Fall 2021 Updates from RCEA
RCEA's Certify & Amplify Virtual Workshop
Connect Your Business to California’s Contracting Clearinghouse
Tuesday, Nov. 2, 10:00-11:30 AM
Small diverse businesses who certify have special access to multimillion $ contract opportunities with utilities, large and small, across the state.
The Redwood Coast Energy Authority is hosting a free webinar to introduce local businesses to the benefits and opportunities available through the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) Supplier Diversity program.
If you are a small diverse business owner, we want to help you certify in the CPUC Supplier Diversity program and amplify your business opportunities throughout the state. In this webinar, you will learn about the benefits and opportunities available through this certification and how to access California’s multimillion-dollar utility contracting clearinghouse.
Commonly referred to as “Supplier Diversity,” General Order (GO) 156 is a statewide program that encourages utilities to prioritize contracts and subcontracts from businesses that meet diversity qualifications. To qualify, businesses must be 51% woman-owned; minority-owned; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT)-owned; or disabled veteran-owned enterprises.
After being certified as a diverse supplier, qualified businesses are listed in the CPUC’s Clearinghouse, which utilities can then access for their contracting needs and to meet their contracting quotas.
The COVID-19 pandemic has squeezed our local businesses into even more competitive environments and tighter margins, making Supplier Diversity certification another way to get local businesses noticed and ensure that they stand out among the competition.
RCEA wants to make sure that businesses in our communities are aware of this program, know how to qualify for the Clearinghouse, and get their questions answered by our guest speakers from the CPUC, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, and a local business like themselves. Please visit our Supplier Diversity webpage for more information.
When diverse community businesses thrive, we all thrive.
Traducción estará disponible. Los detalles se proporcionarán con el registro.
New legislation just signed into law on Thursday by Gov. Gavin Newsom will significantly advance the development of an offshore wind power industry on the West Coast.
Eureka, CA — New legislation just signed into law on Thursday by Gov. Gavin Newsom will significantly advance the development of an offshore wind power industry on the West Coast, especially in Humboldt County, say developers of a proposed local project and the area’s Community Choice Aggregator (CCA).
The legislation, AB 525, which was approved nearly unanimously by the California Legislature earlier this month, directs California state agencies to develop a strategic plan to facilitate the development of offshore wind on a large scale over the next two decades.
California law states that, by 2045, 100 percent of electricity consumed in California must come from carbon-free sources. One study has suggested offshore wind has the potential to generate electricity in an amount equal to 150 percent of California’s electricity usage in 2019. Further, offshore wind is the perfect complement to solar generation in California as ocean winds pick up in the early evening when the sun begins to set.
“This new law shows California is now fully committed to developing an offshore wind industry that can create local jobs, advance towards a carbon-free electric system, and address the threat of climate change,” said Tyler Studds, chief executive officer of Redwood Coast Offshore Wind (ROW).
ROW is a 50-50 joint venture between two international offshore wind developers, Ocean Winds and Aker Offshore Wind, in partnership with the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA). RCEA is a CCA formed by nine local government entities with a mandate to procure clean and renewable power for Humboldt County electricity customers.
Earlier this year, Newsom and the Biden administration announced they expect to hold an auction in 2022 for leases off both the Humboldt Coast and the Central Coast near Morro Bay. These areas combined could produce 4.6 GW of offshore wind energy and power 1.6 million California homes.
“This legislation and the support it received underscores the wisdom of RCEA engaging early to work toward the responsible development of our local offshore wind resource,” said Matthew Marshall, executive director of RCEA. “We are taking a community-based approach to developing Humboldt County’s offshore wind resource that prioritizes community values, protecting the environment, and developing strategies to avoid or mitigate impacts to the fishing community and local Tribes, while creating jobs and economic development.” ROW has already actively engaged a host of local stakeholders, including fisheries, labor, and Tribal governments to understand their concerns and explore solutions.
Deploying wind turbines offshore, where they will be placed on floating platforms so they can operate in deep water, will require significant investments and upgrades to the Port of Humboldt Bay that can also benefit other port users. Once the port is upgraded and as the industry develops, other parts of the offshore wind supply chain could locate facilities in Humboldt County and elsewhere in California. In July, the Humboldt Bay Harbor and Recreation District submitted a grant application to the U.S. Department of Transportation Port Infrastructure Development Program to fund the development of a Humboldt Bay Offshore Wind and Heavy Lift Marine Terminal.
“This law provides much-needed certainty around the future of offshore wind in California and will spur significant upgrades in port and grid infrastructure,” said Jonah Margulis, senior vice president of US operations for Aker Offshore Wind. “We look forward to creating a robust, sustainable offshore wind industry in Northern California that will serve the community with reliable, clean energy and well-paying jobs for decades to come.”
Humboldt’s First-Ever Public Rebate for Residential EV Charging Equipment
RCEA launched Humboldt’s first-ever public rebate for residential electric vehicle charging stations today, brought to you by RCEA’s Community Choice Energy Program.
We want to make it as affordable and convenient as possible for folks to own an EV and charge at home.
The rebate amount is up to $500 per customer for charging stations listed on our Approved Products List, not to exceed 50% of the total charging station hardware costs. This rebate is retroactive for up to 3 months—if you installed an approved product within the last 3 months you can apply to receive the rebate.
For more information and to apply for the charger rebate, please go to our EV charging equipment page.
You can find all of RCEA’s rebates, including an electric vehicle rebate, on our Rebates page.
If you have further questions, you can contact email@example.com or (707) 269-1700.
photo: Juan Cervantes
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
The Redwood Coast Airport Microgrid will be fully operational later this year. For more information, visit schatzcenter.org/acv or contact Nancy Stephenson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“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.
Executive Director, Redwood Coast Energy 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.
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
Pamela Leonard, Communications Manager
O: 408-721-5301 x1004 | M: 530-306-0122