Archive for October 2015

Nexamp installs Northeast’s largest community solar project at ski resort

Nexamp announced the completion of construction at its first community solar project, the 2.3-MW “Nexamp Peak” at Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, the largest ski and snowboard resort in southern New England. Covering 12 acres near the base of the resort, the project is the largest community solar project in the northeast. Local community solar subscribers joined officials from Jiminy Peak and Nexamp for a ceremonial “flip the switch” celebration at Nexamp Peak. Commercial operation of the project will commence in the coming weeks, upon final approval from the local electric utility.

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Combined with Jiminy Peak’s existing 1.5-MW wind turbine, 75-kW cogeneration unit, and extensive conservation efforts, this new solar array will enable the resort to offset 90% of its energy needs from local renewable resources, making Jiminy Peak one of the greenest four-season resorts in the nation.

“It’s important to us that we operate our resort as good neighbors and good stewards of the environment, which is why we’ve worked so hard to leverage as many renewable energy sources as we can,” said Tyler Fairbank, CEO of Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort. “We were thrilled to partner with Nexamp on both of these fronts to add solar energy into the mix in such a way that the neighboring community can benefit from the facility, too.”

Over 100 local residents will directly benefit from the project through Nexamp’s Solarize My Bill community solar program. Participants will pay a 15% discounted rate for the value of the electricity generated by their share of the Nexamp-owned solar project, which will be applied directly to their existing electricity bills.

“This project marks a tremendous milestone for us,” said Zaid Ashai, CEO of Nexamp. “Massachusetts has an opportunity to be a national leader in solar energy, and its residents and businesses are more aware than ever of the potential for clean solar power to lower their utility costs. Nexamp’s fully-integrated project development capabilities, combined with our Solarize My Bill community solar program’s unparalleled savings, ensure that we will remain a key piece of the energy transformation within the Commonwealth and beyond.”

CA Digest CALIFORNIA Roundup, October 2015

A Message from LEAN’s Executive Director

Over the past year, CCA has evolved from an anomaly to an almost-standard item on the agendas of many local governments in California. Many coastal counties and several inland communities are in some stage of inquiry, and several are in pre-launch. Case in point, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors had the first reading of their CCA ordinance on October 20, putting them on pace to be the next operational CCA in California!

California’s state leadership has recognized CCA as a viable and important part of the state’s energy strategy. And yet, there remain inconsistent signals about where the state’s energy policy and infrastructure is headed– in ways that will affect CCA in the future. For example, California has made a commitment to new and better green technologies, but the CPUC continues to approve gas-fired central station generation and appears to support utility proposals that could hurt development of behind-the-meter energy resources. While the State says it’s committed to increasing distributed resources, it seems to be setting up a process to support massive investments in transmission and huge, utility-scale renewable projects that have significant environmental impacts.

Bigger and more centralized resources may be increasingly anachronistic and yet we will be saddled with their environmental and economic costs for many years to come. Although the state’s CCAs have and should continue to have different power supply strategies, a few things are constant: California CCAs are proving to be effective vehicles for new clean power development, energy conservation programs, and the integration of clean technology at the local level. And that’s a story we plan to tell the world as we head to the UN Conference on Climate in Paris next month.

With the passage of SB 350 and the Governor’s explicit commitment to leadership on climate and energy, we will have many opportunities to raise these issues and inconsistences–and we appreciate your support and participation in the process.
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We’re Headed to Paris!     

LEAN Energy US is among a small but mighty CCA delegation that is attending the UN Climate Talks in Paris this December. Thanks to the efforts of Tom and Jane Kelly and the support of the Sequoia Foundation, we’ll be sharing the results of California’s CCA leadership on Saturday, December 5thalongside colleagues from Columbia and India who will be sharing their stories of local energy innovation and climate solutions. It is a wonderful collaboration!
Watch our Facebook page for up-to-the-minute posts on the happenings in Paris. And check our website page for updates and downloads. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring clean energy CCA to the world stage!
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Update of CCA Program Developments in California
Earlier this week! The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors approved exploration of CCA program options for the county and its cities. The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to pass their CCA ordinance, putting Peninsula Clean Energy in the lead to be the next operational CCA in the State.
Other updates …   

