On April 28, 2016 elected & state officials, environmental leaders, business people and engaged citizens met to celebrate the launch of New York’s first Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program and the announcement by keynote speaker Audrey Zibelman (left), Public Service Commissioner, that CCA will become a statewide program.
CCA is a state policy that enables municipalities to aggregate electricity demand and buy power in bulk on behalf of their community with the intent to procure alternative energy supplies while maintaining the existing electricity provider for transmission and distribution services.
Sustainable Westchester (SW) has been granted approval by the NYS Public Service Commission to implement the CCA program called Westchester Power. Approximately 110,000 residents and small businesses in Westchester municipalities will see lower electricity costs with 14 of the 20 participating towns selecting 100% renewable energy as their default energy supply.
SW has been working to bring CCA to New York for over four years. Mike Gordon (right), co-chair of Sustainable Westchester and CEO of Joule Assets, led the NY CCA effort, and was also responsible for drafting all statewide and local CCA legislation.
CCAs can be the catalyst propelling wider distributed energy resources (DER) use by tapping into the existing community-base to integrate Community Solar, Community Storage, and ultimately Community Microgrids. Communities taking control of their power options was a central theme of the event, with the quote of the day:
“We (the community) are the ultimate DERs”
For Westchester County, producing electricity locally also translates into jobs that would otherwise go to out of state companies. Sustainable Westchester also plans to participate in Community Demand Response programs, generating revenues for its members and providing relief to the grid with hardware like smart thermostats.
The Power Up for Clean Energy New York was produced by the Bedford 2020 and the panelists (pictured below from left to right) were:
- Mike Gordon, Sustainable Westchester, Joule Assets
- Kate Burson, Tesla Motors
- Micah Kotch, NY Prize, NYSERDA
- David Sandbank, NY-Sun, NYSERDA
- Glenn Weinberg, Westchester Power, Joule Assets
- Karl Rábago, Pace Energy and Climate Center