New Solar Site In Temecula Will Help Power City Facilities For Less Money

TEMECULA, CA – On April 25 representatives from the City of Temecula and other project partners participated in the ground breaking ceremony for the solar power generating facility that is being constructed by SMER Research 1, LLC, under a ground lease with San Diego State University, the owner of the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve. Electricity will be generated by the collection of sunlight onto an array of ground mounted photovoltaic cells on land known as the “Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve SOLAR Initiative Research Site.”

In late 2016, the City of Temecula approved a Solar Power Purchase Agreement with SMER Research 1, LLC, which will enable the City to purchase electrical power for various City facilities from the solar power generating facility. The cost of the electricity from this solar power generating facility to the City will initially be approximately 10% less than the cost of electricity available to the City from Southern California Edison Company. As electricity rates increase over time the savings to the City will increase correspondingly.Sufficient electricity will be generated to serve several of the City of Temecula’s facilities.

The photovoltaic cells are similar to those now being used in home solar energy systems. The project is being constructed in coordination with Southern California Edison Company in accordance with programs established by the California Public Utilities Commission. In addition to the public benefits of lower electricity rates and obtaining electricity from a renewable source of power, SMER Research 1 and San Diego State University have agreed to conduct substantial academic research projects at the solar power generating facility site that will study solar radiation, solar energy, soils, and other meteorological and geotechnical data as well as habitat and habitat restoration.

Former California Lt. Governor, Cruz Bustamante, current CEO of Go Green Consultants, the firm responsible for bringing the project team together, remarked “This project is a win win-win-win, in that it is a win for the City of Temecula who will realize savings through lower energy costs, a win for the environment by creatively using renewable energy, a win for the SMER as the project will clear a grove of eucalyptus trees which are a non-native invasive species, and a win for San Diego State University as the project also funds a 20-year research project studying the impacts of the solar array on the native habitat.”

City of Temecula Mayor Pro-Tem Matt Rahn commented that in addition to the environmental and habitat research benefits, the project also eliminates a significant wild land fire fuel source. He shared that the research will address important issues including initial attack effectiveness for wildfires, watershed management, and how renewable energy can be produced in a compatible way with ecosystems and habitat.

Project Team consists of:

  • Power Purchaser: City of Temecula
  • Property Owner: San Diego State University
  • Developer: BioStar Renewables, LLC
  • Co-Developer: Go Green Consultants, LLC/Photogenesis Energy, LLC
  • EPC: BioStar Solar, LLC/E Light Electric Inc.
  • Financing Provided By: BioStar Renewables, LLC.
  • Construction Manager: Spectrum Energy Development Inc.
  • Project Consultant: Aaron Reed & Associates LLC

PHOTO: (Pictured from left to right) Andy Stancati, David Burt, Joel Huppe, Tag Taylor, Pat Agnello, Lee Ullman, Paul Galindo, Cruz Bustamante, [not listed], Matt Rahn, Greg Butler, [not listed] CREDIT: City of Temecula

– SUBMITTED FOR PUBLICATION BY: City of Temecula

New Solar Site In Temecula Will Help Power City Facilities For Less Money, by Renee Schiavone, Patch, May 2, 2017.

Animal Predatory Behavior Decreases Near Desert Wind Turbines, Study Finds

PALM SPRINGS, CA – A study conducted at the windmills near Palm Springs showed that predators are less likely to attack prey living near the wind turbines, including desert tortoises that burrow in the Coachella Valley.

Researchers from the University of California, Davis and the U.S. Geological Survey employed motion-activated cameras facing the entrances of 46 active desert tortoise burrows at the 5.2-square-kilometer wind energy facility.

They found that predators are far more likely to visit the tortoises’ burrows near dirt roads and far less likely to visit burrows close to turbines.

The five predator species monitored included bobcats, gray foxes, coyotes, black bears and western spotted skunks, who scientists say were not actively hunting the tortoises but seeking smaller prey that frequently live in desert tortoise burrows.

“These findings could be helpful in assisting managers to design future wind energy facilities with species in mind,” said lead author Mickey Agha. “There may be benefits to adding space between turbines and increasing the number of dirt roads, to potentially provide habitat for sensitive terrestrial wildlife.”

Scientists behind the study — which was published in the April issue of The Journal of Wildlife Management — say the findings show that the design of wind energy infrastructure impacts animal behavior, an area of study rarely touched on.