City / County of San Francisco  
Announced a 6 week delay in program launch to deal with 50+ bids for power services exceeding SFPUC spending cap!
Los Angeles County  Technical Study underway; BKi is lead author; SouthBay Clean Power has secured supporting resolutions from 13 of the 16 Southbay COG communities.
City of San Diego  
Initial study published by Protect Our Communities Foundation shows viability in San Diego with one big regulatory challenge. Validation study planned shortly.
Mendocino County 
Has engaged LEAN to support community education effort, working on service RFP and program options with Lake and Humboldt Counties.
City of Davis / Yolo County  
Technical Study underway which will include an analysis of forming their own CCA or joinging Marin’s program; The Energy Authority is lead author.
Santa Barbara County / Ventura & San Luis Obispo 
SLO County voted to join with Santa Barbara County and Ventura County to develop tech study and allocated $50,000 to the work; load data authorizations and CCE advisory committee development underway.
Elsewhere…   
First New York program soon to launch with approximately 150,000 customers, expansion already occurring to neighboring counties in NY. Interest from some areas in UT is re-emerging.

 

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The Latest from California CCAs
MCE UPDATE–MCE’s CEO, Dawn Weisz, reports on MCE’s progress with various programs:

    Energy Efficiency–MCE has applied to the CPUC to be default services provider, which would allow MCE to roll in cheaper program components (now performed by PG&E) into more comprehensive building envelope projects, making MCE projects more cost-effective overall. MCE also wants to be the single point of contact for customers in order to improve market penetration and level of service. As part of this approach, MCE would offer services related to traditional energy efficiency improvements, storage, demand response, solar, water heating and water conservation measures. MCE is already working with the local water district to leverage the conservation programs of both agencies.

    Hiring for Local Energy Project Construction –MCE has a 50% local hire requirement for its 10.5 MW solar project in the City of Richmond. It is working with RichmondBUILD’s construction training program to get local residents work on the project. It has also coordinated efforts with the Laborer’s Union and iBEW. IBEW states it will not be able to provide job candidates for the project but the Laborer’s Union continues to collaborate with MCE on this.

    Integrated Resource Planning–MCE’s new 10-year integrated energy planincludes a supply portfolio that is 80% renewable and 95% greenhouse gas free by 2025! The County’s new climate action goal for 2030 would reduce greenhouse gas emissions to levels 30% below 1990 levels. Press release here…
For more information on MCE’s programs, please visitwww.mcecleanenery.com
LCE FULLY LAUNCHED! Lancaster Choice Energy’s program director, Barbara Boswell, reports that the City launched its citywide CCA program on October 1. Opt out rate so far is less than 5%, although Barbara warns that number could go up with additional customer notices. LCE has experienced some operational challenges in its interface with SCE but they are not expected to be ongoing or expensive to fix.

Kudos to LCE for some great regulatory victories this past week including the Energy Division’s rejection of SCE’s attempt (in an advice letter) to remove the PCIA exemption for CARE customers.  This sets important precedent for CCAs in Edison territory. See the SCE disposition letter here. We’ll have more to report about LCE’s regulatory victories next month.

For more info on LCE’s program please visit www.lancasterchoicenergy.com
SCP UPDATE –Kate Kelly, Director of Public Affairs and Marketing, reports on some key SCP updates:
  • SCP hosted the “Drive Electric” vehicle event with Tesla that was well-attended; SCP has stated its objective to support EV development in its service area as part of its resource strategy
  • SCP’s feed-in tariff is already 50% subscribed
  • SCP has started its “Recapture” campaign, designed to invite opt-out customers back to SCP

For more info on SCP’s programs, please visit www.sonomacleanpower.org

What Are “Back Office Operations,” Anyway?

