NORTHERN CALIFORNIA POWER AGENCY
Bringing the Benefits of Joint Action to California for Nearly 50 Years
The Northern California Power Agency (NCPA), a California Joint Action Agency, was established in 1968 by a consortium of locally owned electric utilities to make joint investments in energy resources that would ensure an affordable, reliable, and clean supply of electricity for customers in its member communities. NCPA members include municipalities, a rural electric cooperative, and other publicly owned entities for which the not-for-profit agency provides such services as the purchase, aggregation, scheduling, and management of electrical energy.
Most critically for its 15 members, NCPA over the past four decades has constructed and today operates and maintains a fleet of power plants that is among the cleanest in the nation, and that provides reliable and affordable electricity to more than 600,000 Californians. NCPA made a major investment in renewable energy in the early 1980s when it developed two geothermal power plants and financed and built a 250 megawatt hydroelectric facility. Thirty years later, these resources continue to generate reliable, emission-free electricity for its member communities.
NCPA’s 775 megawatt portfolio of power plants is approximately 50% greenhouse gas emission-free. NCPA’s mix of geothermal, hydroelectric, and natural gas resources is well positioned to help its members achieve California’s goal of a 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by 2020. NCPA member utilities also have invested heavily in the most environmentally friendly form of electricity—the megawatts that you don’t use. The agency’s members collectively have spent more than $100 million on energy efficiency since 2006, reducing demand for electricity by more than 350 gigawatt hours during that time.
NCPA’s commitment to the environment reflects its status as a not-for-profit public entity whose policies and values are set not by investors, but by locally elected or appointed officials who serve as the energy regulators in the cities, towns, and districts that are members of the Agency.
Because these individuals live and work in their communities, and remain directly accountable for the utility service to their customers (and neighbors), they provide a knowledgeable, responsive and effective governing body. With that combination of industry knowledge and commitment to the environment, NCPA has scored some notable “firsts” in environmental stewardship:
The world’s first integrated wastewater geothermal system, which reversed years of declining steam production at the geothermal facility and prolonged the life of one of the state’s most important sources of renewable generation.
The first utility in the world to add a “downhole” hydroelectric turbine generator to a geothermal injection well to generate additional emission-free electricity while extending the life of the geothermal resource.
The first entity in the U.S. to install “fast start” combined-cycle natural gas turbines that not only are highly efficient but also are designed to facilitate the integration of new intermittent renewables, such as solar and wind, and help California meet its ambitious renewable portfolio standard targets.