“There is little information on predator-prey interactions in wind energy landscapes in North America, and this study provides a foundation for learning more,” said Jeffrey Lovich, USGS scientist and study co-author.

“Further investigation of causes that underlie road and wind turbine effects, such as ground vibrations, sound emission and traffic volume, could help provide a better understanding of wildlife responses to wind energy development,” he said.

-By City News Service

Animal Predatory Behavior Decreases Near Desert Wind Turbines, Study Finds, by Patch Staff, Patch, May 5, 2017.

Hundreds Gather in Fontana to Express Concern about Proposed SCE Rate Increases

Hundreds of people gathered on the afternoon of May 9 at the Jessie Turner Center in Fontana to express their concern about proposed Southern California Edison rate increases.

Most attendees were members of the Laborer’s International Union of North America (LiUNA), which claimed that if SCE’s proposal is approved, rates would be 53 percent higher than they were in 2009.

“We represent thousands of middle class workers in Southern California trying to make ends meet while Edison consistently increases rates far beyond inflation,” said Armando Esparza, business manager for the Southern California District Council of Laborers. “It’s time for Edison to propose reasonable rates for working Californians who are already financially impacted by high living costs.”

According to the California Public Utilities Commission, which held the meeting, SCE is requesting a rate and revenue increase of $221 million in 2018, followed by an additional increase of $533 million in 2019 and an additional $570 million in 2020. This revenue increase request is referred to as a general rate case and covers costs to operate the company, said Eric Wildgrube, the administrative law judge assigned to the case.

If approved by the CPUC, the request would increase the company’s revenue by 5.5 percent next year to $5.9 billion.

According to SCE, residential customers who use an average of 600 kilowatt-hours per month would expect to pay an extra $3.75 a month in 2018, $5.65 per month in 2019 and $7.29 per month in 2020.

If approved, the rates and revenue increase would be used to invest in electric grid safety; to reinforce grid reliability, and grid resiliency in case of emergency; to improve customer service and communication and to offer customers more choices to meet their needs, Wildgrube added. In addition, the revenues would modernize the electric grid to integrate distributed energy resources without compromising safety and reliability.

“We are here to hear arguments both in favor and against. A decision will not be made today and this is only to gather input on the proposed rates,” he added.

Wildgrube urged concerned customers to send written comments via email to public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov using reference number A.16-09-001 or via postal at Public Advisor’s Office, California Public Utilities Commission, 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102.

Longtime Fontana resident Ruthie Estes voiced her concern over the proposed rate increase, arguing it would hurt senior citizens who are living on a fixed income.

“SCE is passing the costs to the public, but what happens after three years? More hikes?” said Estes. “That’s unfair to us.”

LiUNA also claimed that a separate SCE policy is hurting the union members.

“Edison refuses to let our contractors and workers participate in their infrastructure projects that our members pay for in their electric rates. Not only is Edison inflicting a financial burden on our members with high rates, they also discriminate against our union for work that we do for all other public utilities in California,” said Esparza.

SCE representatives present at the hearing did not comment in regard to the discrimination accusations.

For more information, visit www.cpuc.ca.gov/PPH.

Hundreds Gather in Fontana to Express Concern about Proposed SCE Rate Increases, by Alejandro Cano, Fontana Herald News, May 10, 2017.

These Southern California Power Companies Are Leading the Energy Storage Revolution

The Coachella Valley’s two electric utilities are national leaders in one of the hottest clean-energy technologies, according to a first-of-its-kind report.

The Imperial Irrigation District and Southern California Edison brought more battery storage onto the grid than any other U.S. electric utilities in 2016, according to data compiled by the Smart Electric Power Alliance, which was released this week. The Washington, D.C.-based trade organization surveyed 178 utilities, and found that 43 added storage to their portfolios last year — none more so than Imperial and Edison.

Energy storage is a simple concept: Generate electricity when it’s cheap, and stow those electrons away until you need them. While large-scale batteries are still relatively expensive, they’re becoming increasingly popular among utilities as more solar and wind farms are built. Those renewable energy facilities generate cheap electricity, but only when the sun is shining or the wind blows. That doesn’t always line up with when homes and businesses are using energy — hence the growing interest in batteries.

“The technology is rapidly improving and becoming more economic,” said Brenda Chew, a research analyst at the Smart Electric Power Alliance, whose members include utilities, solar installers and storage companies, among others. “Overall, it’s just seen as an important player for integrating higher levels of renewable (energy).”

