What are community choice aggregations, or CCAs, and why are they suddenly playing such a huge role in wholesale power markets? Since the first one launched in California in 2010, it was followed by Sonoma Clean Power in 2014, Lancaster Choice Energy in 2015, and both CleanPowerSF and Peninsula Clean Energy in San Mateo County in 2016. And now, in 2018, CCAs have taken a major share of power procurement in California, which is growing rapidly: There are now 16 CCAs across 18 counties in California, which currently provide about 12% of the state’s electricity, and by the middle of next year, they are expected to serve 40% of utility customers in California. They’re also spreading beyond California, to five other states, with another eight expected to launch in 2018 alone.
And while that’s great for local control of power procurement, it’s also causing concern: As customers have defected from investor owned utilities to CCAs in California, utility investment in large wind and solar plants in the states has crashed. And the state regulator is now worrying about whether future power procurement will be adequate, and whether CCAs will have sufficient oversight. But there is more to the story, and our guest in this episode is well equipped to address the many questions swirling around the role of CCAs in power markets, having been one of the people responsible for launching them!
Geek rating: 9
Guest: Samuel Golding, President of Community Choice Partners, is a technical consultant and political organizer who has been focused on the Community Choice Aggregation market for the past 8 years, primarily in California. He was previously the Managing Director of Local Power Inc. — the consultancy which created Community Choice — and also a Senior Energy Analyst at KEMA, Inc.. As a consultant, Samuel’s clients represent the diversity of stakeholders that comprise the Community Choice industry, and have included operational Community Choice agencies, public power utilities, some of the largest municipal governments in California, labor unions, and social and environmental justice nonprofits. As a political organizer, he was instrumental in defeating Pacific Gas & Electric’s anti-CCA ballot initiative Proposition 16 in 2010, and since that time has served in a volunteer capacity on the Sierra Club California’s Energy and Climate Committee and the California Alliance for Community Energy.
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Recording date: August 25, 2018
Air date: October 3, 2018