The 2023 California Community Choice Association (CalCCA) annual conference “Powered by Community,” recently held in downtown San Diego, provided members of community choice aggregators (CCAs) in California the chance to network, share ideas, learn new practices and discuss the latest renewable energy challenges and opportunities facing communities across the state.
The conference, hosted by CalCCA Executive Director Beth Vaughan, was the first to be held in-person since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over 600 leaders and staff members from community choice aggregators were in attendance for a program that featured workshops, engaging presentations and panel discussions on topics such as resource adequacy and structuring prepayment transactions, as well as methods for addressing procurement challenges and unlocking funding opportunities.
Clean Power Alliance (CPA) was well represented at the event with staff participating in half of the conference panels as well as in several informative sessions.
CPA CEO Ted Bardacke, participated in the session “Reliability, Decarbonization and Affordability – Can we have it all? What is the path forward?” He shared a sentiment that resonated throughout the conference – that this gathering allowed California CCAs to come together to share updates and progress, and to work collaboratively to solve shared challenges.
Other CPA panelists included:
Chief Operating Officer Matthew Langer: “Infrastructure Challenges: Do We have What it Takes?”
Xico Manarolla, Electrification Program Manager: “How CCAs put “Community” in “Community Choice.”
Kate Freeman, Financial Strategy and Initiatives Manager: “Bonding Time: “How CCAs are Leveraging Prepayment Transactions to Reduce Customer Costs.”
During the “Infrastructure Challenges” session, Langer highlighted the considerable progress that CCAs are making in ensuring the California energy grid is increasingly more reliable.
“In the last 12 months we’ve brought on 6,000 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy generation as a state, and that’s really important for reliability this summer,” said Langer. “Just this week, CAISO came out with their summer reliability assessment, and said that in addition to the 6,000 MW that’s come online in the last 12 months, there’s 6,000 megawatts that’s supposed to come online in the next four months. Which is really extraordinary.”
CCAs now serve more than 200 towns, cities and counties in California, more than 11 million customers statewide, and provide approximately a third of the state’s electricity supply. New clean energy power purchase agreements signed by CCAs have brought 11,000+ MW of additional energy.
CalCCA’s mission is to create a legislative and regulatory environment that supports the development and long-term sustainability of locally run CCA electricity providers in California. Several awards presented by CalCCA at the conference honored innovative CCA initiatives that are helping to drive decarbonization, promote equity, and enhance energy reliability.
“These two days were really amazing as they provided the perfect opportunity to learn from our peers and gain a better understanding of developing market trends while understanding what we need to do to ensure that California’s clean energy transition is pursued with our customers and communities in mind.” Bardacke concluded. “The 25 CCAs, they’re all doing something that’s a little bit different and they’re trying things out, they’re succeeding and failing. We want to take all that knowledge and bring it home. At this conference we’ve learned about things that we can incorporate into our own program to make it better and more innovative and more solution oriented.”