The following is a transcript of Dawn Weisz, MCE CEO’s, speech given at the MCE Solar One Ribbon Cutting Celebration.
I’d like to start of by thanking all of our partners – RichmondBUILD, the City of Richmond, Cenergy Power, Chevron, and sPower. And thank you to MCE staff – especially, Greg Brehm, David Potovsky, Allen Chiu, and Kirby Dusel whose work on this project was truly invaluable.
Last month on March 4th, the sun was shining and the weather was mild throughout much of California like it is for us today. On that day at 12:58 in the afternoon, half of California’s energy demand was served by solar projects like the one before us today. That set the new all-time record with the California Independent System Operator (or CAISO) – who manages our power grid. The following morning, another solar record was set when solar production hit 10,411 megawatts. That amounts to nearly 1,000 projects like this!
It just goes to show you that new solar projects are leading California away from fossil fuel dependency. Although we might not notice it in our day-to-day activities, when we flip on a switch, the lights power on just as always. Our laptops and cell phones still get charged when we remember to plug them in. We can’t tell if those electrons were produced by a solar project or a natural gas plant, but there are significant changes and they are positive, impactful, and far reaching.
Just imagine the changes that occurred right at this very spot where we are gathered. To me this project signifies investment and renewal.
Investment in the land – as a remediated brownfield site, there was once very little opportunity to use this area purposefully. And now it’s been given a second life to generate enough renewable energy to power over 3,900 homes each year.
As Jonathan poignantly spoke about, the partners on this project – especially RichmondBUILD, the City of Richmond, and Cenergy Power – have invested in the workers. MCE Solar One provided on the job training and experience for RichmondBUILD Academy graduates and supported the hiring of local and union workers.
And, of course, after all of that invested sweat equity, time, and, capital resources, the project is online and serving customers and it’s paying back dividends to the environment by displacing conventional, greenhouse gas-emitting energy sources with renewable, pollution-free sources.
I would also like to give my deepest appreciation to our Deep Green customers. These MCE customers have chosen to opt up to our 100% renewable energy service. By doing so, MCE matches all of their electricity usage with renewable energy sources.
And the one penny per kilowatt-hour premium that they pay goes towards a local renewable development fund. This fund helped to pay for the initial permitting of MCE Solar One. This is our first project to benefit from the Deep Green fund, and I’m certain it will not be the last.
So our Deep Green customers are not only supporting California renewables through their usage and choice of service, they’re also directly contributing to the build out of new renewable projects. This is really one of the best ways to invest in the environment and local economy.
While this project is called MCE Solar One, it perhaps would be more fitting to call it MCE Solar three hundred and forty-one for all of the workers that helped to make it a reality. And, not if, but when we break the next CAISO solar record, I’ll be thinking about all of the people and partnerships that help to make projects like this one a reality.