West Hollywood Opts in for 100% Renewable Energy

On February 20th, the West Hollywood City Council voted to opt in to Clean Power Alliance’s 100% clean energy option. Clean Power Alliance (CPA), formally Los Angeles Community Choice Energy (LACCE), is the largest Community Choice Energy program in the state.

Joining a community choice program has been a goal for the city since 2015 when they decided to participate in a financial feasibility study. After debating between joining CPA or South Bay Clean Power, the city officially filed to join CPA in September of 2017.

West Hollywood ultimately decided that the completely renewable option was in line with the city’s goal to lower their carbon footprint. With this option, customers are expected to pay 7% more than if they were to stick with Southern California Edison’s standard energy services. However, sticking with Edison means that only 34% of the energy would be renewable. Giving customers the option between CPA and Edison creates competition that benefits electricity consumers.

Here a link to the agenda packet with item 2AA, the staff report that goes with it, and the video of the meeting. CCA discussion begins at about hour 3:

http://weho.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=22&clip_id=3184

Southern California Edison Offers $10,000 Incentive On BMW i3

California is different from the rest of the United States. People there are deeply committed to renewable energy, eliminating fossil fuels, and protecting the environment. Even its utility companies embrace clean energy, albeit as a result of an aggressive Renewable Power Standard mandated by the state government.

Southern California Edison, which serves customers in the greater Los Angeles area, has just announced it is cooperating with BMW to offer a $10,000 rebate to customers who purchase a BMW i3 electric car between now and April 30. To qualify, customers must prove they are an SCE customer and the car must be purchased, not leased. SCE employees are eligible for the rebate as well.

The offer pertains to any model of the i3, including the REx with its onboard range extender engine and the performance-oriented i3s. The standard version of the i3 now has 114 miles of range. The i3s has 107 miles of range and the REx can go 97 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in. In addition to the $10,000 rebate from BMW, the utility adds another $450 under its Clean Fuel Reward program.

Adding all the incentives together, a person who wants a new BMW i3 can save a total of $20,450 — $7,500 from the federal tax credit, $2,500 from the state of California zero emission grant program, $10,000 from BMW, and $450 from SCE. It’s almost enough to make a person want to move to Los Angeles!

“Widespread adoption of electric cars is critical in meeting California’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030,” says Katie Sloan, a spokeperson for SCE. “The transportation sector accounts for nearly half of California’s greenhouse gas emissions and more than 80% of its air pollution. As we add more renewable resources to the grid, electric vehicles will become increasingly beneficial to the environment.”

The program will help BMW move some of its i3 cars off dealer lots. Even with its new 33 kWh battery and longer range, the i3 still has less range than most other electric cars and sales have been modest at best. Still, it drives like a BMW and looks like nothing else on the road. Whether or not that is a good thing is a matter of personal choice. The i3 lists for $44,450. Put all the incentives together and it’s almost like getting the car for half off. Gotta love a deal like that!

Hat tip to Kyle Field

 

Southern California Edison Offers $10,000 Incentive On BMW i3, by Steve Hanley, Clean Technica, February 15, 2018. 

After much debate Redondo Beach joins county clean energy program

After debating the issue at six meetings beginning last year and for nearly two hours again on Tuesday, the Redondo Beach City Council overcame a mayor’s veto and approved joining a county-led effort to offer cheaper, more renewable energy.

In theory, community choice aggregation would save ratepayers money. Clean Power Alliance (formerly Los Angeles Community Choice Energy) claims Redondo Beach residents could save as much as 4 percent on their total power bill when they switch from Southern California Edison.

In addition, money accrued by the CCA could be used to build local renewable power generating facilities such as a solar panel farm. But, whether those savings will be realized, or whether costs might actually increase for ratepayers has been the subject of debate.

In December after a lengthy discussion, the council voted 3-2 to join the county CCA. Less than a week later, the California Public Utility Commission announced a proposed rule that would have had severe impacts on new CCAs. The news led Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand to issue a veto.

Since then, the CPUC rule has reportedly been softened, and on Tuesday the council reversed the mayor’s veto with a 4-1 vote when Councilmember Laura Emdee switched her vote from No to Yes.

“I originally voted against joining the CCA because I thought it was risky and didn’t relate to our core business, but since then, some things have changed,” Emdee said.

