King City working on community clean energy program

August 22, 2017 – The King City Rustler

The City Council recently took the first step in an effort that could potentially make King City a future leader of local clean energy production. A contract was approved with Pilot Power Group, Inc. to prepare the feasibility and technical analysis needed to determine the likelihood of success of forming the City’s own Congregated Choice Aggregation Program (CCA). Results of initial studies have been favorable.

Under the program, the CCA would become the local electric energy provider and PG&E would continue to transmit and bill for the power. Customers would also maintain the ability to opt out of the program and continue to receive their power directly from PG&E if they choose.

The contract has been structured in two phases. The first phase consists of preparing the necessary technical analysis. To ensure its accuracy and objectivity, the City will also be contracting with an outside third party to prepare a peer review of the results. Based on the results of the studies, the Council will then make a decision on whether to proceed to Phase II, which will include developing, launching and operating the CCA on an ongoing basis. No commitment on Phase II has been made at this time. That decision is targeted to take place in October.

The City made the decision to further evaluate the potential of forming its own CCA in an effort to design the program to maximize benefits to the local community. Goals and proposals of the program being studied to accomplish this include the following: 1) to establish customer rates lower than those currently charged by PGE; 2) to develop projects that will generate local renewable power; 3) to provide outstanding customer service, including 100 percent call takers that are bilingual; 4) to provide subsidized programs offering rooftop solar equipment to local residents, businesses and organizations, including no cost programs for low-income individuals and families and agencies that serve them; 5) to provide local job training in the solar industry and increase local jobs; 6) to assist in accelerating the process of electric service connections for new businesses and projects; and 7) to develop a program of installing additional energy efficient streetlights throughout the City.

As part of the feasibility studies, Pilot Power Group will prepare an initial cost analysis of constructing a local solar power plant on old unused landfill property owned by the City. If found viable, it could provide a substantial local renewable power source and revenue to recover landfill closure and monitoring costs incurred by the City. They will also evaluate the potential for providing the streetlight expansion program using wireless solar streetlights. The streetlight program was an important recommendation in the City’s Comprehensive Plan to End Youth Violence. Other overall renewable power options, such as wind energy, will also be considered.

Pilot Power Group is partnering with Grid Alternatives, a local non-profit, to potentially construct all the solar related projects, including the rooftop solar program. They are able to provide these programs at a substantially reduced cost and incorporate an extensive job training effort for local disadvantaged individuals from the community in each project.

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