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On June 21, 2016, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), the largest electrical utility in California and one of the largest in the country, announced that it would be shuttering its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, the last remaining nuclear facility in the state.
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PG&E news release, June 21, 2016, https://www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/newsdetails/index.page?title=20160621_in_step_with_californias_evolving_energy_policy_pge_labor_and_environmental_groups_announce_proposal_to_increase_energy_efficiency_renewables_and_storage_while_phasing_out_nuclear_power_over_the_next_decade.
Quoted in Al Weinrub, “Energy Democracy: Inside Californians’ Game-Changing Plan for Community-Owned Power,” Yes! Magazine, November 12, 2016, http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/energy-democracy-inside-californians-game-changing-plan-for-community-owned-power-20151112?can_id=7cfb313905fcca33103fce281be3f17e&source=email-energy-democracy-stopping-tpp-distributed-solar-and-building-a-peoples-climate-agenda&email_referrer=energy-democracy-stopping-tpp-distributed-solar-and-building-a-peoples-climate-agenda.
“Meet the Latest Disruption for Utilities: Community Power,” EnergyWire, June 9, 2016, http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060038517. An interactive map of Community Choice initiatives in California is available at the Clean Power Exchange website, http://cleanpowerexchange.org/california-community-choice.
Revenue bonds are repaid through revenues generated by public investment rather than through increased taxes.
According to the Santa Rosa Climate Action Plan, for example, the authors determined it would be extremely difficult for the city to meet its climate action goals unless it dealt directly with electricity consumption, and this was one of the rationales for the city council’s voting to join Sonoma Clean Power.
A net metering program charges customers who have behind-the-meter (rooftop) solar facilities for net energy they consume from the grid and credits them for any net energy they generate into the grid.
A feed-in tariff program incentivizes new renewable energy generation through standardized purchase contracts that guarantee a set payment for all generated electricity for a set duration of time (usually twenty years)
A shared renewables (usually solar) program allows for multiple investors and/or subscribers of a renewable energy–generating facility to share the benefits of the electricity generated as a way for renters and others unable to own their own solar system to reap the benefits of a solar generating facility.
Two days after the historic 2014 People’s Climate March in New York City calling for climate action, federal and California State officials released an 8,000-page proposal for private renewable energy development on 22.5 million acres of California desert. See Carolyn Lochhead, “Energy Plan Calls for Big Renewables Projects in State’s Deserts,” September 23, 2014, http://www.sfgate.com/green/article/Sprawling-solar-farms-OKd-near-desert-national-5775871.php.
There are many studies that reflect the technical potential of decentralized energy systems. For example, see U.S. Renewable Energy Technical Potentials, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, July 2012, http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy12osti/51946.pdf, and Bay Area Smart Energy 2020, March 2012, http://pacificenvironment.org/-1-87.
For detailed arguments about the benefits of decentralized energy systems, see Community Power: Decentralized Renewable Energy in California, http://communitypowerbook.com.
For an explanation of renewable energy certificates and their relationship to Community Choice, see What the Heck Is a REC?, http://www.localcleanenergy.org/what-the-heck-is-a-rec.
Paul Fenn, a founder of the Community Choice movement and author of California’s Community Choice law, was instrumental in drawing the distinction between Community Choice Version 1.0 and Version 2.0.
“Behind the meter” refers to the customer’s side of an electricity meter (as opposed to the grid side): electricity generated or demand reduced on-site, so it is not measured by the meter (for example, rooftop solar generation, energy efficiency upgrades, Energy Star appliances, and so forth).
Program by which loans to homeowners or business owners for solar installations or energy efficiency retrofits are paid back over time through their property tax bills.
Incentive program that allows customers to pay off the initial cost of a home solar installation or energy efficiency retrofit through their monthly utility bill.
California’s Distributed Energy Future, Fireside Chat, March 16, 2016, timestamp 12:37–13:38, http://www.greentechmedia.com/multimedia/view/fireside-chat: “One of the bigger shifts that we see at the policy level is, is people clamoring for these clean community aggregators.… These CCAs are really just a coup. It’s local governments making decisions to carve off a piece of the customer [base] and sort of in a forced collectivization.”
Ibid,, timestamp: 10:32–12:27.
California Alliance for Community Energy website, http://cacommunityenergy.org.
NYS Public Service Commission, Order Authorizing Framework for Community Choice Aggregation Opt-Out Program, April 21, 2016, http://documents.dps.ny.gov/public/Common/ViewDoc.aspx?DocRefId=%7B38EFD3B0-48BC-400E-9795-98CB5EFAE0FA%7D.
NYS Department of Public Service Staff Report and Proposal, Reforming the Energy Vision, April 24, 2014, http://www3.dps.ny.gov/W/PSCWeb.nsf/96f0fec0b45a3c6485257688006a701a/26be8a93967e604785257cc40066b91a/$FILE/ATTK0J3L.pdf/Reforming%20The%20Energy%20Vision%20(REV)%20REPORT%204.25.%2014.pdf.
California Distributed Energy, “Seize Opportunities in California’s Emerging DER Market,” September 2016, http://infocastinc.com/event/california-distributed-energy.
NYS Public Service Commission, Order Authorizing Framework, p. 49.
Ibid., p. 36.
Ibid., p. 37.
East Bay Clean Power Alliance, December 2014, http://www.localcleanenergy.org/files/EBCPA_DraftGoals%2Bpreamble_12-14-14-2.pdf.
Targets taken from scenario in Al Weinrub and Seth Baruch, East Bay Community Choice Energy: From Concept to Implementation, February 2014, http://www.localcleanenergy.org/files/Community%20Choice%20Energy%20in%20East%20Bay.pdf.
Includes minority-owned, women-owned, and disabled veteran–owned businesses, and other such enterprises
East Bay Clean Power Alliance, November 2015, http://www.localcleanenergy.org/files/EBCEProgramVision.pdf
- Democratizing Municipal-Scale Power
- Island Press/Center for Resource Economics
- Chapter 8