Councilmember Nils Nehrenheim, who continued to oppose CCAs, questioned interim executive director Bill Carnahan from the Clean Power Alliance.

At primary issue are power charge indifference adjustments or PCIA fees. An investor-owned utility  can charge a customer for the cost of procuring energy on that customer’s behalf when the customer ends service. In the case of community choice aggregation, those fees could build up as they acquire more customers. The public utility commission is expected to make a final ruling on PCIA fees in September.

“If utilities get their way, the utility costs could go up and it’s a big deal,” Nehrenheim said.

The county Clean Power Alliance, meanwhile, is predicting a $15 million deficit in the first three years. That made Nehrenheim wonder aloud whether that number could possible double or even triple with stiffer PCIA fees.

“Having deficits in the first three years is like any startup,” said Carnahan in response. “I don’t think it’s a given the PCIA fees are going to go up and I haven’t heard anyone predicting the numbers you’re throwing out there, though I won’t say it won’t happen.”

Another issue involved exit fees. If rates go higher, Nehrenheim asked for a guarantee there won’t be any exit fees should the city decide to go back to SCE. Carnahan said while it wasn’t possible to eliminate potential exit fees entirely, with enough advanced notice, they could bring them down substantially.

Sweeping the land

The concept of community choice aggregation has been sweeping the country in recent years beginning in Marin County about 15 years ago. By 2025 it’s estimated that 85 percent of California customers will receive energy through a CCA. In Los Angeles County, 28 cities, now 29 with the inclusion of Redondo Beach, have joined Clean Power Alliance.

The CCA, which operates under a joint powers agreement with member cities, began offering energy directly in February to county-owned properties as an initial roll-out phase. Carnahan said already the CCA was able to offer energy sourced from 68 percent renewable as opposed to 38 percent from Edison previously, and it comes with 2 percent lower costs, Carnahan said.

Redondo Beach ratepayers could start seeing changes in their bill as early as October. Customers who want to remain with SCE as their energy provider can opt out of the CCA.

Redondo Beach is not the only city to have second thoughts. Torrance and Hermosa Beach have both decided to hold off on the idea. Manhattan Beach voted to join in December and Rolling Hills Estates was one of the first three cities to sign on last year.

Claremont had 10 meetings before they joined and South Pasadena went through close to 15 public hearings in various committees, according to Carnahan, who said he and others with the CCA have made 140 presentations to about 40 cities.

Public power

Councilmember Todd Lowenstein, who voted for joining the CCA in December but later supported Brand’s veto, seemed to waiver on the subject over the past two months. In January he made the motion that extended the discussion to Tuesday night when he eventually voted in favor.

“You feel we could be protected because of this?” Loewenstein asked Carnahan regarding the latest draft rule from the CPUC. The draft rule involves a concept known as resource adequacy requirements, essentially ensuring that CCAs have enough energy secured so that customers do not experience blackouts.

“Since we have more renewables in the game that becomes more important,” Carnahan said.

Last month an agreement was reached to allow CCAs to negotiate directly with investor-owned utilities for additional energy to meet those resource adequacy requirements.

With its participation, Redondo Beach will occupy two seats on the Clean Power Alliance board of directors with voting ability on key decisions such as what to buy with potential savings. Another issue for Nehrenheim was the make-up of the board and the possibility in the event of a veto by three board members for a weighted vote based on the size of member organizations.

Carnahan, who had a long career in the utility business before retiring and later taking on the role as interim director, said the makeup of the board would ensure local control.

“This is the closest thing to public power as you can get,” Carnahan said.

 

After much debate Redondo Beach joins county clean energy program, by David Rosenfeld, The Beach Reporter, February 14, 2018. 

Los Angeles Community Choice Energy Becomes Clean Power Alliance

In a media release from the Los Angeles Chief Sustainability Office, Los Angeles Community Choice Energy (LACCE) has re-branded to Clean Power Alliance. In addition to the name change the Alliance has appointed a new Executive Director and have announced that they are currently providing energy to the county’s municipal buildings. This is the largest CCA in California with service coming to 25 cities and counting. Click below to read the full media release.