Drake Welch, VP of Customer Care at Noble Energy Solutions, describes the nature of CCA “back office” services.
Back office functions are the components of a CCA’s operations that manage load and meter data, and interface with customers and the utility on billing issues and data requirements. These services include:

  • Electronic Data Communication, including EDI certification
  • Customer Information System (CIS)/ Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System that provides electronic data management and information
  • Billing Administration Services
  • Settlement Quality Meter Data Reporting Services
  • Customer Call Center Services
  • Qualified Reporting Entity (QRE) Services, including reports required by CAISO for firming and shaping delivered supplies and settlements
  • Reporting Services, including information about Aging, Call Center Statistics, Cash Receipts, Collections, Invoice Summary, Opt Up/Out Transactions, Snapshot, Unbilled 810s
For a copy of Drake’s slide presentation on this topic, please contact Alison Elliott at LEAN Energy, aelliott@leanenergyus.org.
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Regulatory and Legislative Happenings
A couple of CPUC updates this month…
  • PG&E 2016 ERRA Application (A. 15-06-001) MCE, SCP and LEAN filed briefs opposing PG&E’s proposal to increase the PCIA by 70%. The briefs proposed addressing ways to stabilize the PCIA rate with a sort of amortization account or in another phase of the proceeding. LEAN will be asking for your support on the opposition to this unprecedented rate increase during the decision-making process – more on this soon.
  • Long Term Procurement Planning Rulemaking (LTPP) (R. 13-12-010) – The ALJ in the proceeding published a proposed decision that would, among other things, require SCE and PG&E to incorporate CCA forecasted load losses in their demand forecasts. While this is already Commission policy, its application has been in question.
In Sacramento…
  • Governor Vetoes SB 660 (Leno)–In spite of overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle, Governor Brown vetoes SB 660, which would have required various reforms to CPUC decision-making. You can see the veto message here.
PCIA and CAM Decoded…
  • MCE has provided an overview of two regulatory “mechanisms” that are key for CCAs, which should help the rest of us understand these complicated issues and how they affect CCA operations and customers. This is an important document that outlines policy recommendations and regulatory fixes to these vexing issues. (view here)
If you would like more information or have ideas for collaboration, please contact Kim Malcolm  kmalcolm@leanenergyus.org

 
Thanks to our Members!
barn raising pix
We’d like to extend an enthusiastic thanks to all our members, whether you’re new on the scene or renewing your membership. Your support is critical to our success, and to the success of CCA everywhere.

Thanks to our newest members!

BKi Energy Services
San Mateo Community Choice
South Bay Clean Power
David McCoard 

What?

You say you’re not a member yet?! You can join through our website
 sign-up form, or contact LEAN’s Administrative Coordinator, AlisonElliott, at aelliott@leanenergyus.org

Click here for our membership flyer information.
You can see logos of all our current members on our website HOME page. Please take the time to peruse their websites–you may find some important contacts there.

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Our Consulting Clients 
In addition to providing information resources to all interested parties, LEAN Energy also provides consulting services to communities involved in CCA investigation and development.

Whether you’re just considering formation or further along, LEAN can help flatten your learning curve, provide critical guidance, and prep you for launch in record time. You’ll learn from those who’ve already done it successfully and from those who are well along the path.

Here are some of LEAN’s current CCA consulting clients:

Alameda County

Contra Costa County

San Mateo County
Silicon Valley CCE Partnership
Santa Cruz County/Monterey Bay        Community Power
City of Davis
Santa Barbara County
Mendocino County

Looking for help with CCA Formation? Call Us!   

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Odds and Ends
Educational Workshops Available

Would a workshop on CPUC regulation or an informational CCA webinar be useful for your community or working group? LEAN Energy can help!

To inquire or schedule a session, contact Alison Elliottaelliott@leanenergyus.org

 

 

Next Monthly Market Call
Friday, Nov. 13th, 10-11 am
Join us to hear about all the latest developments in the CA marketplace. Contact Alison Elliott for more information.aelliott@leanenergyus.org or register here.

Help Design our Market Calls
We’re asking for input and suggestions about what’s most important to YOU.

Please

click here

to take our very brief survey and make sure your voice is heard!
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Remember to follow us on facebook and Twitter for up-to-the-minute news flashes on the CCA marketplace.

