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Meetings 2nd Thursday of the Month at Unitarian Universalist Church of Ventura, 5654 Ralston St. in Ventura. Meet and Greet 6:30pm Meeting 7pm

East Bay Clean Power Alliance Statement Against 100% Renewable Default

East Bay Clean Power Alliance supports an East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) program goal of 100% renewable energy, achieved through conserving energy and developing local renewable energy sources as quickly as possible. This approach stems from the necessity to address the looming climate disaster while providing multiple economic, health, and equity benefits to our communities.

However, some advocates want to accelerate the transition to 100% by enrolling all customers—not just municipal accounts—in a 100% renewables option at program launch, based on the purchase of remote renewable energy.

While the Alliance recognizes the good intentions of this proposal, enrolling all customers in a 100% option by default poses a serious threat to the success of the program, not only because of high opt-outs due to higher electricity rates, but also because it short-circuits the many community benefits that would come from developing renewable energy resources locally, as explained below.

Many benefits of developing local renewable resources

When renewable resources are developed locally, there are many benefits to be gained other than the obvious reduction of greenhouse gases.

Local renewable resource development produces healthier, more sustainable communities, creating jobs and stimulating local economies. Local energy resources result in more secure and self-sufficient energy supplies. All the above benefits can be shared by low income communities and communities of color, historically those most devastated by the fossil fuel economy, and most impacted by economic inequality.

The robust and equitable economic development that can be realized in developing local energy resources can result in huge safety net savings for local governments, as well as increased tax revenues from new business activity. Local governments that invest in local renewable resources will create a stable revenue stream to boost available funds.

The benefits above will contribute to customer satisfaction, reducing the threat of opt-outs from the Community Choice program. A renewable energy portfolio that increasingly consists of local resources is also one that avoids the volatility of the energy market. Investments in local energy projects come with more stable and more manageable costs.

Getting to 100% through local renewable development

EBCE has already committed to developing local renewable resources, and will soon have a Local Development Business Plan to guide that process. Planning is critical to successfully developing and integrating local energy resources and avoiding market-purchase contracts that lock out the development of local resources.

The plan should include aggressive goals for both local generation and demand reduction. It should use a significant share of EBCE’s net revenues to accelerate the development of local resources through incentive programs, targeted subsidies, leveraged investments, and in-house expertise.

Based on this plan, EBCE would enroll customers in a competitively priced renewable portfolio option with higher renewable content and lower cost than PG&E. EBCE would then develop local renewable resources to replace fossil fuel energy, getting to 100% renewables as quickly as net revenues make possible.

Clearly, to get to 100% renewable energy by developing local resources in this fashion will take longer than buying 100% renewables on the market. But the result will be more sustainable, economically vibrant and equitable communities, local government with more revenue and less debt and a more stable Community Choice program.

What’s wrong with starting at 100% renewables?

EBCPA opposes enrolling all customers in a 100% renewable option by default. We find it would discriminate against lower income customers, substantially threaten the ability of EBCE to develop local renewable energy resources, and completely short-circuit EBCE’s community benefits promises.

It will worsen economic discrimination

The 100% renewable options found in existing Community Choice programs are more expensive than the enrollment options at a lower renewable portfolio. Automatically enrolling all customers in a pricey 100% renewable option (likely more expensive than PG&E rates) increases the economic burden of energy on those who can least afford it. It will aggravate already difficult economic pressures among communities of color and low-income people who already feel the pinch of electricity bills.

Enrolling such customers at the 100% option requires them to take explicit action to opt-down to a lower-priced, more affordable option. To impose a high-priced option by default—one that only 1-2% of customers in existing Community Choice programs have chosen—and then require the majority of customers to opt down if they don’t like it, amounts to economic hostage-taking and an abuse of the automatic enrollment mechanism of the Community Choice program.

Automatic enrollment in a less-expensive renewable option does not prevent any customer from opting up to a 100% renewable option, including any city that wants to enroll all its municipal accounts at 100%.

It will increase the opt-out rate and otherwise threaten the ability of EBCE to develop local renewable energy resources

Those who cannot afford the 100% renewable option, as well as those who resent being automatically enrolled in a premium-priced option (likely more expensive than PG&E) will simply opt-out of EBCE and revert to PG&E.1 This defection will undermine the revenues needed to develop local resources.
Equally significant is that the higher cost of 100% renewables means that, if it is to compete in electricity rates with PG&E, EBCE will have lower net revenues. That means too little resources to implement programs for developing local renewable resources.

