CCA-JPA May Reduce Cost of Energy and Increase Green Energy Production
Santa Cruz County has been awarded a grant from the California Strategic Growth Council on behalf of all 21 counties and cities in the Monterey Central Coast Region. The grant will fund a technical study to analyze the environmental and economic elements involved with creating a regional Community Choice Aggregation-Joint Powers Authority (CCA-JPA).
Enabled by California legislation in 2001 (AB 117), CCA allows cities and counties to pool their residential, business, and municipal electricity loads to purchase and generate power. The distribution system and customer service would be retained by PG&E.
This is the only multi-county project of its kind in California and one of the largest CCA projects nationally. “This project has tremendous potential for our region in terms of contributing to the community’s economic vitality, while providing significant environmental benefit,” said Santa Cruz County Supervisor Bruce McPherson, whose office has led the CCA effort. “This could really help our region become more self-sufficient while giving us local control over the type and cost of the energy we use.”
The Monterey Bay Community Power partners have developed climate action plans that indicate 18 percent of the region’s greenhouse gas comes from electricity consumption. Substantially increasing renewably generated electricity usage and lowering the demand for energy consumption with increased efficiency have the most potential for significant and relatively quick greenhouse gas reduction. Diverting ratepayer revenues to a local energy agency can provide tremendous benefit to the regional economy and create local green energy jobs.
According to Gine Johnson, Analyst to Supervisor McPherson, PG&E currently limits the amount they credit to individual local energy production to 74 percent of energy usage. The CCA-JPA will be able to buy all excess energy from local sources increasing the green energy percentage of local electrical energy usage to 50 percent or more. This will also encourage local investment in building energy producing solar, wind, and even biomass technologies.
California has two regions that have formed Community Choice Aggregation agencies. Marin Energy Authority now serves more than 80% of both residential and commercial customers and charges the same rates as PG&E. Sonoma County has just started providing energy to customers at 5% below PG&E rates.
For more information regarding the project and its supporters, please visit the website at www.montereybaycca.org.