County of San Diego Board of Supervisors are expected to vote in January on whether to conduct a feasibility study on regards to following the recent decision by cities in Northern California, to implement ‘community choice aggregation’.
Nicole Capretz, the director of the nonprofit Climate Action Campaign, is lobbying cities to move forward on community choice, stating “the cities are working together to explore the energy program”.
“These are smaller cities and so it’s important for them to band together to figure out how to collectively achieve the same goals,” she said. “It will hopefully get our region to believe that we can have a 100 percent clean energy future. The more that everybody is coordinating and collaborating and communicating, the better for the public.”
Capretz claims Encinitas is looking for funding for a feasibility study for multiple North County cities, “If they band together they’re going to have more customers and, thus, have more revenue and, thus, have more negotiating power when they enter into agreements with energy providers,”.
SDG&E and its parent company Sempra Energy are lobbying against those plans. Earlier this year SDG&E became the first utility in the state to form an independent marketing district, allowing it to sidestep a law barring utilities from expressing opinions on community choice.
What is Community Choice Aggregation?
Right now, San Diego Gas & Electric provides power through its system of lines and wires to every city in San Diego County and southern Orange County. SDG&E buys the electricity from a variety of sources, including natural gas plants, hydroelectric dams and wind turbine farms.
If a city goes with community choice aggregation, power would still go through SDG&E’s grid, but the city would buy the energy, not the utility. That allows cities to have more control over how much of their energy comes from renewable sources and the cost for that electricity.
Community Choice Aggregation – San Diego County, Borrego Sun, December 1, 2016.