Powering Strong Communities

Calif. CCAs sign 6,000 MW in long-term contracts with new-build clean energy resources

The California Community Choice Association on Nov. 12 reported that community choice aggregators in the state have to date signed long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) for more than 6,000 megawatts (MW) with new-build clean energy resources.

The total includes almost 5,000 MW in executed renewable energy PPAs, an increase of 1,700 MW compared to a year ago, and more than 1,000 MW in battery energy storage contracts, a four-fold increase over last year.

“The increasing volumes reflect the important leadership position CCAs hold as the main drivers of new clean energy procurement in California,” the association said in a news release.

Each November for the last three years, CalCCA has provided a snapshot of the progress CCAs are making in securing new-build clean energy resources through long-term PPAs. This year’s update shows CCAs have added in a single year a record-setting amount of clean energy to their portfolios while bringing more diverse resources to the mix.

CCAs have signed in the last year renewable energy and energy storage PPAs totaling 2,600 MW, bringing the total to more than 6,000 MW in new-build solar, wind, biogas, energy storage, and, for the first time, geothermal energy. The geothermal power plant, slated for completion in 2021, will be the first new geothermal facility built in the California Independent System Operator balancing area in 30 years.

Meanwhile, CalCCA said that energy storage is becoming an ever more important reliability resource. CCAs signed long-term battery energy storage contracts totaling 1,072 MW/3,847 megawatt-hours (MWh), quadruple the amount CCAs had at this time last year. About 72% of the total is co-located with solar generation facilities that will charge the batteries.

Seventeen CCAs have collectively signed 117 long-term PPAs with new solar, wind, biogas, geothermal, and energy storage facilities, up from 76 contracts in November 2019 – a 54% increase. The contract terms range from 10 to 25 years, or 17 years on average across all contracts.

The 17 CCAs included in the PPA tally are Apple Valley Choice Energy, Central Coast Community Energy, Clean Power Alliance, CleanPowerSF, East Bay Community Energy, Lancaster Choice Energy, MCE, Peninsula Clean Energy, Pico Rivera Innovative Municipal Energy, Pioneer Community Energy, Rancho Mirage Energy Authority, Redwood Coast Energy Authority, San Jacinto Power, San Jose Clean Energy, Silicon Valley Clean Energy, Sonoma Clean Power, and Valley Clean Energy.

The clean energy projects are located in 21 California counties -- up from 19 in 2019 -- from Humboldt County in the north to Riverside County in the south, as well as in the states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada. Several projects are already operating, while others will become operational between 2020 and 2023.

With several new CCA requests for offers currently underway and planned, the list of CCA long-term clean energy contracts is set to grow considerably in the coming year.

CalCCA noted that a group of CCAs recently issued a joint RFO for 500 MW of long duration storage with a minimum of eight hours of discharge duration.

As of 2020, CCAs serve over 50 gigawatt-hours of load, representing 28% of the load in the service areas of California’s three main investor-owned utilities -- Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison.

Based on planned CCA launches over the next two years, CalCCA forecasts CCAs will serve 36% of IOU load in 2022.

Launched in 2016, CalCCA represents California’s community choice electricity providers before the state Legislature and at regulatory agencies.

There are currently 23 operational CCA programs in California serving approximately 10 million customers.

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