Download report

EVgo Partners With California’s Newport Beach For 20 New EV Charging Stations

EV Growth & Charging Infrastructure Expansion Go Together Like Peanut Butter & Jelly

Ten years ago, the main question around the new field of electric mobility (e-mobility) was the chicken and the egg one. Do we need EVs first and charging stations after or vice versa? The answer was a little bit of both, and as we see an explosion of EVs now, the charging station infrastructure is finally booming as well.

EVgo is the latest charging station company to make headways expanding its reach. Its network of public EV fast charging stations is increasing again thanks to an extra 20 new ones in Newport Beach, California.

The City of Newport Beach held a ribbon-cutting ceremony with EVgo representatives for the opening of the new charging stations. They are available for public use at the Newport Beach Civic Center, the Marina Park Community Center and Sailing Center, the OASIS Senior Center, and the Newport Coast Community Center.

According to Terry O’Day, Vice President of Market Development at EVgo: “We are delighted to work with the City of Newport Beach to expand electric vehicle charging options in Orange County with convenient charging options that fit into the lifestyle of our customers. EVs are rapidly becoming more popular and with so many advanced electrified models on the horizon, we at EVgo are working diligently to expand the infrastructure to support our electrified future.

The Charging Infrastructure Plan

One of the highlights of the project is that it includes a mix of both Level 2 and DC fast charging stations. There’s debate on the future of EV charging, but I think there’s a strong case that Level 2 charging is still a viable and potential segment of the industry. If Level 2 can charge a typical EV in 3–8 hours, that’s still a good period of time for home, workplace, or even some out-and-about charging. DC fast charging stations can do 80% in 20 minutes to one hour, but they cost considerably more. As far as down-to-Earth financials, having a station with two fast chargers and four Level 2 chargers means the majority of EVs can charge on the Level 2 chargers while leaving fast chargers for the few who are in a hurry and are OK paying for the premium.

unconventional solar in CaliforniaFunding for the projects was provided by EVgo in conjunction with the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s AB 2766 Motor Vehicle Subvention Program, as well as with the California Public Utility Commission. These projects work with California’s initiative to encourage zero-emission transport in the state. You can find out more about Governor Brown’s Executive Order (B-16-2012) if you want to get into the nuts and bolts, but the gist of it is a long-term goal of reaching 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles in California by 2025. The program provides funding sources for projects such as this EVgo + Newport Beach one.

EVgo Keeps Plowing Forward

EVgo already operates one of the largest public DC fast charging networks in the country. It now has over 1,000 fast charging stations in 66 metro areas in the US. These chargers support all current charging standards.

Providing a flexible charging network will help further fuel the mass adoption of EVs. Growing the charging infrastructure is the next important development to get more EVs out there and reassure those still on the fence. Congratulations, EVgo, and thanks for the leadership!

 

EVgo Partners With California’s Newport Beach For 20 New EV Charging Stations, by Nicholas Zart, Clean Technia, January 25, 2018.

Redondo waits on joining energy program

Redondo Beach Councilman Todd Loewenstein was the center of attention for about an hour at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, as his colleagues debated around him, and appealed to him, to sway his vote on the City Council’s bid to override Mayor Bill Brand’s veto against joining a regional electrical power program.

Their efforts were for naught, at least for now: Loewenstein pushed to continue the discussion in a month after a pivotal resolution regarding on Community Choice Aggregation programs is decided on by the California Public Utilities Commission.

The Redondo Beach City Council approved a resolution to join the Los Angeles Community Choice Energy program on Dec. 19 by a 3-2 vote. LACCE is an LA County-developed program intended to offer customers cheaper utility rates by competing against investor-owned utilities. Such programs also emphasize using sustainable power generation.

LACCE states they will serve about 2.5 million customers, including residents of nearly 24 member cities and unincorporated county areas. Should Redondo join, all residents would be automatically enrolled in the program, with the option to opt out, at low or no cost, to continue buying power from Southern California Edison.

But a draft resolution by the CPUC would alter the rules for new and expanding CCA programs, pushing back the timeline for CCAs to begin power service to ensure enough power is purchased to keep the region’s electrical grid from experiencing brownouts. Initially planned for Jan. 11, the CPUC’s decision on the resolution is planned for Feb. 8.