It will broadly undermine EBCE and community benefits

The opponents of Community Choice regularly attack it as consumer unfriendly because it is based on an opt-out model of enrollment rather than an opt-in model. Enrolling residential and commercial customers in a pricey option that requires them to opt-down or opt-out if they don’t like it, will not only strengthen opposition, but leave the program vulnerable to accusations of elitism.

Rather than being perceived as a broad-based Community Choice program that will bring economic and other community benefits to a majority of residents and businesses, EBCE will be tagged as a boutique program that would only appeal to affluent customers.

What if a city wants to enroll its customers at 100%?

Aside from all the down-sides discussed above, allowing any city to enroll all its residential and commercial customers at a non-standard default option (like 100%) will impose additional administrative costs on EBCE. It would require administrative support for an additional Community Choice configuration; different marketing materials, customer notices, web sites, call center operations, and other interactions with customers would have to be developed for the non-standard configuration.

The increased EBCE staffing and administrative costs associated with any city having 100% renewable enrollments would be borne by all EBCE customers, amounting to a subsidy of what is already a problematic enrollment approach.

1 Portola Valley, the wealthiest jurisdiction in San Mateo County’s Peninsula Clean Energy, and the only city in any Community Choice program to enroll customers by default in a 100% renewable option, has the highest opt our rate in the County–5.1%, compared to the overall opt out rate of 1.88%.

Events

Michelle Ellison’s Reasons for Ojai to Put the Renewable Default at 100%

From: Michelle Ellison
Sent: Saturday, February 10, 2018 10:18 PM
Subject: Clean Power Alliance – default renewable selection

Greetings fellow Ventura County board and board alternates.  (As of now, it appears only the County, Thousand Oaks and Ojai have appointed directors and alternates, so we don’t yet have every participating municipality in our area represented, but that will happen soon I’m sure.)

As you know, we each have a very important selection to make for our communities, and that is our default renewable tier – 36%, 50%, or 100%.  The default plan is what customers will be enrolled in automatically if they do not make another selection.  Customers always have the choice if they wish to opt for a different plan or opt out of Clean Power Alliance (CPA) all together.  Our preliminary default indications are due by 2/16 and final indications by 3/1.

I wanted to share with you my recommendation and rationale regarding default selection, should it be beneficial as you consider your options.  I am encouraging Ojai to adopt 100% renewable as our default plan, and encourage you to think about doing so with your community as well.  I base this on the following reasoning:

  • Communities such as Ojai and others have adopted 100% clean energy goals and committed to climate action plans to reduce emissions.  This is a fitting opportunity to support that proclamation and make immediate and substantial progress on that goal.  What better time than now to take action?
  • By setting the default at 100%, we will get much more participation at that level than if we set it at a lower level.  Often it’s just inertia that keeps people from deviating from the default, so if we want to encourage more clean energy, then our default should support that.  I came across this relevant study, about the “power of the nudge”.  When people were given 100% renewable energy as the default, 70% participated at that level, which is 10 times more than those given a lower default level with the option to opt up, only 7%  opted up.  https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-power-of-the-nudge-to-change-our-energy-future/
  • At the 100% level, for just 7% more than current SCE standard rates, customers increase their renewable energy by about 70% (up from 30% to 100%).  That seems like a compelling return.  If a household has a monthly electricity bill of $100 for example, it’ll cost just $7 extra (a trip to Starbucks).  Most probably won’t notice the difference and for those that do, they can opt for a lower tier with cost savings.
  • While the 100% renewable option is projected to cost about 7% more than the standard SCE plan (which is the plan that most customers currently have), there is a 10% savings for those that have the comparable SCE plan.
  • Customers aren’t locked into anything.  Every resident and business can choose to opt down to a lower renewable tier at any time, and benefit from cost savings and also more renewable energy than they are currently getting through SCE.  Or they can opt out of CPA all together.
  • Our communities can serve as a model of sustainability, helping to lead the way in securing a clean and distributed energy future.  More clean energy means less polluting emissions, which benefits everyone.
  • In terms of roll out, commercial accounts are part of Phase 2 which is scheduled to launch June 1 and residential accounts are in Phase 3 which will be later this year. Customers will receive two opt out/up/down notices, one 30 days prior and the other 60 days prior.  Between now and then, it will be important that we do public outreach and communications so that people feel adequately informed about their options.
  • I did some research and called the community of Portola Valley, which is part of the Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) in northern CA. They joined PCE last April and have their default set at 100% renewable.  (Going into it, the projected cost increase for the 100% option was 5% vs. the projected cost savings of 5% for the 50% option, which is similar to ours.)  They have an opt out rate of 5.4% and opt down rate of 3%.  So that means that over 90% of their residents and businesses have stayed in at 100%. The gal I spoke with said that we really get one shot at setting the default, it would be really hard (and politically more difficult) to change it at a later time because it would mean notifying everyone all over again which could cause confusion and perhaps then more opt outs, so she encourages us to do it right from the get go.
  • Our county is in a unique moment with the upcoming Socal Edison RFP that provides an incentive for a large amount of local clean energy development and generation very soon, so adopting 100% renewable supports that effort.

