricity supply mix is about 33% from renewable sources while RCEA’s Repower is 44%. REpower+, with 100% renewable electricity, costs just a penny more per kilowatt-hour than REpower. Additionally, eligible RCEA customers continue to receive full CARE, FERA and Medical Baseline discounts. RCEA’s Community Choice Energy Program was launched in May of 2017 and is now serving about 62,000 customers in Humboldt County.

Contact Us

633 3rd Street

Eureka, CA 95501

(707) 269-1700

info@RedwoodEnergy.org

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