UNDERSTANDING CLEAN ENERGY
Using the Community Choice Energy
model, 3CE is able to source competitively priced energy to meet our climate and energy goals
On behalf of our Central Coast region, 3CE is leading the way towards a brighter future by committing to source 100% of our energy supply from clean and renewable resources by 2030, 15 years ahead of California’s energy goal.
Kilowatt hours (kWh) of
electricity sourced by 3CE.
Increases to 5.4 Billion kWh by
the end of 2021
96% of our service area’s electricity load is served by 3CE
Pathway to 100% Clean and Renewable Energy
3CE has adopted a new pathway to accelerate the deployment of clean and renewable utility scale energy supply to further our goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in a more meaningful and affordable way. With support from our community and boards, 3CE will increase its contracts for new long-term energy supply to achieve 60% of retail sales by 2025 and then further increasing to 100% eligible renewable resources by 2030.
With this new strategy, 3CE will be able to reduce GHG emissions through our power procurement on behalf of our customers while reducing local GHG emissions through our energy programs focused on electrification, fuel-switching and resiliency. 3CE sees our pathway to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2030 as a strategic and impactful step to complement our local efforts to address regional greenhouse gas emissions. 3CE has a tremendous opportunity to reduce emissions through our energy supply while ensuring customers and communities can benefit from affordable rates and capitalize on reducing emissions through electrification along the Central Coast.
Within its first two years of operation, 3CE has contracted for $1.1 billion in new and existing renewable energy projects and this number is expected to increase significantly along the path to achieving 100% clean and renewable energy by 2030 – 15 years ahead of California’s SB100 requirement of 100% zero-carbon energy by 2045.
3CE has partnered with Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) for most of its renewable energy contracts to increase our buying power and extend the affordability of renewable energy to the communities we serve.
Invested in renewable energy and renewable storage contracts in our first two years of operation
3CE currently purchases a variety of renewable energy sources
Solar + storage – 3CE has contracted for new renewable solar projects to be built with accompanying battery storage. Storage helps intermittent renewable energy helps bring reliability to the grid by providing solar power late into the evening when demand for power is at its peak
Geothermal – 3CE has contracted for 73.7 Megawatts/yr. of energy through geothermal energy. This type of renewable energy is important to have in our power mix because it serves as a base load source or in other words, it produces consistent energy and it’s available 24/7/365
Battery storage – 3CE has contracted for 60 Megawatts of battery storage, to be retrofitted into an existing California Flats solar facility in Monterey County. This facility will capture existing renewable energy and help 3CE meet its obligation to purchase more than its maximum anticipated power needs helping to reduce California’s reliance on fossil fuels like natural gas as backup energy.
Supporting offshore wind: 3CE has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement with Castle Wind, a company seeking to build a floating offshore wind project around 30 miles off the coast of Morro Bay. If Castle wind can move through the required process to build, 3CE has agreed to purchase at an affordable rate a portion of their anticipated 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy/yr under a long-term agreement. This project would help 3CE serve our local communities with renewable energy provided within its service territory while supporting local renewable infrastructure and jobs. This offshore wind project anticipates producing renewable wind power day and night.
Investigating cost-effective local resources: 3CE currently has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Photosol who is currently evaluating a number of local utility scale renewable energy projects within 3CE’s service area which includes our 4 counties and 28 cities therein. Staff will also evaluate and possibly implement an ongoing RFO to evaluate offers from developers related to utility scale renewable energy generation within our service area.
For calendar year 2019, 3CE’s power mix for our 3Cchoice (formerly MBchoice) was made up of approximately 31% renewable energy with the remainder being supplied by large hydroelectric. In 2020, 3CE’s power mix will comprise of a similar amount of renewable energy with the balance of 55% large hydro attributes and the remaining from unspecified sources.
3Cprime is 3CE’s 100% renewable service offering, with 50% solar and 50% wind. If you would like to support 100% renewable energy, 3Cprime costs less than one penny per kilowatt hour more (.8c/kwh more) than 3Cchoice. Would you like to opt up? Please visit the Account & Services tab.
3CE along with the other CCAs established our initial power mix in two ways:
First, the procurement of utility scale non, or very low emitting PCC 1 (bucket 1) RPS eligible renewable resource generation to meet the current state mandate (33% of energy demand in 2020, increasing to 60% by 2030). Second, and as an accounting exercise, 3CE acquires environmental credits or attributes from large hydro-electric sources in order to offset unspecified power purchases (used to balance 3CE’s load on an hourly basis) on its Power Content Label.
3CE's Vision for the Future
We invite you on this journey to bring more renewable sources and energy storage online, reducing the need for fossil-fuel baseload sources of energy like natural gas. With $1.1 billion already invested in renewable and storage long-term contracts, 3CE is leading the charge to help accelerate the reduction of GHG emissions brought onto the western grid. Our pathway to 100% renewable energy is achievable in an affordable way. Rates for renewable energy are at an all-time low while demand for large hydro-electric attributes continues to increase. 3CE is responding to these market shifts in a fiscally and environmentally responsible way on behalf of the communities we serve. Thank you, your support electrifies our GHG reducing efforts!
How California's Energy Grid Works
On a localized scale, Central Coast Community Energy purchases clean energy as the primary electricity provider on our customer’s behalf while the utility provider continues to deliver electricity to the customer’s location. This partnership allows 3CE to focus on sourcing clean power while funding local electrification energy programs with the overarching goal of reducing both grid emissions and local emissions.
California's Grid and Grid Operator
California’s energy grid is powered by many different sources of energy including renewables such as solar, wind and geothermal, carbon-free sources such as large-hydro and fossil fuel sources such as natural gas. Currently on a typical day California’s energy grid is fueled by 50% natural gas, 25% renewables, 10% large hydro, 10% imports and 5% nuclear. Once energy sources enter the grid, the electrons are mixed together and delivered to locations close to the source; in other words, to locations with the least resistance.
When thinking about electricity and where it comes from, it’s important to keep in mind that because of the nature of electrons, it is nearly impossible to track electricity from its source to where it is finally used.
This is especially true when considering the size of the Western Grid. 3CE supplies clean power onto the grid and is thereby cleaning up the general power mix of the region. It has become clear that the Community Choice Energy trend is poised to change the status quo and with combined efforts, facilitate the biggest push for clean power in the history of the state.
Who manages the grid? Customers have become more familiar with the California Independent Systems Operator (CAISO) following their Flex Alerts and calls for temporary rolling power outages during record-breaking heatwaves and heatstorms in 2020. CAISO is California’s grid operator, responsible for dispatching energy procured by utilities and CCAs like ours onto the grid in real time, balancing supply with demand and ensuring the power stays on for California.