CCA Resilience

The CEOs of three Bay Area CCAs participating in a joint request for proposals field questions at a recent press conference in Fremont. From left: Girish Balachandran, Silicon Valley Clean Energy; Jan Pepper, Peninsula Clean Energy; and Nick Chaset, East Bay Community Energy.

Four Bay Area energy agencies on Nov. 5 issued a joint request for proposals designed to address the needs of economically and medically vulnerable residents, as well as enable the agencies to meet their resource-adequacy needs.

East Bay Community Energy, Peninsula Clean Energy, Silicon Valley Power and Silicon Valley Clean Energy are soliciting 35.7 MW of solar plus battery storage to serve customers in Alameda, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, many of whom lost power during recent Pacific Gas & Electric public-safety power shut-offs.

"The goal of this procurement is to go out and buy at least 32.5 MW of distributed, behind-the-meter energy storage," Nick Chaset, CEO of East Bay Community Energy, said at a joint press conference in Fremont that included regional elected and appointed officials. It was held at Fremont Fire Station No. 6, which is touted as the first fire station in the United States with a solar microgrid.

The intent is to install solar and battery storage for homes and businesses to provide some 5,000 individual homes with resilience in PSPS situations and supply energy to the community choice aggregators and SVP, a nonprofit municipal utility, during normal operations. Chaset said the agencies are targeting low-income residents, including participants in the California Alternate Rates for Energy/Family Electric Rate Assistance programs; disadvantaged communities; and medically fragile residents through the RFP.

This is a "significant first step toward building the next generation of resilient clean-energy systems in the Bay Area," Chaset said.

"We're faced with tragic wildfires, problematic power shut-offs, an investor-owned utility that prioritizes large shareholders over the public, and a global climate crisis that impacts us locally," Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb said. Area officials need to establish additional policies and regulations to help prevent PSPS events and harden the local grid, which could include "creating new public power authorities," he said.

"This spate of power outages is simply unacceptable, particularly when you think about how many more are likely to come," Kalb added.

The RFP seeks 32.7 MW of distributed resource-adequacy capacity. The three CCAs are seeking to procure a minimum of 10 MW each, while Silicon Valley Power is seeking 2.7 MW. According to the RFP, these projects will have "a minimum capacity" on residential locations with the rest to be installed at either commercial or residential locations.

Candidate projects should provide generation that helps each agency meet its RA requirements and increases resilience. Potential technologies specified in the proposal include new battery energy storage, new combined solar plus storage, battery storage retrofits on existing photovoltaic systems, or existing battery energy storage systems with dispatchable capacity that is not contracted. The RFP also specifies that the system must be able to island from the grid to provide resilience to participating customers.

The CCAs and the municipal utility want a portion of the capacity to be on line by September 2020, with the remainder to be on line by either June or September 2021 in order to help them meet various state requirements. The deadline also coincides with the start of wildfire season.

Proposals are due Dec. 23, with the timeline calling for a final approval by the agencies' boards by April 2020.