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Musings From the Front Lines August 2023

PK attended the Contra Costa County Sustainability Commission Meeting on August 28, 2023, at 5 PM in Martinez, California. It was a busy agenda that included reports from MCE, The Climate Reality Project, the County Sustainability Director related to the impending release of the updated Climate Action Plan (CAP), and other related agenda items.  

MCE is the county community choice energy aggregator whose mission includes confronting the climate crisis by eliminating GHGs and providing renewable energy.  They are Community choice aggregators (CCA) for four counties within the SF Bay Area (Contra Costa, Marin, Napa and Solano).   They were created with enabling legislation from 2002.  MCE’s “Deep Green” service includes 50% wind and 50% solar energy.  They are considering taking ownership of generating assets in California which would make them the first CCA to do so. In Contra Costa County they have an 88.6% participation rate with 10% of Contra Costa County residents (including PK’s representative) participating in the Deep Green program.  An interesting emphasis of note is MCE’s commitment to Virtual Power Plants (VPP).  VPPs are rooftop solar, heat pumps, water heaters, smart thermostats, smart plugs, electric vehicles and batteries that MCE can send digital signals to that remotely help to manage electrical load.  
The presentation by Climate Reality was arranged by Commissioner Chris Easter.  Climate Reality is Al Gore’s new NGO aimed at achieving progress on climate action, justice and policy:

Fred Bialy’s presentation focused on the GHG reduction opportunities presented by The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA).  In 2006 Fred was awakened to the reality of the Climate Emergency by Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”. He then began reading more about the science of Climate Change and attending Climate marches. In July of 2020, he attended the first Virtual Training of the Climate Reality Project led by Al Gore. Since then, he has given presentations on the Climate Emergency to various groups. Currently Fred co-leads the Climate Reality Policy Action Squad for Contra Costa County. Fred is a retired Emergency Physician. The IRA can promote decarbonization in the built environment by replacing gas-fueled appliances with efficient electric alternatives such as LED lighting, heat pumps and electric “on-demand” water heaters, as well as upgrading insulation, installing solar panels and other equipment.  The IRA also provides tax credits for new EVs, used EVs, EV chargers, weatherization, electrical panel upgrades, battery storage, geothermal heating.
Finally, the Sustainability Coordinator Jody London delivered the report on the CAP and asked for volunteers for the CAP Outreach Working Group.  Chris Easter was one of the selected members for the Working Group and will be participating in assisting the County in rolling out the new CAP measures.


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