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8/23/18  8:12 pm
Commenter: Silvia Zinetti, Virginia Clean Energy

Community Choice Aggregation in Virginia

Recommendations to the 2018 Virginia Energy Plan Update

August 23, 2018

To: Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy

Re: The 2018 Virginia Energy Plan Update

On behalf of Virginia Clean Energy, I would like to thank you for considering the following comments to the 2018 Virginia Energy Plan update. Virginia Clean Energy is a new nonprofit organization, which mission is dedicated to the accelerated expansion of clean and renewable energy via Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) in Virginia.

Following the great success of Community Choice Aggregation programs in California, Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island, we would like Virginia to embrace this unique opportunity that would not only foster the State’s green energy growth, but also its economic and workforce development as a whole.

Community Choice Aggregation, or Municipal Aggregation

Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), also known as municipal aggregation, are programs that allow counties, cities, and local governments to procure power on behalf of their residents, businesses, and municipal accounts from an alternative supplier while still receiving transmission and distribution service from their existing utility provider. CCAs are an attractive option for communities that want more local control over their electricity sources, more green power than is offered by the default utility, and/or lower electricity prices. By aggregating demand, communities gain leverage to negotiate better rates with competitive suppliers and choose greener power sources.[i]

Virginia code allows municipal aggregation since 1999.[ii] The code was amended and reenacted in 2007.

Benefits of Community Choice Aggregation

Common benefits of Community Choice Aggregation programs include:

·      Provide lower and stable electricity rates

·      Create competition in the retail market

·      Offer automatic enrollment, with the possibility to opt out

·      Increase renewable energy in the power mix (e.g. 30%, 50%)

·      Give customers a choice to opt-in for 100% renewable energy

·      Save residents and businesses money on electricity bills

·      Foster the economic development

·      Promote energy efficiency

·      Support the creation of green jobs

·      Stimulate technological innovation

·      Increase energy security and resiliency

·      Reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions

In 2016, community choice aggregations sold about 8.7 billion kilowatt-hours of green power to about 3.3 million customers.[iii]

Existing CCAs in California offer a higher percentage of renewable energy (30%, 50%) in their electric service at competitive prices, and in only a few years have contributed, among other benefits, to local and regional renewable development, GHG emissions reduction, and local clean energy jobs creation.

Marin Clean Energy has supported ~3,000 jobs, saved customer ~$16M in two year period (2014-2015), contributed to ~200 MW of renewable energy development, and eliminated ~200,000 Metric Tons of GHG (2010-2016).[iv] Sonoma Clean Power has saved customers ~$14M in only one year (2014), contributed to ~90MW of renewable energy development, and reduced GHG emissions by ~54,000 Metric Tons (2014).[v]

The New York pilot program in Westchester has saved residents ~$8M and is responsible for the largest purchase of renewable energy NY State history. And as of March 2018, CCAs can include and incentivize the development of local renewable generation.[vi]

Several CCAs have successfully promoted technology innovation such as cost-effective distributed generation systems, Energy Efficiency programs, demand-side management and demand response programs to offset annual capacity requirements, Automated Demand Response (ADR) Pilot Programs for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, Smart Grid Connected home devices, Energy Storage solutions, and new platforms for aggregating and scheduling load.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Community Choice Aggregation has already been a success in other States. The program is a great tool for cities and local governments to promote efficiency, resiliency, and sustainability, and works in providing residents and businesses with more renewable energy at stable and competitive prices.

Having an updated Energy Plan that includes provisions and support for Community Choice Aggregation as an alternative energy model for counties, cities, and municipalities wishing to transition towards more sustainable energy and meet their energy and environmental goals, is one of the best ways to move faster towards more clean and renewable energy, foster green economic development in the State, and reduce GHG emissions in a big way.

I look forward to providing you with more background information on CCAs and working together for the success of the Virginia Energy Plan.


Silvia Zinetti

President, Virginia Clean Energy





[ii] § 56-589. Municipal and state aggregation.





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