Monterey, CA. April 22, 2021 – Central Coast Community Energy (3CE) today announced it has short-listed seven local generation project proposals in response to releasing a January Request for Proposals (RFP) for the development of up to 100MW of renewable generation and/or up to 110MW of battery storage, the second of two local generation RFPs issued since 3CE became the region’s primary electricity generation provider in 2018. Proposal finalists represent solar generation as well as storage development projects across Monterey, San Benito, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz Counties. Separately, the agency successfully helps build an additional 60MW of local battery storage at the Cal Flats solar array in Monterey County.
3CE has also made gains on large-scale renewable generation, having contracted for more than 600MW of solar generation. The majority of this energy will come from new facilities that include battery storage, incrementally adding to the State’s renewable resources while contributing to improved grid reliability and stability; two areas of critical importance for California. 3CE has also secured additional long-term power purchase agreements for California renewable geothermal energy.
Evaluating the cost effectiveness of smaller scale local generation with large-scale projects is part of 3CE’s long-term power procurement strategy, an innovative pathway which will see the industry leader meet 100% of its power needs through clean and renewable energy by 2030, 15 years ahead of the state’s goals.
“Just as CCAs have pioneered a model for supplying electricity through clean energy innovations and community benefits, 3CE is leading the way for accelerated progress and greater impact through our procurement strategy,” shares 3CE CEO, Tom Habashi. “As we continue meeting and exceeding agency goals for GHG reduction and local economic stimulation, we must also continue adjusting to energy market conditions which change on an almost daily basis. Above all, we must balance all opportunities, local and regional projects so we can deliver economic and environmental benefits to all of our customers. Large and small, agricultural, commercial, and residential.”
Though supplying reliable and affordable electricity that reduces GHG emissions is an over-arching goal that drives much of 3CE’s work, innovations, and funding from 3CE Energy Programs provide additional gains toward agency goals and moreover, significant local benefits for customers. Since launching in 2018, 3CE has partnered with other regional and statewide organizations to make more than $24 million accessible for customers to support them with the transition from fossil fuel resources to clean energy solutions. From electrifying new affordable and market rate housing units to funding for electric vehicles and home charging stations that includes related electric panel updates, and from electrification grants for Ag customers to proposed battery programs for residents, 3CE Energy Programs help to round out utility-scale procurement and also enlist the services of local businesses.
Being proponents of important regulatory and legislative initiatives shows yet another arena where 3CE staff is working to advance new opportunities for local generation and storage. Most recently, the agency voiced support for the MICROGRID Act proposed by Congressman Jimmy Panetta and maintains the support of ongoing legislation and regulations that will incentivize battery storage, a crucial component to finding grid stability during a time when the growth of solar puts so much energy on the grid during typical mid-day peak demand that an early evening shortfall of energy occurs when solar is less productive. This daily cycle, an abundance of solar followed by a sudden drop, is a significant factor as the state’s regulatory bodies, investor-owned utilities and CCAs like 3CE all work toward the best long-term solution.
Looking ahead, 3CE is considering energy program concepts for the 2021-2022 fiscal year that will advance the use of battery storage for both customers who produce energy on-site and for those who don’t, as well as an RFP for distributed energy which would incentivize microgrids and could bolster the benefits of energy storage as well as both existing residential and commercial solar installations. Distributed energy and battery storage would both improve local energy resiliency and grid stability for California.
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About Central Coast Community Energy
Central Coast Community Energy (3CE) is a public agency that sources competitively priced electricity from clean and renewable energy resources. 3CE is locally controlled and governed by board members who represent each community served by the agency. Revenue generated by 3CE stays local and helps keep electricity rates affordable for customers, while also funding innovative energy programs designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate economic development. 3CE serves more than 400,000 customers throughout the Central Coast, including residential, commercial and agricultural customers in communities located within Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more at 3CEnergy.org and on social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @3CEnergy.
Central Coast Community Energy | 3CE
Senior Energy Media Specialist
Quote related to the MICROGRID Act: