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November 5, 2019

Press Release

People walking through arch next to Lake Merritt at sunset

Four Bay Area Community Energy Agencies Kick Off New Program to Provide Local Resiliency

Program will result in thousands of homes and businesses installing backup power

Mountain View Vice Mayor and SVCE Board Chair Margaret Abe-Koga, Portola Valley Vice Mayor and PCE Board Chair Jeff Aalfs, Oakland Councilmember and EBCE Board Chair Dan Kalb, and Santa Clara Councilmember Teresa O’Neill applaud Fremont Fire Chief Curtis Jacobson for his leadership and support of microgrid technology.

Fremont, CA (November 5, 2019) – Local Bay Area energy agencies are joining forces to stabilize California’s grid by providing residents and businesses with economical and emissions-free battery backup systems. East Bay Community Energy (EBCE), Peninsula Clean Energy, Silicon Valley Power (SVP), and Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) are issuing a joint solicitation for the installation of over 30 megawatts of battery storage for their customers. The program will provide resilient solar power combined with battery storage to approximately 6,000 homes and hundreds of businesses in Alameda, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties, including those hit by recent Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) power shutoffs.

This innovative program also enables the use of local resources to fulfill state “Resource Adequacy” requirements. Resource Adequacy refers to energy generating capacity that local agencies and utilities must contract to ensure the safe and reliable operation of California’s electrical grid in real time. This requirement has historically been filled through purchasing Resource Adequacy from distant power plants. This new program shifts the purchase of Resource Adequacy to new local solar power and battery storage systems that provide the benefits of backup power directly to local homes and businesses as well as bill savings.

The announcement was made outside the Fremont Fire Station #6, where a microgrid powered by a solar and battery system ensures the lights stay on for emergency responders through the outages that have affected more than one million customers in PG&E territory alone during the past several weeks.

The Request for Proposals, issued today, calls for proposals to install battery systems on local homes and businesses that may be combined with new or existing solar systems. The systems will lower energy bills, increase reliability, and help stabilize the power supply for the community at large. A minimum of fifty percent of the systems are earmarked for residents and the remaining capacity for multifamily properties and commercial buildings. Partner vendor(s) will be selected in early 2020, with the intent of announcing the program details in spring 2020, and projects to be underway soon after with the intent of preempting the next fire season.

EBCE, Peninsula Clean Energy, and SVCE are Community Choice Energy providers; public agencies that for the past few years have provided businesses and residents in Alameda, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties respectively with clean power at rates below PG&E’s. The agencies have collectively saved customers tens of millions of dollars each year on electricity while funding the development of hundreds of megawatts of new renewable energy projects. They are joined by SVP, the long-standing municipal utility serving the City of Santa Clara.

While the solicitation is not prescriptive, it lists goals of supporting low-income residents, customers with life-dependent medical equipment, and residents and businesses located in disadvantaged communities. One potential model for the program is EBCE’s ten-year agreement with San Francisco-based Sunrun for 0.5 megawatts of energy storage in and around Oakland drawn from new solar plus storage installations on low-income housing. The program will also complement Peninsula Clean Energy’s commitment of up to $10 million to provide clean backup power in Santa Mateo County, as well as additional customer programs provided by SVCE and SVP.

The Request for Proposals can be found at ebce.org/solicitations, or peninsulacleanenergy.com/resilience-RFP, or https://www.svcleanenergy.org/solicitations/.

Customers within Alameda County interested in participating in the program can sign up to receive updates at ebce.org/resilient-home/, in San Mateo County at peninsulacleanenergy.com/resilience, and in portions of Santa Clara County at svcleanenergy.org/resilience.

About East Bay Community Energy (EBCE)

EBCE is a not-for-profit public agency that operates a Community Choice Energy program for Alameda County and eleven incorporated cities, serving more than 550,000 residential and commercial customers throughout the county. EBCE initiated service in June 2018 and is one of 19 community choice aggregation (CCA) programs operating in California. CCAs are expediting the climate action goals of their communities and those of California. EBCE is committed to providing clean power at competitive rates while reinvesting in our local communities. For more information about East Bay Community Energy, visit https://ebce.org/.

Contact: Dan Lieberman, dlieberman@ebce.org, M: 925-579-1591

About Peninsula Clean Energy

Peninsula Clean Energy is San Mateo County’s official electricity provider. It is a public local community choice energy agency that provides all electric customers in San Mateo County with cleaner electricity at lower rates than those charged by the local incumbent utility. Peninsula Clean Energy saves customers an estimated $18 million a year. Peninsula Clean Energy, formed in March 2016, is a joint powers authority made up of the County of San Mateo and all 20 cities and towns in the County. The agency serves approximately 290,000 accounts. peninsulacleanenergy.com/

Contact: Kirsten Andrews-Schwind, kandrews-schwind@peninsulacleanenergy.com, M: 650-260-0096

About Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE)

Silicon Valley Clean Energy is a community-owned agency serving the majority of Santa Clara County communities, acquiring clean, carbon-free electricity on behalf of more than 270,000 residential and commercial customers. As a public agency, net revenues are returned to the community to keep rates competitive and promote clean energy programs. Member jurisdictions include Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Saratoga, Sunnyvale and unincorporated Santa Clara County. SVCE is guided by a Board of Directors, which is comprised of a representative from the governing body of each member community. For more information, please visit SVCleanEnergy.org.

Contact: Pamela Leonard, pamela.leonard@svcleanenergy.org, M: 530-306-0122

About Silicon Valley Power (SVP)

Silicon Valley Power (SVP) is the trademark adopted for use by the not-for-profit electric municipal utility of Santa Clara, CA, serving residents and businesses for over 120 years. SVP provides power to nearly 55,000 customers, at rates 25 to 48 percent below neighboring communities. SVP is the only full service, vertically integrated publicly owned utility in Silicon Valley owning generation, transmission and distribution assets. See more at: http://www.siliconvalleypower.com/.

Contact: Astra Kredel, akredel@siliconvalleypower.com, M: 408-615-2719

Statements Regarding this Request for Proposals

Who Statement
Jeff Aalfs,
Chair of PCE Board and Portola Valley Vice Mayor
“Power in large parts of San Mateo County was turned off three times this October. We hear our customers’ concerns and are creating this opportunity to help them become more resilient.”
Margaret Abe-Koga,
Chair of SVCE Board and Mountain View Vice Mayor
“In order for us to implement a clean, all-electric future, solar-plus-storage is key to helping our customers achieve these goals. In the long term, this is a necessary step we must take to act on climate change and protect future generations.”
Jesse Arreguin,
EBCE Board member and Berkeley Mayor
“The need for sustainable, reliable, and resilient energy sources is crucial for the future of California. That is why I am excited for EBCE to launch this Request for Proposals to create a bidding process that will enable us to provide our customers with environmentally friendly electricity while keeping money in our local economy.”
Girish Balachandran,
CEO of Silicon Valley Clean Energy
“As local public agencies our obligation is to serve our communities, and we see arranging this bulk purchase of reliable battery systems for our residents and businesses as a smart way to meet a critical need. Partnering with private sector innovators is a way we can deliver solutions to our customers quickly.”
Adam Browning,
Executive Director of Vote Solar
“If the blackouts have you wondering why we don’t rely more on local solar and storage, well, wonder no more. These local public power agencies are rising to today’s challenge with tomorrow’s solutions.”
Nick Chaset,
CEO of East Bay Community Energy
“As the local energy provider, EBCE has the needs and interests of our communities at heart. With this RFP, we are pioneering innovative new approaches, at scale, to ensuring resiliency by partnering with customers on solar and storage solutions. This approach will not only enhance system reliability, but also support local jobs.”
Dan Kalb,
Chair of EBCE Board and Oakland Councilmember
“We’ve faced and are facing tragic wildfires, problematic Power Shutoffs, an investor-owned utility that prioritizes large shareholders over the public, and a global climate crisis that impacts us locally.”

“We have a lot to do, including additional policies and regulations to further reduce heat-trapping emissions; hardening of our electrical transmission and distribution system; improved dedication to effective vegetation management, more clean energy locally, and serious consideration of taking over elements of PG&E by creating new public power authorities.”

“This spate of power outages is simply unacceptable, particularly for the most vulnerable members of our community who depend on electricity for their health and wellbeing. EBCE and our partners around the Bay are launching this local resiliency initiative as just one way to combat the real challenges within our power grid.”
Derek Krause,
Oakland resident
“As a former first responder who’s just endured a PG&E public safety power shutoff for 48 hours, I believe that rooftop solar and battery storage is a necessity for safety, security, and sustainability. During PG&E’s mandatory power shutoff, my family was able to maintain our normal daily functions through our Sunrun Brightbox solar battery system. Local residents like me with this technology are less susceptible to the weaknesses of the current centralized power system. For these reasons and more, I am a strong believer in the value, safety and security of solar battery backup systems.”
Jan Pepper,
CEO of Peninsula Clean Energy
“Innovative clean energy solutions that are applied at the local-level is one reason we formed Peninsula Clean Energy. This large initiative is a positive step in bringing costs down and goes hand-in-hand with our recently announced commitment of up to $10 million in battery backup storage for vulnerable residents and public facilities.”
Manuel Pineda,
Chief Electric Utility Officer, Silicon Valley Power
Our local public agencies are stepping up to the plate together, to provide greater resiliency, reliability, and sustainability where we need it most, in our communities. This is public power at its best.”