You all have seen this already, but as reference this table shows the indicative bill discounts for each of the plans.

Clean Power Alliance Plan

Indicative Bill Discount

CPA vs. SCE Standard Plan

Indicative Bill Discount

CPA vs. SCE Comparable Plan

36% Renewable

4%

4%

50% Renewable

3%

12%

100% Renewable

-7%

10%

I’d be interested in hearing what your thoughts are on all of this. Thanks!

Regards,

Michelle Ellison

Ojai’s Alternate Board Member, Clean Power Alliance

 

Events

FEBRUARY MEETING: UPDATES AND INTRO TO COMMUNITY MICROGRIDS

Thursday February 8, 6:30 – 8:30
Unitarian-Universalist Church of Ventura, 5456 Ralston, Ventura

RSVP and SHARE HERE.

What are Community Microgrids?

What is their potential in Ventura County?

How does their development intersect with the new solicitation from So Cal Edison?

Join us to watch a one hour webinar by Greg Thomson of the Clean Coalition followed by discussion about the significance for the Clean Energy 805 campaign. 

 

 

Events

CLEAN ENERGY 805 – THE PATH TO 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY

Southern California Edison (SCE) is proposing to develop renewable energy and energy storage projects in Southern Santa Barbara County and Ventura County.

Benefits to Property Owners Businesses, local governments, and property managers have the opportunity to host solar or energy storage projects through an upcoming solicitation ( a Request for Proposals or RFP) from SCE.  Property owners that become sites for energy generation and/or storage can significantly reduce energy costs, while also earning additional revenue by selling energy and other related services directly to the utility.  The CleanEnergy805.org website is one of two places for interested people to sign up. The other is the SCE MG RFP website.  The RFP will open in a week or so and close toward the end of summer.

100% Renewable Energy is Our Climate Action Goal  More and more cities across the country are pledging. That becomes difficult here if SCE builds a 4th  transmission line to import dirty energy. We need enough acceptable proposals to produce a total of 308 MW of clean energy (of which 95 MW must be in the area around Goleta).

Preventing Construction of the 4th Transmission Line  We need enough substantial local energy projects, called Distributed Energy Resources or DER, because of these 3 reasons:

  • It is more costly for the future electricity needs of our region to build a new line than to develop DER.
  • The 4th line forces us to take SCE’s fossil fuel energy from big, less cost-effective sources coming over long wires that lose efficiency with every mile traveled.
  • The long transmission lines are vulnerable to storms, fires and earthquakes.

If we want to achieve 100% renewable energy, we cannot allow a 4th line. If we want resilience in natural disasters, we need local energy generation. If we don’t want people here to be saddled with unnecessarily high energy costs for the next 20 years, we need enough DER to keep SCE from investing in any new fossil fuel infrastructure including transmission lines from out of the area.

Preference for “Disadvantaged Communities” or DAC  There are three DAC areas in the SCE RFP where it is a priority to encourage proposals–two in Oxnard and one in West Ventura. Here is CalEnviroScreen 3 map showing the boundaries of the three DACs.

Intersection with the Imminent Development of Community Microgrids  Accepted projects may become the cornerstones of future Community Microgrids to localize energy generation. We are learning about Community Microgrids. Here is a great webinar.

Property Owners Need to be Awakened  The ultimate Clean Energy 805 goal can be to get SCE to pay for all the DER that local property owners can propose! The limiting factor is property owners.  So, if you see a large roof or parking lot or otherwise unusable space that looks like it would be good for solar panels, find the property owner and give them the CleanEnergy805.org website. Then revisit to see if they are investigating how they can be a project site. Ask them to come to the workshop soon to be announced to meet energy developers. They get announcements about workshops by signing up here.

Property owners must be alerted to this first time ever opportunity to get savings and be part of our clean energy future.

Share the news about Clean Energy 805.

Events

CLEAN POWER ALLIANCE

Ventura County and its cities jumped ahead on January 31 as the Board changed its name from Los Angeles Community Choice Energy (LACCE) to The Clean Power Alliance of Southern California.  They are working on a new logo and still fighting the threat of a freeze from the CA Public Utilities Commission. The Alliance did flip the switch last week to deliver power with 60% renewable energy to 2000 LA County facilities. They will then add the buildings of member cities and their business and commercial accounts. Residential customers in the member cities will be welcomed in phase three toward the end of the year or early 2018.

Three Ventura County jurisdictions are on the Alliance Board of Directors:

  • Supervisor Linda Parks representing unincorporated area
  • Michelle Ellison of Ojai, alternate for Mayor Johnston
  • Mayor Claudia Bill De La Pena of Thousand Oaks

City of Oxnard held an excellent public meeting and will do their final vote on February 6. Finalization is in the works for Camarillo, Moorpark and Simi Valley.

The following cities have not yet put it on their council agendas. Check the events on our Facebook page for when this item will come to each council for a vote. Consider attending with some words of encouragement:

  • Santa Paula
  • Fillmore
  • Port Hueneme
  • Ventura

If you live in one of the above four cities and don’t want a choice for cleaner, cheaper electricity than Edison’s, let your Mayor and city council members know it is time to join the Alliance.

Read more from City of Ojai’s report.

Events

January Meeting: Local Investment in Energy Generation

Thursday January 11, 6:30 – 8:30, Unitarian-Universalist Church of Ventura, 5456 Ralston, Ventura

RSVP and SHARE HERE.

What is our region’s potential for Distributed Energy Resources (called DER)? 

Will property owners and developers create our clean energy future  with solar energy and battery storage or will SoCal Edison carry through with a fourth transmission line from the Santa Clarita to Moorpark substations bringing increasingly clean energy, but slower than we want?

This month we dive into how to get more local generation of renewable energy. Project developers are eager. The challenge is having property owners interested in hosting  arrays of solar plus batteries. If you know someone who wants to learn more about making money producing clean energy, invite them!
We’ll be talking about
  • Which cities are joining Los Angeles Community Choice Energy?
  • Will the CPUC delay participation?
  • Is So Cal Edison’s plan for a 4th incoming power line from Santa Clarita needed?
  • Will Ventura County get the grant to speed up residential energy efficiency?
  • Will there be enough proposals in So Cal Edison’s upcoming RFP for local energy generation and storage?
  • Last but not least, is Ventura County ready to pledge to achieve 100% renewable energy by

2030 like Santa Barbara, Goleta and San Francisco

2035 like San Diego and neighboring cities?

 
Ventura County Climate Hub is a grassroots, non-partisan local affiliate of 350. org engaged as a coalition in global warming solutions.
 
Rear (south) parking lot by back door to Fellowship Hall.
CONTACT Jan Dietrick, 805-746-5365, email ventura at citizensclimatelobby.org
##

Events

So Cal Edison Reactivates Proposal for Fourth Line Into Moorpark Substation

So Cal Edison held a Moorpark-Goleta Market Awareness Conference on Wed 12/20 in Ventura Here are slides of the presentation and the MP3 recording​ about their plan to release a Request for Proposals (RFP) for companies to propose supplying 76 MW of renewable energy in our region in place of the Puente Power Plant and also 95 MW probably in the Goleta area to help make the end of the grid super-reliable. Sounds great, right? Until you listen to the whole story!