The Imperial Irrigation District — which serves 150,000 customers in the Imperial Valley and the eastern Coachella Valley — opened a 30-megawatt battery in El Centro, one of the country’s largest lithium-ion batteries, in October. General Electric and Samsung were among the contractors who worked on the project, which cost $38 million.

 District officials have said the battery will make it easier for them to incorporate more solar and wind into their energy mix.

“There’s just so much that the battery can do, and it’s so new, and we’re learning more about it every day,” Matt Dessert, then a member of the district’s board of directors, said at the battery’s commissioning ceremony last year. “It’s going to be awesome to watch this facility grow, to educate all of us in the benefits of battery storage.”

That single battery accounted for all the energy storage Imperial deployed in 2016. Southern California Edison, which powers the rest of the Coachella Valley, installed several smaller batteries — but they added up to a whopping 63 megawatts.

“It’s a tremendous amount of storage, probably the equivalent of about 25 percent of what the country has historically seen in any given year,” said Colin Cushnie, Edison’s vice president of energy procurement and management.

The U.S. added a record 221 megawatts of storage in 2016, according to the consulting firm Greentech Media and the Energy Storage Association, a trade group. San Diego Gas & Electric came in fifth on SEPA’s list of top storage utilities with 17 megawatts, and Northern California’s Pacific Gas & Electric placed seventh, with nine megawatts.

Edison’s storage projects included a 10-megawatt system in Ontario, which was built by Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors at the company’s Gigafactory near Reno, Nevada. Edison also deployed two 10-megawatt batteries built by General Electric and Samsung, which are connected to natural gas-fired power plants in Norwalk and Rancho Cucamonga. Those batteries are designed to reduce climate pollution and other hazardous emissions from those inefficient “peaker” plants by helping them fire up more quickly.

RELATED: Coachella Valley cities among top natural gas guzzlers

In 2013, the California Public Utilities Commission ordered Edison and California’s other major investor-owned utilities, Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric, to collectively buy at least 1,325 megawatts of storage by 2020. Edison was already working to meet its 580-megawatt mandate, Cushnie said, but its efforts sped up dramatically last year after a massive, months-long natural-gas leak at Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon gas storage field outside Los Angeles.

With Aliso Canyon mostly shuttered for the foreseeable future — it’s still unclear whether state lawmakers will allow the facility to reopen — regulators started to worry that there wouldn’t be enough natural gas available to supply Southern California power plants, leading to blackouts. So last May, the California Public Utilities Commission ordered Edison to buy as much cost-effective storage as it could — by the end of the year.

The result was a storage gold rush. The vast majority of the batteries Edison installed in 2016 were a direct result of the Aliso Canyon situation, Cushnie said.

“From the time of the mandate to do more energy storage as quickly as possible, it was about seven months total (until the projects came online), which in the energy business is an extremely accelerated time frame,” Cushnie said. “Those things typically take a couple years, if not longer, and it was done in seven months.”

RELATED: This bill could take energy storage to the next level

Large-scale batteries controlled by utilities aren’t the only type of energy storage. As the cost of lithium-ion batteries drops, smaller storage systems sold by companies like Tesla and sonnenBatterie are becoming more popular among homes and businesses, especially those with rooftop solar panels that can generate their own electricity.

A new bill in the state Legislature could make those small-scale batteries more affordable. Senate Bill 700, which was approved by the chamber’s Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee this week, would require Edison, PG&E and SDG&E to offer rebates for storage systems. According to the Senate’s bill analysis, the rebate program would be funded by utility ratepayers and cost at least $62.25 million per year, with up to a quarter of that money set aside for projects that benefit disadvantaged communities. The legislation was written by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco.

RELATED: Coachella Valley at forefront of energy storage

Californians can already get rebates for storage through the state’s Self-Generation Incentive Program, which will start accepting new rebate applications May 1. But the new program proposed in the Senate would have several key differences, according to Benjamin Airth, a senior project manager at the Center for Sustainable Energy, a San Diego-based nonprofit that supports the bill. Among those differences, the new program would also fund job-training initiatives to help the storage industry take off, Airth said.

“We want to give folks the resources to get trained to understand the codes and and standards, to make sure we get quality installations going out,” he said. “It’s a critical component to market transformation.”

These Southern California Power Companies Are Leading the Energy Storage Revolution, by Sammy Roth, The Desert Sun, April 28, 2017.

