East Bay Community Choice Aiming for Top Green Customer Ranking

By Published On: November 23, 2021

Next year, East Bay Community Energy expects to have the second highest number of customers in the nation served with 100% solar and wind power, it announced a week after the Global Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland.

Seven of 14 Bay Area cities served by the community energy provider will power their municipal loads and most businesses and customers with California-based renewable resources exclusively. The estimated 150,000 customers could place EBCE in second place, putting it neck and neck with XCEL, for the highest number of green power utility customers, according to a National Renewable Energy Laboratory study released last month. Portland General Electric is in first place, with 253,129 customers served with 100% renewables as of December 2020.

The cities of Albany, Dublin, Hayward, and Pleasanton are transitioning customers to EBCE’s renewable supply option in January. Berkeley and San Leandro will follow suit, with most of their residential customers provided all-California renewables in March and commercial customers in October. The City of Piedmont chose Renewable 100 as the default service for its residents when EBCE launched in 2018.

Last year, the Dublin City Council adopted the Climate Action Plan 2030 and Beyond to guide the city “toward a greener future and help us reach carbon neutrality by 2045,” said Dublin Mayor Melissa Hernandez.

“Cleaner, renewable power is a vital part of all of our efforts to mitigate the worst effects of climate change,” said Albany City Councilmember Aaron Tiedemann. “We may be a small part of the solution to a global problem, but this change represents a big step for our community.”

Not all customers in the seven East Bay cities will be switched to the pure renewable option. Some are expected to opt out, while others will continue to be served by direct access providers. Yet others on state and federal rate assistance programs or Medical Baseline programs won’t be included either. The latter two groups of customers will continue being supplied by 40% renewables at a cost that’s 1 cent per kilowatt hour less than Pacific Gas & Electric rates.

The all-renewable supply is 1 cent per kWh more than PG&E rates, adding about $4.00 to $5.00 a month to utility bills. But the increase depends on the customer’s monthly electricity usage.

The approximately 150,000 switching to all solar and wind power represents about one-fourth of East Bay’s 635,000 customers.

EBCE is striving to buy 100% fossil-free power for all of its customers by 2030.

Solar and wind supply contracts

The renewable supply is coming from long-term contracts, including one with the new 57.5 megawatt Scott Haggerty Wind Energy Center in Livermore and the 112 MW Golden Fields Solar project in Rosamond. “These are foundational to supplying Renewable 100, but we have other contracts in place for California wind and solar that will supplement them,” said Dan Lieberman, EBCE spokesperson.

Expected to come online in January are the 56 MW Idemitsu Renewable’s Tulare Solar Project in Fresno and 10 MW of solar plus 40 MWh of storage from a Convergent Energy & Power facility in Kings County. A Terra-Gen 47 MW solar project, which includes 188 MWh of storage, in Kern County is projected to be operating in June.

Other contracted renewable projects expected to be operating by the end of next year are:

  • 30 MW of solar and 120 MW of storage from an EDP Renewables project in Fresno;
  • 80 MW of solar and 160 MW of storage from an AES Power project in Kern County; and
  • 100 MW of solar plus a yet unknown amount of virtual storage from Terra-Gen.

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