They also presented plans to meet 232 MW LCR (Local Capacity Requirements) with a new ‘4TH’ POWER LINE on towers from Santa Clarita on the east side of I-5 to Moorpark substations.  They did not give reassuring answers about vulnerability of that line to wildfire or earthquake. In fact the Ventura County Board of Supervisors opposed this plan clear back in 2015 demanding that it be put underground or preferably support local development of renewable energy so we do not have to import energy from who knows where. The county lost and the CPUC prevailed in support of Edison’s proposal. Edison makes money when it distributes energy; hence it is obvious why it would rather carry it long distances rather than buy from local companies.
CA Independent System Operators (CAISO) is studying Edison’s proposal for this 4th line. A stakeholder call will provide the results of preliminary analysis. Presentation material will be available on the ISO website by end of day January 9 http://www.caiso.com/planning/Pages/TransmissionPlanning/2017-2018TransmissionPlanningProcess.aspx.

Submit comments on the preliminary analysis to regionaltransmission@caiso.com by close of business January 18.

CAISO Stakeholder Call Details

: Thursday, January 11, 2018

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (Pacific Time)

Audio connection instructions will be available after connecting to the web conference

 

  • Where do we really want our energy to come from?
  • What kinds of projects would be best to build in our region if we could be allowed to propose for more of the total MW we are projected to need?
  • How do different potential projects add up to the needed 308 MW?
  • What can we do so that these Requests for Proposals by So Cal Edison result in a resilient, 100% renewable, cost-effective regional grid?

Here’s a schematic for the total amount needed of 308 MW for our region in 2020 when Mandalay and Ormond Beach are shut down.

The Fourth Power Line will be one of the topics of the next meeting of the VC Climate Hub on Thursday January 11, 6:30 at the UU Church in Ventura.  We’ll invite people who can help us get a realistic idea of our region’s potential for Distributed Energy Resources.

Events

Help Stop the CPUC Attack on Community Energy by Jan 4th!

Wonderful progress in the past week has seen Ventura County, Oxnard, Ojai and Thousand Oaks joining Los Angeles Community Choice Energy and more cities getting it on their council agendas for January. We want to thank Supervisor Linda Parks and Oxnard Mayor Pro Tem Carmen Ramirez for their leadership.

Ventura County’s interest to join with potentially 80 other cities in LA County may have prompted another roadblock to Community Choice Energy.  As soon as momentum accelerates, friends of the monopoly utilities find a new tactic to destroy our development of local energy democracy.

This time it is the CPUC trying to slow down or stop Community Choice Energy programs across the state.

On Dec. 8th, the Commission put forth a Draft Resolution (E-4907) for a vote on at a January 11th and they are allowing comments about it only until January 4th (was Dec. 29th).  It is really bad news for LACCE, City of San Luis Obispo, the desert cities, and other CCEs that are ready to or plan to launch or expand their programs.

The CPUC proposes a lengthy review process that is not needed and further delays to assure “resource adequacy”. It is a ruse. There are simple solutions for short term resource adequacy that have been used by the private sector and should be available to our CCE’s. The resolution, if passed, will likely delay any new programs until 2020.  The delay may also unnecessarily jeopardize getting funding during the initial launch period, making CCE’s less financially feasible.

 

PickerGrinchCPUC

                                                                    Image from LCEA

The timing over the holidays makes it difficult to respond effectively, another reason the comment period should be extended and the vote delayed.

We ask you to review the talking points and see the way to submit your comments to the Commissioners via the Public Advisor  public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov (this sample letter format may be helpful).  It is not necessary at all to speak to all the talking points below.  Pick one and send your quick response, preferably focusing on the process or legal issues, as those are more likely to be listened. Please copy other staff members involved with this unnecessary, unhelpful, illegal policy:  edtariffunit@cpuc.ca.govSuzanne.Casazza@cpuc.ca.govJonathan.Tom@cpuc.ca.gov

We’ve worked hard to alert our elected to the timely opportunity to join LACCE and now we must submit comments, write letters to the editor, and encourage our local elected officials to request ex parte meetings with the CPUC Commissioners to go to San Francisco and defend their decisions to participate in a Community Choice Energy program.

