Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced a proposal that, if approved, would provide a clean energy alternative to a decades-old fossil-fuel power plant in Oakland.
PG&E’s Oakland Clean Energy Initiative would provide a clean and innovative alternative that could replace the existing power plant and would be a cleaner and more affordable option than the traditional approach of using either a new fossil-fueled plant or new transmission lines through heavily populated areas of Oakland.
The proposal would use local clean energy resources including energy storage, energy efficiency and electric-system upgrades to ensure reliability in Oakland.
“Today’s event marks an exciting milestone in our work together to meet the energy needs of this terrific city – and really, to set a model for other cities in California and beyond,” said Geisha Williams, CEO and President of PG&E Corporation.
PG&E has invited multiple stakeholders to weigh in on the proposal, including the city of Oakland; the Port of Oakland; environmental groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund, the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project and the Natural Resources Defense Council; and local businesses that neighbor the site.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said the proposal would achieve a number of goals for the city.
"Today's announcement is exciting because it's another important step forward for our city as we create a safe, prosperous and healthy Oakland for our residents. It's not every day that you get to make the air cleaner, improve the health and quality of life for your residents, and support green jobs, but that's what this project will do for Oakland," Schaaf said.
“The Oakland Clean Energy Initiative sets the right precedent with its innovative clean energy plan for West Oakland. We are excited to be part of the project team and look forward to seeing this effort integrated into the bigger picture of clean, locally owned energy systems and more resilient communities," said Brian Beveridge of West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project (WOEIP).
Jamie Fine, Senior Economist, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), echoed WOEIP, and added, “PG&E’s proactive approach has the potential to harness the power of clean energy to help reduce pollution in Oakland, a win for the community and the environment. We look forward to working together to successfully deploy these solutions.” Labor groups also said they support the proposal.
“The working men and women of IBEW Local 1245 are proud partners with PG&E in providing safe, affordable energy to the city of Oakland, and all of Northern California. We are excited to see the energy reliability solutions of the future, developed in the communities where we work and live,” said Anthony Brown, Assistant Business Manager of IBEW 1245.
“We are tremendously grateful for the support of so many local leaders, businesses and environmental groups. It’s a great example of what we can do for our communities and our economy when we work together to come up with innovative solutions,” Williams said.
The existing plant in the area is a 40-year-old, jet fuel-powered generating facility at 50 Martin Luther King Jr. Way that is needed for local reliability. The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) has a Reliability-Must-Run (RMR) contract with the plant’s owner, Dynegy, to purchase up to 165 megawatts of energy during peak periods.
A conventional solution to maintaining the system reliability provided by the aging generating station would be to build a new fossil fuel power plant or to build new transmission lines through heavily populated parts of Oakland.
Instead, PG&E’s proposal is to upgrade existing substation infrastructure and develop new clean energy resources in Oakland. If the proposal is approved, it will mark the first time that local clean energy resources are proactively deployed as an alternative to fossil-fuel generation to provide transmission reliability.
PG&E will be working with East Bay Community Energy to run a market solicitation, known as a request for offers, to invite distributed energy resource providers to propose innovative and competitive solutions as part of the portfolio. Depending on the exact resource mix, the solicitation is expected to result in 20 to 45 megawatts of clean energy resources.
PG&E submitted the proposal to the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) through the annual Transmission Planning Process. CAISO is scheduled to decide on the initiative in the first quarter of 2018. If the project is approved by CAISO, PG&E will open up the request-for-offers process. PG&E is also required by law to file for cost recovery with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission. PG&E expects to make the filing by the end of 2018. The Oakland Clean Energy Initiative has a forecasted in-service date of mid-2022.