Mayor Bill Brand vetoed the decision to join LACCE, after a letter from Manhattan Beach Acting City Manager Bruce Moe stated the CPUC resolution would “increase exit fees on local customers [and] potentially impose financial burdens on local governments.”

Last week, Council members Horvath, Gran and Laura Emdee voted to bring a discussion of overturning Brand’s veto.

Councilman Nils Nehrenheim made a stand against the LACCE program, arguing that he doesn’t believe in their economic model. LACCE, he said, would run at a deficit for three years. City staff also noted that the City would lose an estimated $90,000 per year due to lost utility user tax revenue.

Council members John Gran and Christian Horvath tried to assuage Loewenstein, believing that the City could back out of an agreement, no-harm, no-foul, if a decision was made quickly.

Horvath also argued that the City should endeavor to be a leader in environmental changes, quoting Loewenstein as calling climate change “the existential crisis of our time.”

But Loewenstein opted toward caution.

“I’m a big proponent of CCAs…they put the pressure on the [CPUC] to go greener and get lower rates for ratepayers, not to mention it’s the right thing to do,” Loewenstein said. “But I think we need to wait a few weeks to do this…we make decisions based on all the facts, and I don’t think all of the facts are in yet. I don’t think three weeks is going to kill us.”

A 4-1 vote, with Councilman John Gran dissenting in a stand to support joining the CCA that night, carried. The Council will revisit overturning Brand’s veto on Feb. 13.

 

Redondo waits on joining energy program, by David Mendez, Easy Reader News, January 20, 2018.

 

How much Whittier businesses, residents might save with its new electricity provider

A year from now, Whittier businesses and residents will not be getting their electricity from Southern California Edison but a new agency.

Although a joint powers authority — comprised of about two dozen cities in Los Angeles County — would provide the power, Edison will continue to bill the Whittier-based customers directly.

The City Council voted 4-0 last week to join the so-called Los Angeles Community Choice Energy Joint Powers Authority. Its cost to consumers could be slightly cheaper — maybe as much as 1 or 2 percent less — and significantly more of the electricity will be derived from renewable sources, such as solar or wind, city officials said.

“This will lower the costs and step into sustainable energy options, which is a big thing for us,” said Councilman Fernando Dutra, who will represent the city on the authority’s board. “We’re not just talking the talk but walking the walk.”

The council still needs to decide on price and source, most likely in the next month. The amount of power that comes from renewable sources will determine how much discount the consumer sees, Gary Gero, chief sustainability officer for Los Angeles County.

For example, if 100 percent of the energy is renewable, prices actually will increase by a small amount, Gero said. If it’s 50 percent, businesses and residents will save from 1-2 percent. If the city sets a 33 percent target for renewables, the savings likely would total 4-5, he added.

About 28 percent of the power purchased by Edison now comes from renewable sources, Gero said.

Dutra plans to recommend the council set a 50 percent mark, he said. “It’s a safe compromise,” he said.

The authority isn’t likely to take over for Edison until Jan. 1, 2019, Gero said. While the authority will purchase the power, Edison will continue to distribute it.

The state and Edison require a nine-month lead before the authority can begin providing power, he said.

Whittier’s businesses and residents will be enrolled automatically with the authority unless they affirmatively opt out. City officials are expected to notify the public through a variety of ways, Gero said.

In many cases, other than the smaller bills, customers will notice little change, Gero said. For example, Edison’s summer discount program and the “California Climate Credits” that customers receive every April and October likely will continue. The latter is money distributed from the state’s cap and trade auction, he said.

Whittier Councilwoman Cathy Warner abstained on the proposal, saying she wants an third-party consultant to study the proposal first.

“I don’t have enough independent information to make a good decision,” Warner said.

Last year, Pico Rivera similarly went into the power businesss but it is partnering with the city of Lancaster.

 

 

How much Whittier businesses, residents might save with its new electricity provider, by Mike Sprague, Whittier Daily News, January 15, 2018

SoCal Edison electric vehicle pilots focus on heavy-duty, fleet uses

SCE’s projects, like all of the pilots approved by the CPUC, are relatively small and targeted. Each is expected to cost less than $4 million and take less than a year to implement. The utility is largely focused on researching adoption and how charging stations are utilized.

While officials say electric vehicles will be a key factor in balancing the grid, it is still premature to be looking at widespread adoption of vehicle-to-grid services. SCE’s proposals do not include demand management or grid services aspects.

