Joule Assets, via Joule Community Power, rolled out community choice aggregation (CCA) programs to more than 25,000 utility account holders in seven communities in New York State. The six towns that banded together to form Hudson Valley Community Power and the Town of Geneva, New York, through the Finger Lakes Community Choice aggregation, have all selected 100% renewable energy — at a fixed rate that is lower than the average utility rate for the previous year — as the default energy supply for their communities. Joule serves as program administrator for both aggregations and partners with local program managers to provide local program support, education, and outreach in the communities.
In 2020, Joule expects three additional towns, with 6,500 homes, to join the Hudson Valley Community Power aggregation. Joule also plans to launch four new aggregations: Gateway Community Power, Monroe Community Power, Rockland Community Power, and an aggregation in Long Island, New York. Currently, with 16 communities under contract, Joule is looking forward to administrating CCA programs for more than 190,000 total households in 25 communities by this time next year.
“Communities throughout New York State are leading the way in the clean energy transition,” said Joule Community Power director Glenn Weinberg. “Joule’s programs help them get the most out of the powerful tools available to them to get the best deal for their residents and to drive local development of renewable energy.”
“We have been working to bring CCAs to the Rochester area since 2016. Working with Joule perfectly aligns with our mission of advocating for communities to purchase 100% renewable electricity that is procured at a price that is lower than consumers paid, on average, the previous year,” said Roctricity’s Susan Hughes-Smith. “We are pleased to serve as the local program manager for Finger Lakes Community Choice and, in the not too distant future, Monroe Community Power and Gateway Community Power.”
Jeff Domanski of Hudson Valley Energy, the nonprofit that serves as the local program manager for the Hudson Valley Community Power and Rockland Community Power programs, is excited about the benefits of the programs led by Joule.
“It’s been great to talk to so many people in our partner communities about how these programs provide a win-win-win opportunity that helps so many people get what they want: supporting renewable electricity generation with no additional cost and protection from bad actors in the energy marketplace. We’re able to increase knowledge, help build trust, and deliver benefits,” Domanski said.
Maximizing the CCA’s impact with solar
In 2019, offering yet another way to reduce both electricity costs and carbon gas emissions, Joule launched Geneva Community Power, a community solar pilot program for NYSEG customers in New York’s Finger Lakes region and offered local solar to Central Hudson customers in New York Hudson’s Valley.
Unlike other community solar programs, Joule’s solar offering is designed to reward communities that support renewable generation by helping fund future local sustainability efforts. For the Geneva Community Power pilot program, funding of the “sustainability grant” was based upon reaching a threshold of 400 community solar subscribers.
The Town of Geneva opted to spend the money on projects that protect and preserve the quality of water in Seneca Lake. In the Hudson Valley, funds are allocated to communities based on actual enrollment numbers. By year-end 2019, more than 500 utility customers in the Hudson Valley, who consume more than 3,700 kWh of electricity annually, subscribed to community solar, earning their local communities upwards of $25,000 for future sustainability efforts.
“Joule has established a community solar program that gives back to the community and enables subscribers who support clean energy to spend less on electricity. Community solar participants save approximately 10% annually on electricity by supporting the buildout of renewable power plants,” said Mike Gordon, CEO of Joule Assets. “Joule supports communities that support renewable generation by funding, based on solar program enrollment, locally chosen sustainability efforts.”
|Aggregation||Participating Communities||Local Partner||Size (in # of HHs)|
|Hudson Valley Community Power||City of Beacon, Village of Cold Spring, Town of Fishkill, Town of Marbletown, Town of Philipstown, City of Poughkeepsie||Hudson Valley Energy||25,000|
|Finger Lakes Community Choice||Town of Geneva||Roctricity||1,000|
News item from Joule