Community Choice Energy “Plus”

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CCE “Plus”– Local Power Approach to CCE and 100% Renewable Energy

The local power approach to CCE (also known as Community Choice Aggregation – CCA) is designed to set in place a clear and replicable path to achieving 100% renewable energy, based on the integration of CCA services –  bulk energy procurement plus local renewable energy development and the provision of customized energy efficiency services.

Most 100% renewable options currently offered in MA are based either on out-of-state resources that do not add new renewable energy (such as Texas wind RECs) or on “Local (New England) Class 1 REC” options. Class 1 RECs do provide “additionality” but not locally, and create the need for new transmission and back-up (typically gas-fired) power.  

Centralization of power is the problem, not the solution, to climate change and energy dependency. Subtractionality is the principle of reducing demand through the development of renewable resources locally in the communities that use them, and the strategic integration of energy efficiency products into CCA services. It is a bottom-up, rather than top-down, approach to sustainability.

How does it work?         The consumer is no longer the destination, but the source.

Renewable energy sources are sited at government facilities, residential and commercial customer premises. Energy is used on site, not sold to the utility (“behind the meter”), requiring no net-metering. Shared renewables and targeted efficiency products are financed by local government revenue bonds, grants and commercial investment/credit, to open up participation to all customers.

Advantages:

  • Deep and long-lasting greenhouse gas reductions

  • Integration of renewables with energy efficiency (EE) products (with the opportunity to go beyond state EE programs) and electric vehicles

  • Customer and community ownership

  • Low and middle income customer participation

  • Local economic benefits, such as jobs, local finance, business opportunities and community wealth retention

  • Long-term electricity rate reduction

  • Reduced physical dependence on fossil fuel markets and exposure to price volatility

  • Spreads to other communities because of the return-on-investment value

 

Steps for Municipalities

IMPLEMENTATION STEPS OBJECTIVES KEY IMPLEMENTERS TIME FRAME
Initial research Learn about CCA and the potential role it could play in your community Town administrator, staff.  
Authorize CCA Authorize development of an aggregation plan City Council or Town Meeting 1 month
Secure startup funds Secure or approve funds to pay for local public startup City Council or Town Meeting 3 months
Hire Chief Procurement Officer Hire a consultant to design, implement, and monitor aggregation plan Town administrator or energy planner 2 months
Develop Aggregation Plan with DOER Draft a plan with the input of MA DOER that meets the goals of the community and the requirements of DPU Chief Procurement Officer, Town Administrator or Energy Planner 2 months
Approve Aggregation Plan Approve plan to be filed with DPU City Council or Board of Selectmen 1 month
Submit Aggregation Plan to DPU Petition DPU to authorize the aggregation plan Chief Procurement Officer 6 months
Develop Local Power Plan Collect and analyze data and draft plan to develop local renewables and offer energy efficiency products, including funding sources, contracting strategy, and program design Chief Procurement Officer, Town Administrator or Energy Planner 5 months
Approve Local Power Plan Authorize plan to be implemented locally, including funding sources, contracting strategy and program design, City Council or Board of Selectmen 1 month
Issue RFP for competitive energy supplier Solicit competitive bids for the CCA energy supply contract Chief Procurement Officer 1 month
Issue RFPs for Local Power contractors Solicit competitive bids for the Local Power development and products Chief Procurement Officer 2 months
Execute contract with energy supplier Choose energy supplier for CCA Town Administrator or Energy Planner  
Execute contracts with Local Power contractors Choose contractors for Local Power development and products Town Administrator or Energy Planner  
Notify customers Inform customers about the CCA and the opt-out period Chief Procurement Officer 2 months
Begin Local Power marketing Inform customers about local renewable and energy efficiency product offerings Chief Procurement Officer 2 months
Begin automatic enrollment Enroll basic service customers who have not opted out Utility 1 month
Local Power development and product offerings Manage selected contractors in development of local renewables and installation of energy efficiency products Chief Procurement officer, staff of CCA 5-10 years

Precedents

Massachusetts CCEs that are served by brokers have almost exclusively focused on RECs or just rate discounts, but the Commonwealth’s first CCA, the Cape Light Compact, is a national leader in the development of both energy efficiency and local renewable development. Moreover, the vast majority of local agency-run CCE programs in California and New York CCEs are focused on energy localization rather than green supply, the best examples already online being Sonoma Clean Power, Lancaster Energy Choice, Marin Clean Energy, and CleanPowerSF, and many others getting underway, such as Peninsula Clean Energy, East Bay Community Energy (Alameda County), Redwood Coast Energy Authority (Humboldt County). Other large CCEs with a focus on local investment are preparing to launch in Los Angeles County and the City of San Diego.