Chris Holden at CCA

Assm. Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) addresses the CalCCA annual meeting in Redondo Beach. 

Community choice aggregators have a "significant task" in meeting renewables portfolio standard procurement shortfalls for 2020, a key state legislator said Nov. 6. But CCAs questioned whether the projected shortfalls are accurate.

Assm. Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) kicked off the CCAs' annual meeting in Redondo Beach by urging a quick solution to address a renewables procurement shortfall of 10,518 GWh for 2020, citing the findings in a new state report.

"The Legislature is looking forward to learning how the CCAs plan to address the significant deficiency, consistent with the three principles of reliability, affordability and a green grid," Holden, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Utilities, said in front of nearly 500 attendees at the annual meeting of the California Community Choice Association.

The RPS shortfall figures were included in the 2019 Renewables Portfolio Standard Annual Report from the California Public Utilities Commission.

The report said the state's three investor-owned utilities have procured the energy necessary to meet the state's 33-percent-by-2020 RPS, and CCAs have met their 29-percent annual RPS requirement.

Electric service providers, a category of power sellers that includes Constellation New Energy, Calpine Energy Solutions, 3 Phases Renewables, Shell Energy North America and others, have a 6,685-GWh shortfall for the 33-percent-by-2020 requirement based on their executed contracts.

Current load forecasts are that the CCAs' 33-percent RPS requirement in 2020 is about 24,329 GWh, the CPUC report says. The IOUs and small and multijurisdictional utilities like PacifiCorp and Bear Valley Electric Service are well-positioned to meet the 65-percent long-term contracting requirement, while 11 of the 27 CCAs that plan to serve load in 2021 have procured long-term contracts at or above the 65-percent requirement, according to the report.

"CCAs have every intention of complying with the RPS requirements and then some—as indicated in any number of state and local planning documents," CalCCA said in a Nov. 8 email to California Energy Markets. RPS compliance forecasts in the annual report are not an indication of where any load-serving entity intends to be at a future date, but are solely marks of progress in terms of executed contracts, it said. CCAs, many of which launched in the past year, are aggressively signing contracts now to meet their future needs, CalCCA said.

"CalCCA is working with the CPUC to ensure the data in the report is accurate and up to date," it said. "CalCCA has flagged several discrepancies and is working proactively with commission staff to ensure the Legislature has a complete and accurate view of the state of RPS progress."

During his speech, Holden noted that the state is facing a significant capacity shortage due to the retirement of the natural gas fleet and tightening generation supplies in the West, which he said are partly due to the "much-appreciated" retirement of coal-fired power plants.

To address the deficit, the CCAs must be "reliability partners" and come up with solutions quickly to address reliability, he said. CCAs must also offer competitive rates to avoid customers opting out.

"This is a symbiotic relationship between the success of the investor-owned utilities and the accomplishments of the community choice aggregators," Holden said. IOUs construct and maintain transmission infrastructure and distribution networks and handle billing for CCAs, while CCAs will take on the task of procuring energy to meet climate-change goals.

There will be further coverage of panel discussions and news from CalCCA's annual meeting in next week's issue of CEM.