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Acronym Cheat Sheet 

Are the acronyms and abbreviations stumping you? Here’s a quick glossary of some frequently used terms:

 

ALJ – Administrative Law Judge 

BoS – Board of Supervisors

CAISO – California Independent System Operator

CAM – Cost Allocation Mechanism

CIS – Customer Information System

CPUC – California Public Utility Commission

CRM – Customer Relationship Management

ERRA – Energy Resource Recovery Account

iBank – California Infrastructure & Economic Development BankIBEW – Int’l Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

ISO – Independent System Operator 

JPA – Joint Powers Authority

PCIA – Power Charge Indifference Adjustment

PPA – Power Purchase Agreement

QRE – Qualified Reporting Entity

REC – Renewable Energy Credit

T & D Rates – Transmission and Distribution Rates
TOU Rates – Time of Use Rates

CCA vs. CCE – What’s the difference? Nothing!
Community Choice Aggregation is sometimes called Community Choice Energy. The first is a legal term; the second is more descriptive and consumer-friendly.

LEAN Energy US
www.LEANenergyus.org / 415-888-8007

PO Box 961 / Mill Valley / CA  94941

 

 

SolSystems Analyses The Prospects For Bankable Opportunities Looking Up To 2017

Over the years, a noticeable industry trend in overabundance of interested capital has been chasing a shortage of bankable opportunities in the fragmented commercial and small utility-scale sector. While there are still a number of investors out there chasing the same projects, the pendulum is finally starting to swing; project supply is on the uptick.

A number of factors are leading to this shift: a maturing market with more origination channels, a greater number of state markets with acceptable project economics and volume, investors accepting lower returns, and more repeat deals among parties allow projects to be closed and deployed faster than ever. On top of it all is the race to December 31, 2016 and the effect that’s having on project supply.

Despite this uptick in project pipeline, not all deals will complete the race.

One key to ensuring that pipeline makes it to the finish line will be the amount of tax efficient capital ready and willing to get teams moving quickly to deploy capital and close deals. Developers, beware of the bottleneck with equipment suppliers, but also your financing partner’s ability to diligence projects and close in a timely manner.

To ensure that your project is prioritized over others in a financier’s queue, keep in mind that investors will prefer projects that are further along in the development cycle where the host has already agreed to lock into a financeable PPA, or the PPA is largely negotiated, if not already executed. Investors will also prioritize larger projects, or projects with other pipeline behind them. Some projects may also take precedence over others when there is a strategic reason to favor the host (e.g. a high profile brand), or if they have stronger return profiles.

When racing to the end of 2016, do not think of December 31 as your deadline. Give yourself an August 2016 cutoff date to get everything closed, and plan for blips that may lead to delays in either closing or construction. As always, the winners in solar project development are those who plan ahead, and plan for bumps along the way.

Sol Systems is a solar energy finance and investment firm. The company has facilitated financing for 333MW solar projects on behalf of Fortune 100 corporations, insurance companies, utilities, banks, family offices, and individuals. Sol Systems provides secure, sustainable investment opportunities to investor clients, and sophisticated project financing solutions to developers.

The company’s tailored financial services range from tax structured investments and project acquisition, to debt financing and SREC portfolio management. Inc. Magazine named Sol Systems on its annual Inc. 500 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies for a second consecutive year, ranking it No. 6 in the nation’s top solar companies in 2014.

Published here by the PVBUZZ team from the original article written and edited for publication on SolSystems by Sara Rafalson.

 

SunEdison Fails To Complete LatAm Takeover – Report

SeeNews Renewables — SunEdison Inc (NYSE:SUNE) is not going to complete its previously announced takeover of Latin American Power (LAP), The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported, citing officials from both parties.

SunEdison had failed to make a USD-400-million (EUR 355.9m) upfront cash payment as part of the acquisition, which is reportedly valued at USD 700 million in total. This has led to LAP walking away from the deal.

A SunEdison representative confirmed the outcome to WSJ, but blamed the failure to close the transaction on LAP owners, who, according to the spokesperson, did not meet certain conditions.

SunEdison agreed to buy LAP in May for an undisclosed sum. The business then held hydro and wind power projects in Peru and Chile. LAP is owned by Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual SA and Patria Investimentos.

The failure to wrap up the takeover comes after a series of not-so-happy developments for SunEdison. The company announced on Monday it plans to reduce its global workforce by roughly 15% in a bid to optimise business operations.

Since July, SunEdison has lost over two-thirds of its market cap.

