Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2019  
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  Planning for Richmond's Future
September 24, 2019

I spent both Thursday and Friday at planning retreats for two regional and statewide organizations on which I serve as a board member.

Thursday, MCE Clean Energy convened at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium for an all-day planning retreat. MCE has grown from its modest Marin County beginnings to a powerful four-county agency that provides electrical power to 472,000 customers. Richmond was the first expansion city outside Marin County. Today, MCE has an annual budget of $354 million and reserves of $92 million.

I represent Richmond and serve as vice-chair on the board of MCE.

MCE was the first Consumer Choice Aggregator (CCA) in California, but today CCA is weeping the state, serving more than 4 million accounts. CCAs have enabled California to move quickly towards its climate goals for renewable energy while saving millions of dollars for customers.

MCE has saved Richmond ratepayers (except those who opted out) millions of dollars, enabled the City of Richmond government to use 100% renewable electrical energy, prevented vast amounts of GHG being released, and made Solar 1 possible, which provides 7% of Richmond’s electrical load.

Figure 1 - Richmond Solar 1

Figure 2 - Community Choice Aggregation Rapidly Expanding in California

Figure 3 - MCE Exceeded California Performance Goals


Figure 4 - MCE is a leader in funding EV charging ports

On Friday, I traveled to Sacramento for the Local Government Commission (LGC) planning retreat. I have served on the board of the LGC for some 15 years, including two years as chair. LGC works to build livable communities and local leadership by connecting leaders via innovative programs and network opportunities, advancing policies through participation at the local and state level, and implementing solutions as a technical assistance provider and advisor to local jurisdictions.

With roots in California and a national reputation, LGC offers inspiration, information, and partnership for local and regional champions dedicated to building thriving communities that integrate civic engagement with environmental, social and economic priorities.

The LGC has been a critical partner for Richmond in both securing tens of millions of dollars in grants and executing the work they funded, including such initiatives as the Livable Corridors Form Based Code, the Richmond Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, Pogo Park, Richmond Wellness Trail, Unity Park, Richmond Health in All Policies and the Yellow Brick Road.

Figure 5 - Local Government Commission members includes 728 California local elected officials

Figure 6 - LGC Board includes 16 local elected officials

Figure 7 - On Friday at noon we took a break to support the Youth Climate Strike at the State Capitol.