Developing a Feasibility Study for Community Choice Aggregation Renewable Energy Options

COMMUNITY LEAD

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Arlington, Virginia

Arlington, VA is an urban county of about 26 square miles directly across the Potomac river from Washington, DC without any incorporated towns or cities. As of January 1, 2018, Arlington had an estimated population of 225,200, reflecting an increase of 8.5% since 2010. In 2006 CNN money ranked Arlington as the most educated city in 2006 with 35.7% of residents having held graduate degrees. The county is governed by a five-person County Board; members are elected at-large on staggered four-year terms. The Board appoints a County Manager, who is the chief executive of the County Government.

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View of Arlington Virginia skyline, along the Potomac River

The Challenge

Community Choice Aggregation Feasibility

The project’s goal is to carry out a feasibility study for the creation of a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program to provide options for the residents and businesses of Arlington, outside the incumbent electric utility, to choose their rate plans and energy sources. Arlington was chosen due to its transformative Community Energy Plan, though Arlington is not an official partner of this effort. This project will be accomplished through a study on CCA options to explore how Arlington could procure, generate and competitively fund renewable energy projects and inform policymakers and ratepayers of opportunities for renewable energy generation. The options to use of solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal energy in buildings has become increasingly cost-effective over time and aids in energy resilience to peak load events at the macro level when coupled with advanced energy storage. This project will align with Arlington County’s commitment to climate action and stand in accordance with the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, and may serve as a demonstration model for similarly-urbanized communities or those with comparable energy use patterns and volumes.

The Results

Energy Options

The outputs of the project include the following:

Feasibility Study (April 2020). A 110 pages research report divided into nine chapters, along with an executive summary of around 20 pages, summarizing the key results, conclusions and recommendations.

Webinar, including Webinar’s Presentation (May 11, 2020). We held a 1 hour webinar presenting the findings and conclusions of the feasibility study on May 11, 2020. The webinar was recorded.

We are hoping our study will support Arlington County while evaluating the different options to reach their 100% renewable energy and carbon neutrality goals. This study and our webinar may also inspire CCA development in other communities.

Other municipalities in the Commonwealth of Virginia and in other states could use the methodology and outputs from the feasibility study and adapt them to the local context to investigate the feasibility of developing CCAs programs in their communities.

View the full report here.