About SeeNews Renewables
SeeNews Renewables provides business news and intelligence for the renewable energy industry worldwide

ITC Cliff

The potential loss of solar capacity is about equal to the total amount currently installed

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What will happen if the federal investment tax credit (ITC) so many solar developers depend on isn’t extended?

“If the investment tax credit is not extended, we see it as a disruption, not a death for the industry,” said Maddy Yozwiak, U.S. Power and RECs analyst  and co-author of the recently-released report, “How extending the investment tax credit would affect US solar build,” from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

“It will be a disruption that will take years to recover from, but the recovery is there. Long-term costs continue to improve,” Yozwiak added. “That doesn’t go away, even without the ITC.”

For now, the ITC is a 30% tax credit, but that is slated to change at the end of 2016, when it would drop to 10% for business investments in solar, and nothing for residential solar projects.

With that policy change, BNEF calculated that  the US can expect about 73 GW of solar PV to come online by year-end 2022. Build rates will fall from “an average of 8 GW per year from 2014-16 to 6 GW per year from 2017-22.”

The solar industry is lobbying hard for a five-year extension of the 30% business and personal ITC. If congress puts it in place by mid-2016, that would boost average build rates to about 10 GW per year from 2017-2022, the analysis concluded, amounting to an installed capacity of over 95 GW.

Given the success of the ITC and the value of solar, Yozwiak said, the real question “is whether it is worth causing the change after 2016, and havingdisruption at the scale we forecast it.”

Standard Solar CEO Tony Clifford agreed.

“There are going to be changes in 2017, likely very dramatic changes,”  Clifford said. “But we shouldn’t spend time arguing about how big this cliff will be. We should be working to make sure we don’t go over it.”

PG&E Imposes Customer Fees for Choosing Cleaner Electricity Service and Calls for Increase, Despite Having $1 Billion to Cover Fees

PG&E argues that Community Choice customers need to pay their “fair share”

 

San Rafael, CA – PG&E recently proposed that Marin Clean Energy (MCE) and Sonoma Clean Power customers should pay even more “exit” fees than they already do to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) every month. The proposed increase ranges from 44% to 127% depending upon customer class, and forces residential customers, including low-income, to pay the highest rates associated with these fees.

 

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) currently authorizes PG&E to impose exit fees on customers who choose to buy their electric generation from local providers like MCE or Sonoma Clean Power. Although these fees are always included in cost comparisons, they reduce the savings that MCE and Sonoma Clean Power customers receive and increase the cost of choosing a local provider.

 

PG&E’s exit fee, called the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (PCIA), is billed monthly, based on usage, and charged to customers who choose to buy energy from another provider. When a customer makes this choice, PG&E sells the excess electricity that they bought for that customer. Depending on the market conditions, PG&E may earn or lose money when they sell the power. PG&E has accumulated more than $1 billion from earning money on the market when selling this excess power. However, if PG&E doesn’t earn money through the sale of the excess power, the PCIA fee is applied. This covers any losses incurred by PG&E, forcing the customer to bear this burden and pay for energy that they will never use.

 

Along with their request to increase the exit fees, PG&E also requested to close the account with over $1 billion. When asked how the money would be used, PG&E indicated that it “simply goes away.”

 

“What PG&E is proposing is outrageous. They’ve collected $1 billion from selling excess power on the market but when they aren’t able to make a profit, they collect from our customers to avoid pulling funds from their billion dollar stockpile,” said Dawn Weisz, CEO of Marin Clean Energy. “Those profits should be applied against any losses, so that the homes, schools, non-profits and businesses in our communities are not burdened further.”

 

This year, MCE estimates that its customers will be forced to pay PG&E $19.3 million in PCIA fees. Should the CPUC approve PG&E’s proposed increase, MCE customers are projected to pay $30.6 million to PG&E, in 2016 alone, and residential customers, including low or fixed-income customers, will be forced to pay more than half of it ($16.3 million). PG&E is the only California utility to impose these fees on low-income customers.

 

MCE is protesting the proposed surge in the PCIA fee and calling attention to PG&E’s attempt to close the $1 billion account of ratepayer funds. The CPUC is scheduled to make its determination on the PCIA increase in December 2015.

 

Jamie Tuckey

MCE Director of Public Affairs

415.464.6024 | jtuckey@mcecleanenergy.org

mceCleanEnergy.org