San Jacinto Soon to Offer Electric Power Choice

The San Jacinto Council has agreed to enter an administrative services contract with the City of Lancaster’s California Choice Energy Authority giving residents the opportunity to choose their electric services from the CCEA or keep their current provider Southern California Edison.

The two cities in the CCEA, for now, will continue to purchase its power from SCE at discount rates that in the long run council members believe would save both the city and ratepayers money on their electric bills.

The agreements with Lancaster and the CCEA would go into effect at early as September with San Jacinto creating a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) that will provide energy to its residents and businesses.

Mark Bozigian, Executive Director of the CCEA from Lancaster appeared at the city council meeting Tuesday, April 18, to answer questions from the council members.

He said Lancaster and San Jacinto currently are the only cities in the CCEA and representatives from each city would be on the CCEA board to make administrative and rate decisions. The CCEA administrators would negotiate with SCE and other electric power providers to get the best rates.

The Authority’s responsibilities would be to coordinate with SCE in launching the program in San Jacinto, prepare agreements for electric services with SCE, coordinate with the San Jacinto staff on development a marketing and notification materials, participate in city council meetings, provide technical support during key discussions and decision making, coordinate with regulatory agencies in needed reports and questions regarding CCA operations and participate in discussions or meetings with key customer accounts provide expertise in determining rates and environmental impacts.

The CCEA would do the power supply and services contracting with other agencies and in conjunction with the City’s selected legal counsel, support contract negotiation for desired products and services.

Under the agreement, the city would be paying startup costs of $160,000 to the CCEA spread over a five-month period at $32,000 a month through September’s probable startup time. The rate schedules would be updated at that time an offered to residents.

Councilman Alonzo Ledezma asked Bozigian if the residents of the city who have installed solar systems to their homes would still get the price breaks and credits for their extra energy. Bozigian and the staff noted the solar residents and other residents would keep the same special rate and energy saving programs they now have under the new CCA.

Complete information on the CCEA and CCA can be found on the San Jacinto City website www.ci.san-jacinto.ca.us under the city public records link for the April 18 meeting.

San Jacinto Soon to Offer Electric Power Choice, by Staff, Valley News, April 27, 2017.

SCE Is Attempting to Raise Rates; Hearings Are Planned in Fontana in May

Southern California Edison (SCE) is seeking to increase its electricity rates, and customers will get two chances to directly address the issue in Fontana in May.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will be holding public hearings on Tuesday, May 9 at 2 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. at the Jessie Turner Health and Fitness Center, 15556 Summit Avenue.

Interested persons are invited to attend. In addition to receiving comments from the public, customer service representatives from SCE will be available to assist with any customer billing and service concerns.

SCE is requesting to increase rates and revenue by $222 million by January of 2018, an additional increase of $533 million in 2019, and $570 million in 2020.

If the CPUC approves the application, the impact on non-CARE residential customers who use the system-wide average of 600 kWh per month would be about $3.75 a month in 2018. In 2019, the monthly increase would be about $5.65 and in 2020 the monthly increase would be about $7.29.

SCE said the primary reasons for the proposed revenue increases are:

1. Electric grid safety;

2. Reinforcing grid reliability, and grid resiliency in case of an emergency;

3. Improving customer service and communication, and offering customers more choices to meet their needs; and

4. Modernizing the electric grid to integrate distributed energy resources without compromising safety and reliability.

—– CUSTOMERS with Internet access may view and download SCE’s application and related exhibits on SCE’s website by following this procedure:

1. Go to www.sce.com/applications;

2. Scroll down to “2018 GRC” and click on the link;

3. The 2018 GRC application and testimony are presented in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format and can be viewed online, printed, or saved to a hard drive.

Anyone who would like to obtain more information about this application from SCE can write to: Southern California Edison Company, A.16-09-001 – SCE’s 2018 GRC, P.O. Box 800 Rosemead, CA 91770, Attention: Shinjini Menon, Director, General Rate Case

Persons who would like to follow this proceeding, or any other issue before the CPUC, may use the CPUC’s free subscription service by signing up at: http://subscribecpuc.cpuc.ca.gov/.

Persons may also access the CPUC’s Public Advisor Office (PAO) webpage at www.cpuc.ca.gov/pao/.

To contact the Public Advisor Office:

Send an Email: public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov

Write: Public Advisor’s Office, California Public Utilities Commission, 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102

Call: 1-415-703-2074

Toll-free: 1-866-849-8390

Reference Southern California Edison GRC Application No. A.16-09-001 in any communications with the CPUC regarding this matter.