Laura Renger, SCE’s principal manager of air and climate policy, said the utility sees electric vehicles as “mobile distributed resources” with the capability of soaking up excess renewable energy or assisting with grid management.

“EVs are incredibly important, and not just because of greenhouse gas emissions,” Renger said. “They are also a beneficial grid resource. … As we move to solar overgeneration, we’ll have a lot of extra capacity on the grid.”

SCE proposed five projects, but an EV ridesharing proposal was rejected.

A residential “Make-Ready Rebate Pilot” will provide rebates to help offset the cost of installing an EV charger, including installing a new circuit, panel or new meter socket. The rebate does not cover costs for charging equipment, and the utility believes up to 5,000 residential customers could participate.

SCE is also proposing to deploy and operate five DC fast chargers in urban areas, with up to five dual-port charging stations at each site resulting in up to 50 new fast charging ports. The utility is looking at urban clusters of fast chargers located near apartments, hoping to entice adoption from renters without a permanent parking space or dedicated charger. SCE would install, own and maintain the make-ready infrastructure at the participating customer sites.

Site hosts will be able to select from multiple approved DCFC stations, and receive a rebate to cover the base cost of the charging stations. SCE says potential site hosts could include cities, parking lot operators and EV service providers that provide public access to the DCFC stations.

On the fleet side of EV infrastructure, SCE will roll out make-ready infrastructure at bus depots and along bus routes to serve electric commuter buses. The utility will provide a rebate to participating customers to cover the cost of the charging equipment and installation. The goal of the program is to expand the number of electric buses operating in the area.

SCE will also develop sites for nine electric cranes to be installed at the Port of Long Beach. Currently, the cranes use on-board diesel engines to power the electric lift and propulsion drives. SCE will remove the diesel engines and provide a high voltage utility connection and the electric infrastructure to power the cranes. Similarly, SCE will also prepare the site for electric yard tractors.

Renger said California simply won’t be able to meet its 2030 goals without a large push to electrify all areas of the transportation sector. “We have the size and scale to really bring about market transformation,” she said. “We cannot meet the 2030 greenhouse gas goals without significant investment in electric vehicles.”

That means 7 million EVs on the road, 80% of the state’s energy coming from carbon-free sources and 30% of space and water heating electrified, according to an SCE white paper.

 

SoCal Edison electric vehicle pilots focus on heavy-duty, fleet uses, by Robert Walton, Utility Dive, January 12, 2018

Redondo Beach mayor vetoes clean energy commitment, drawing rebuke

Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand had a change of heart about the city joining a Los Angeles County effort aimed at bringing lower energy costs from more alternative sources.

The City Council voted 3-2 at its final meeting of the year on Dec. 16 to join Los Angeles Community Choice Energy (LACCE), a joint powers authority created by the county to aggregate the buying power of individual municipalities to procure energy.

On Dec. 21, however, Brand vetoed the decision, drawing a stern rebuke from Gary Gero, the county’s chief sustainability officer.

“I am deeply disappointed that the residents and businesses of Redondo Beach will not be joining nearly 3 million others across Southern California in having a choice in their energy provider, but will remain subject to the monopoly of SCE (Southern California Edison),” Gero wrote in a letter to Brand and other councilmembers.

Risk not worth reward

Known as Community Choice Aggregation programs, nonprofits such as the one forming in Los Angeles County have been sprouting up throughout the country as an alternative to investor-owned utility companies.

The arrangements allow local governments to secure energy at lower costs to consumers and from greater sources of alternative fuels than currently being offered. In addition, profits can be plowed back into lower rates or local power generating projects such as subsidies for solar panels, according to supporters.

But Brand, along with Councilmembers Laura Emdee and Nils Nehrenheim, who voted against the plan, saw drawbacks such as the potential costs for getting out of the deal if it doesn’t work out.

“While I am a strong proponent of renewable energy and support the aggressive goal setting that has put California at the forefront of implementation of new technologies … I am concerned about exposing Redondo Beach to unnecessary financial risk associated with joining this particular Joint Powers Authority at this time,” Brand wrote in explaining his veto.

Brand suggested the risk was not worth the reward given the projected single-digit percentage savings. He also cited potential exit fees of more than $1 million.

