APPA News

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
Posted December 2, 2019

The Board of Directors of California community choice aggregator Marin Clean Energy (MCE) on Nov. 21 voted to commit $3 million to support resiliency projects for its customers.

MCE said this major new investment is focused on funding local resiliency efforts in MCE’s four-county service area, specifically for critical facilities and sites serving vulnerable customers.

MCE has already begun extensive outreach with offices of emergency services, public health officials, and other community partners to identify the most critical sites and vulnerable communities to target for initial investments.

The $3 million commitment is in addition to MCE’s current more than $2 million Local Renewable Energy and Program Development Fund, which has supported creation of 12 local renewable projects in MCE’s service area. These projects are now delivering approximately 25 megawatts of energy capacity.

MCE noted that since the first Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) in June 2019, it has been developing a comprehensive approach to supporting resiliency for communities and vulnerable customers.

There have been six PSPS events this year that have impacted approximately 240,000 MCE customer accounts.

Other MCE resiliency initiatives underway include:

* Hardening MCE’s San Rafael office to add energy storage and islanding capability onto its existing 80-kW solar array and 10 public charging ports, allowing MCE’s site to function during power shutoffs, and provide electric vehicle charging and power to the building for public charging or other community needs;
* Adjusting MCE’s current rooftop solar program to include solar and storage incentives for existing solar customers; and
* Identifying additional long-term investments MCE can make to reduce strain on the grid, including resource adequacy, demand reduction, and load shifting.

To oversee MCE’s resiliency and distributed energy program, Jim Baak recently joined MCE as Manager of Distributed Energy Resources. Baak has more than 30 years of experience in the energy industry, including 14 years working in renewable energy, distributed energy resources, and behind-the-meter energy storage. Prior to MCE, Baak worked for STEM, and for public power agencies in North Carolina and Alameda, Calif.

Two more cities join MCE

Meanwhile, on Nov. 21, MCE’s Board of Directors approved membership for the Cities of Vallejo and Pleasant Hill, setting the stage for MCE to offer a choice of electricity providers and clean electricity service to these communities.

Vallejo and Pleasant Hill join MCE’s existing 34 member communities in Solano, Marin, Napa, and Contra Costa Counties who are already participating in California’s first and longest-serving CCA program.

Association offers new CCA program membership category

The American Public Power Association has initiated a new category of membership for community choice aggregation programs.