SCE Is Attempting to Raise Rates; Hearings Are Planned in Fontana in MayFontana Herald News, May 1, 2017.

Solar Project at Joshua Tree Airport Put on Hold

JOSHUA TREE — The NextEra corporation is stopping, at least for now, construction of the solar farm planned in the old Roy Williams airport, a company official confirmed this week.

“We are not proceeding with immediate construction of the project,” Steven Stengel, a representative of NextEra, said.

Joshua Basin Water District General Manager Curt Sauer first announced the company’s turnaround at a board meeting on Wednesday.

Sauer said the project manager mentioned the hold on the project about three weeks ago.

“They decided that they will not pursue this project anymore at this time,” Sauer said in a phone interview. “They may decide to pursue it later, though,” he added.

The project, a utility-scale solar farm 2.3 miles from Joshua Tree National Park, has been under fire from some Joshua Tree residents for more than a year.

After the San Bernardino County Planning Commission approved a permit application from NextEra, a group of residents appealed the decision to the county board of supervisors.

The supervisors upheld the permit on Aug. 16, 2016.

Afterward, a group of locals and environmental groups sued the county and the corporation, saying standards for environmental protections had not been followed. David Fick, a Joshua Tree resident involved in the lawsuit, said litigation is ongoing with NextEra and its subsidiary, Joshua Tree Solar Farm LLC.

A lawsuit was also filed against the county by the SoCal Environmental Justice Alliance over the project, Fick said in August.

County court records show the group petitioned for a judicial order against Joshua Tree Solar Farm and San Bernardino County in May. They alleged the county and the company failed to prepare an environmental impact report or analyze all potentially significant effects of the project.

NextEra also wrangled with Joshua Basin Water District over water service. The water board at first voted against providing water for the project. Sauer made an agreement with the company, requiring it pay for a delivery of State Water Project water to replace the local water the project will use.

Sauer said the water that the company purchased from the state is still expected to replenish the aquifer in the spring.

The company bought 84 acre-feet from the state, which would last 40 years.

A construction crew hasn’t been on the property for some time. “There hasn’t been activity on-site since the middle of November,” Fick said.

Solar Project at Joshua Tree Airport Put on Hold, Leah Sanson, Hi-Desert Star, March 17, 2017.

Lovingood Offers New Plan for Economic Growth including Hotel Bed Tax Initiative

First District Supervisor and San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert Lovingood began a push for public support for, “A proven plan for economic growth.

San Bernardino County First District Supervisor and Board Chairman Robert Lovingood has a plan for “proven economic growth” in his county. Supervisor Lovingood’s plan includes Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), and he sees it as a way to create jobs. Neighboring Riverside County is evaluating its own CCA and Apple Valley is set to launch soon – the Inland Empire is heating up.

“In regards to the issue of Economic Development, the plan calls for an initiative to assist residents and manufacturers by lowering electric rates through a Community Choice Aggregation project or CCA. Under a CCA, the County would develop one or more solar projects and negotiate wholesale electric power agreements to provide discounted electricity to customers. CCAs currently operate in 1,300 communities in seven states. In California, the City of Lancaster and the counties of Marin and Sonoma have done a good job. CCAs provide competition that helps lower electrical rates. This will help both residential customers and prospective employers.”

Lovingood Offers New Plan for Economic Growth including Hotel Bed Tax Initiative, by S. E. Williams, The Alpenhorn News, February 18, 2017.

UC Riverside Is Building a Greenhouse That Will Produce Food and Solar Power

UC Riverside is building a greenhouse with a translucent roof that generates solar power while allowing sunlight to pass through to plants below.

The greenhouse will serve as a laboratory to probe the solar energy production, plant growth and costs of growing food in such systems, said Jeff Kaplan, a UCR associate vice chancellor.

“We see this as a strategy to use land for solar energy while simultaneously using it for agriculture,” said Kaplan, who oversees UCR’s sustainability programs.

The technology, developed at UC Santa Cruz, could potentially help usher in an era when greenhouses can produce food with no need for outside electricity to power fans or lights.

The solar panels at UCR will charge a battery in the 800-square foot greenhouse. The goal is for the system to make and store all the electricity the building needs without a connection to the campus electricity network. The construction budget is $174,000 with about $15,000 of that going for the panels, added Scott Donnell, a UCR project manager.