State Lawmakers can put pressure on the CPUC: Senators Hannah-Beth Jackson and Henry Stern and Assemblymembers Monique Limon and Jacqui Irwin. You can use this template for legislators Action Alert put out by Clean Power Exchange.

CPUC Resolution E-4907

Talking Points (from Clean Power Exchange)

Sample Letter  We can add the particulars of how this will affect Ventura County and your city.

CPUC Commissioners Contact Information  (click here for contact info)

Also FAX James Ralph, Chief of Policy and Legal Affairs for President Picker at  415-703-1903 . A FAX may carry some weight, especially from organizations on letterhead.  If you don’t have FAX, email pdf to vcclimatehub@gmail.com and we will FAX it. 

The deadline for comments is Thursday January 4th (extended from Dec 29th) – let’s not let the bad timing keep us from participating! To take action, Call: 1-866-849-8390. Email public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov and cc edtariffunit@cpuc.ca.govSuzanne.Casazza@cpuc.ca.govJonathan.Tom@cpuc.ca.gov .

Short Cut, if you want to do something quick without diving into the details in the links above, SEND A LETTER TODAY telling Commissioners and members of the State legislature that Resolution E-4907 is an unlawful abuse and overreach of the CPUC’s regulatory authority and should be retracted. And plan to come join the protest rally at the CPUC in San Francisco the morning of January 11, details TBD.  Link to Action Network form:  https://actionnetwork.org/letters/dont-let-cpuc-freeze-community-choice?source=direct_link&

Quick script: “I am writing to request that agenda item #16190 (Energy Division Draft Resolution E-4907) be held or removed from the January 11th, 2018, agenda to allow adequate time for review. Commissioners should vote no on this resolution, as it imposes substantial and unnecessary burdens on newly forming Community Choice agencies.”

Commission plans to vote:  (if we don’t get a delay) on Thursday, January 11  in San Francisco (more info coming soon). If you will be there, attend the rally that morning on the steps of the CPUC building.

Events

Community Choice Energy-Next Step for Environmental Justice AND Economic Development

Community Choice Energy presents the opportunity to be part of the transition to energy independence faster than what we can expect from staying with the monopoly electricity provider SoCal Edison. Oxnard in particular has faced an endless stream of environmental injustices. With what looks like a victory against the Puente Power Plant the opportunity now arises for a definitive shift away from noxious fossil fuels to clean energy.

 

The time to act is now for Ventura County and its ten cities, especially Oxnard, to move ahead to join a Community Choice Energy Aggregation. The quickest option that promises greater immediate competitiveness with SoCalEdison is to join Los Angeles County Community Choice Energy or LACCE. Oxnard being the largest user of electricity of any city cannot afford to lose out on the benefits of local control of clean, resilient, cost-effective energy development. The long-range forecast with SoCalEdison is higher rates and less ambition to develop local renewable energy.

 

By choosing to join LACCE, every resident will have a choice of 30%, 50%, or 100% renewable energy in their electricity mix. The time to join, at no cost whatsoever to a City, is by Dec. 27, with a ninety day trial period in which Oxnard can opt-out with no consequence.

 

The feasibility of local jurisdictions competing with SoCalEdison is proven. Several cities and counties across the state already maintain successful CCE’s, including: Marin, Sonoma, San Francisco, San Mateo County, and Lancaster. The neighboring cities of Calabasas and Agoura Hills have signed up with LACCE. Every CCE in the state has been found to be a feasible, positive choice. The drop-out rate among consumers community choice energy in those areas is less than 9%, with the majority of consumers enjoying cheaper energy and the comfort of knowing that they are contributing to a clean energy revolution that also stimulates local clean energy generation projects and energy efficiency programs that mean good local jobs.

 

If you want your community owning it’s own locally controlled energy program, please speak to your elected officials to ask that joining a CCE, such as LACCE, become an agenda item for discussion at your city council. Recommend to your city manager to study the options, and urge your county supervisor to support Community Choice Energy.

 

Arrive early to your City Council meeting and fill out a speaker card and give it to the Clerk at the front. You will be given anywhere from 1, 2 or 3 minutes to speak depending on how many speakers are signed in. Make it personal. Speak from the heart. We want local control of our energy with the chance for local projects and jobs that help us get off of fossil fuels.

Events