On the Grid

Central Coast Community Energy (3CE) was set up in 2018 as an alternative to PG&E. The public agency purchases clean power and distributes it through PG&E’s existing transmission system.

In an effort to continue reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Central Coast Community Energy, or 3CE, has shortlisted seven clean energy projects it says will enhance the resilience and stability of its power network.

The projects were proposed by four developers and include one 100 megawatt-hour solar energy and storage project, as well plans for six other battery facilities totaling 110 megawatts in storage capacity. The projects are proposed throughout Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara counties; Shelly Whitworth, spokesperson for 3CE, declines to provide further details about the projects (except that two developers are local), while 3CE is in negotiations.

In January, 3CE announced it was seeking proposals for local projects to stimulate job growth, reduce carbon emissions and increase resiliency following 2020’s rolling power outages during a heat wave.

“We’re not only bringing more jobs locally within our service area but we’re accelerating the adoption of storage that could house more renewable energy and thus increase resiliency,” Whitworth says.

But Pete Scudder, of Scudder Solar in Marina, says the RFP was too complex for entities like his. “Their stipulations are so difficult. We’re not encouraged by what they say they’re doing for local jobs.”

3CE, set up in 2018 to offer an alternative to Pacific Gas & Electric, has tried to facilitate local projects in the past but run into challenges, including the cost of real estate.

The seven projects are not competing; 3CE’s aim is to reach an agreement with each. Negotiations will take up to four months before heading to 3CE’s board of directors for approval. The goal is to get all seven online from 2024-2026.

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