The university expects the greenhouse to be constructed in about two months, Donnell said. The researchers have yet to be named.

By controlling climate, water use and plant nutrition, greenhouses can produce food using a fraction of the land and water when compared with traditional field agriculture, said Glenn Alers, president of Soliculture, the startup company from Scotts Valley in Santa Cruz County that provides the translucent panels.

The problem is that greenhouses are costly to build and consume electricity for lighting, climate control, and ventilation systems. But these solar panels offset energy costs while also taking advantage of the greenhouse structure to hold up panels, Alers said by telephone.

The panels also have a cooling effect, which will help in hot areas and also extend the growing period for certain crops.

“We are improving the economics of greenhouses,” Alers said.

The panels work a dual function by parsing sunlight.

A portion of the light spectrum is used to make electricity, while the red light portion of the spectrum that plants need to grow is magnified as it passes through the panels. This gives the panels a distinctive dark pink hue.

Alers was the part of a research group at UC Santa Cruz that in 2011 developed the technology in the Thin-Film Optoelectronics Laboratory of physics professor Sue Carter.

The researchers were experimenting with a fluorescent dye that absorbs light to make solar panels more efficient, according to UC press statement. But these experimental panels didn’t use the red light that plants need, and let it pass through.

UCR won’t be the first to use these panels. They have been installed at the University of California’s Davis and Santa Cruz campuses. Commercial growers in Watsonville, Nipomono and near Edmonton, Canada, also have installed the panels.

The ability to grow plants under solar panels may have larger implications for the environment.

In 2015, a study by UC Riverside biologists found that most of California’s large-scale solar projects have caused new environmental problems by consuming land important for wildlife habitat, agriculture and recreation.

Translucent panels could perhaps someday allow for farm fields to grow crops and produce electricity.

But that will take time.

“We are now focusing on greenhouses,” Alers said.

UC Riverside Is Building a Greenhouse That Will Produce Food and Solar Power, by David Danelski, The Press-Enterprise, March 11, 2017.

Our View: The Choice seems clear in Apple Valley

The Town of Apple Valley held public information meetings last week about its new Choice Energy program, attracting large crowds of interested residents.

Though a few seem to see conspiracies and ulterior motives in just about anything the Town Council is involved in, for us this state-approved program seems like a win-win for residents and the town.

It’s not a big win-win, mind you, but it’s still a win.

When April 1 rolls around, the town will become the electricity provider for all its residents and businesses, unless they opt out. The good news for Apple Valley residents is that will result in a 3 percent savings on a portion of their monthly electric bill, the portion that applies to electricity generation. It’s not a 3 percent savings on your entire bill.

For most people, that 3 percent will only amount to a dollar or two every month. The higher your electricity use, the more you’ll save. For Apple Valley businesses that consume a lot of electricity, it will be more helpful. Because of that, this program should be an incentive for businesses thinking about relocating to consider Apple Valley.

But even if you only save a buck or two, it’s a buck or two better than you’ll do if you continue with Southern California Edison as your electricity provider. Just about everything seems to be going up these days, from gasoline to food, so we say take any savings you can get. Plus, if you have solar installed on your home, Apple Valley’s program will pay you double for your excess energy compared to what Edison does.

Though some are concerned about the $2.5 million loan the town is taking from its General Fund to pay for start up costs, we don’t see a big reason to worry. Town officials say the loan will be repaid with interest and the electricity they purchase will be paid for by residents who receive it. There’s not a big financial risk here.

Not a lot of people are familiar with the Community Choice Aggregation program that Apple Valley is becoming part of, but it has been around for several years and more and more cities and counties are joining. The prime reason many have decided to do so is not so much to try to save residents money but to be able to access more renewable energy. Californians has been the nation’s green energy leader, as we can see from all the rooftop solar in the High Desert and throughout the state.

Remember, the state has mandated utility companies to obtain 33 percent of all their energy from renewable sources by 2020 and that percentage rises to 50 by 2030. Apple Valley Choice Energy already has met the 2020 mandate with its five-year contract with Shell and the town feels confident it will meet the 2030 mandate too.

In fact, Apple Valley residents who feel strongly about reducing their carbon footprint can do so by paying $2 per month to ensure at least 50 percent of their electricity comes from renewable sources.

Our View: The Choice seems clear in Apple Valley, by Daily Press Editorial Board, Daily Press, March 11, 2017.