#1 cleantech news, reviews, & analysis site in the world. Subscribe today. The future is now.


Clean Power Marin Clean Energy logo

Published on July 21st, 2011 | by John Farrell

3

Marin Clean Energy Offers 100% Clean and Increasingly Local Power

July 21st, 2011 by  


Marin Clean Energy logoAfter 10 years of battling incumbent utilities, Marin Clean Energy became California’s first operational community choice aggregation authority in 2010.  Already, local ratepayers can opt to get 100 percent of their electricity from renewable resources.

Community choice aggregation (CCA) offers an option for cities, counties, and collaborations to opt out of the traditional role of energy consumers.  Instead, they can become the local retail utility, buying electricity in bulk and selecting their power providers on behalf of their citizens in order to find lower prices or cleaner energy (or even reduce energy demand).  Marin Clean Energy started operations last year:

“When it launched last fall, Marin Energy Authority’s goal was to offer 20% renewable energy to its customers,” said Ms.Weisz. “We were able to offer 27.5% compared to the state-mandated 20%.”  The state recently increased the mandate to one third.  PG&E has about 17% under contract, according to Ms. Weisz.

Customers can also opt for the “deep green,” 100% renewable service for a 10 percent premium.

Marin Clean Energy not only contracts for a higher portion of renewable energy than PG&E, it’s trying to increase its share of local, distributed generation.

“We are filling a niche market for mid-sized renewable energy generation in the 20 to 60 MW range,” said Dawn Weisz, interim director…  “When we went out to solicit renewable power offers, Pacific Gas & Electric told us we would not get any bids. We were looking for 40 MW. We were offered over 600.  Almost all was solar.”

The energy authority even offers a small-scale feed-in tariff program, allowing any customer to become a small renewable energy generator with a long-term contract.  However, unlike the highly successful German feed-in tariff program, the prices for Marin’s program are based on time of generation, rather than the cost.

The local “utility” is also trying to maximize energy efficiency.  Currently, a public benefits fund pools ratepayer dollars for energy efficiency programs run by PG&E.  However, such programs tend to work against the bottom line of the utility, but not against Marin’s CCA.

Marin Clean Energy thinks it can do a better job and create more local jobs with the money.

It’s a promising start for California’s first community choice authority.

This post originally appeared on Energy Self-Reliant States, a resource of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s New Rules Project.


Support CleanTechnica’s work via donations on Patreon or PayPal!

Or just go buy a cool t-shirt, cup, baby outfit, bag, or hoodie.



Tags: ,


About the Author

directs the Democratic Energy program at ILSR and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. His seminal paper, Democratizing the Electricity System, describes how to blast the roadblocks to distributed renewable energy generation, and how such small-scale renewable energy projects are the key to the biggest strides in renewable energy development.   Farrell also authored the landmark report Energy Self-Reliant States, which serves as the definitive energy atlas for the United States, detailing the state-by-state renewable electricity generation potential. Farrell regularly provides discussion and analysis of distributed renewable energy policy on his blog, Energy Self-Reliant States (energyselfreliantstates.org), and articles are regularly syndicated on Grist and Renewable Energy World.   John Farrell can also be found on Twitter @johnffarrell, or at jfarrell@ilsr.org.



Back to Top ↑