California: Marin Clean Energy & “The Green New Deal”

Say “No” to Community Choice Aggregation (CCA)

By Jim Phelps

If consumers think that Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) companies, such as Marin Clean Energy (MCE) represent transparency, clean energy, and local control, they need to take a critical look at what is really happening.

As I described in detail in my February 2019 article, MCE’s stunning volumes of brown power and a class action, a review of MCE’s brown power volumes from 2011 through 2016 (latest year available) reveals a stunning and troubling picture that calls into question everything about the clean energy agency.

Under the leadership of Kate Sears, MCE has failed to disclose nearly 1.9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by virtue of capitalizing on consumer naiveté and skirting California’s technical renewable energy law, the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The facts show that MCE’s customers are getting energy that is loaded with dirty power that is advertised as clean energy.

To put Marin Clean Energy’s misdeeds into perspective, that 1.9 billion pounds of GHG came from enough dirty energy to power every residence in Marin County for 3 years, uninterrupted. [Footnote 1]

CCAs conflating

Under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) law, there are three classes of renewable energy — Portfolio Content Categories — that CCAs like MCE use to comply with the RPS’s statutory reporting requirements. However, it may come as a surprise to learn that “compliance” does not equate to delivering “clean energy” to customers, even when MCE advertises that they meet or exceed RPS requirements. It’s good marketing but is just not true.

Here’s a description of the RPS’s three categories of renewable energy (the last two are where MCE and other CCAs abuse the system and mislead consumers):

1. Portfolio Content Category 1 (PCC 1):

PCC 1 energy is generally referred to as “genuine renewable energy” in that the energy is delivered directly to the clean energy company’s customers. An energy provider (MCE or another CCA) purchases both the renewable electric power and the accompanying certificate (called a Renewable Energy Certification (REC), which is simply an electronic receipt that authenticates renewable energy production) to prove the renewable energy was actually produced. There is no deception with PCC 1 transactions. Read More