But Gero, in responding to Brand’s veto, said the mayor was misinformed.

“Cities that seek to withdraw from the JPA may do so at no cost,” Gero wrote. “This can be achieved by providing notice of your intent to withdraw so that LACCE no longer purchases power on behalf of your residents and businesses and waiting until any contracts for previously purchased power have expired.”

Exit fees questioned

Gero further explained that the LACCE board amended its agreement at the request of Redondo Beach to indicate that if a city wanted to withdraw, LACCE would use its best efforts to sell any power procured on behalf of the city.

“The withdrawing city would then only be liable for the marginal difference between the purchase and sale prices which is likely to be minimal and may in fact be zero,” Gero wrote.

Another issue Brand mentioned to explain his veto stemmed from a proposed rule change by the California Public Utilities Commission designed to undermine the formation of CCAs by reducing the financial incentive to join.

“These requirements should be finalized before Redondo Beach joins one,” Brand wrote.

In Manhattan Beach, where city councilmembers decided to join the county CCA in November, the council unanimously voted to sign onto a letter in December urging the CPUC not to go forward with its proposed rules. In Hermosa Beach, city officials are still discussing the matter.

Gero argued the county CCA has built into its business plan any potential increase in costs that could come out of the CPUC and that hundreds of other municipalities that have CCAs are at the table and can help steer the public utility commission.

“Waiting to join a community choice energy program until the increase has occurred is not a financially sound strategy,” Gero wrote.

But in a separate letter to area cities including one to Manhattan Beach, Gero writes that the rules would “significantly harm CCA formation and have serious economic impacts on CCA programs.”

The proposed CPUC action would essentially attempt to slow down CCA growth in California and enact a de facto “CCA freeze,” according to an analysis by California Community Choice Association. The rules would also delay new communities from joining or forming CCAs, increasing exit fees on customers, potentially imposing financial burdens on local governments and circumventing standard public input processes, the group reported.

Councilmember Christian Horvath said he was shocked and dismayed by Brand’s veto. Horvath has supported the idea of creating a CCA for the past three to four years as it was being discussed on a regional basis with 14 cities under the proposed South Bay Clean Energy CCA. That effort, which required greater buy-in costs, has since gone on hiatus while the county CCA gained momentum.

“CCAs are a newer way to look at energy procurement,” Horvath said. “As more and more people are concerned about climate change and renewable energy I think that’s why you are seeing more CCAs pop up around the country. It’s clearly working.”

Horvath points to Marin Clean Energy and Sonoma Clean Power as CCAs that are successful, both saving ratepayers money and supporting more alternative energy sources.

How does it work?

Every day as electricity arrives at your home or business, that power is coming from a multitude of sources, each procured by Southern California Edison.

If the city decides eventually to join a CCA for ratepayers, your electric bill will still look the same. Only instead of receiving energy from SCE, ratepayers would be receiving power from sources that were procured by the nonprofit CCA.

Rather than needing to opt in to the program, such as those currently available for green energy incentives, ratepayers would be automatically enrolled with the choice to opt out. Ratepayers can currently decide to consumer power from a greater share of alternative sources, but they need to seek those programs out.

“In the CCA, the revenue that comes in goes back out,” Horvath said. “Because it’s a nonprofit scenario, any money the CCA makes can be used to reinvest back into the CCA to afford customers lower rates or incentives to create generation or storage on their own properties or any other type of green initiative that people are interested in locally.”

SCE publicly has no problem with this idea because the company no longer focuses on power generation. But for those utilities that do still generate electricity to a large degree, CCAs represent a threat.

“You have to ask yourself and especially Mayor Brand who is against a lot of big business, why he would even shutter,” Horvath said. “When utilities are trying to shut down CCAs, that should send up red flags.”

1/4/18: This article was corrected to reflect that Councilmember Laura Emdee voted against joining LACCE and not Todd Lowenstein. 

 

Redondo Beach mayor vetoes clean energy commitment, drawing rebuke, by David Rosenfeld, The Beach Reporter, January 4, 2018.

Malibu Heading Toward More Energy Independence

You could soon be powering your house on wind or solar energy—whether or not you install solar panels—thanks to a popular program that Malibu is about to become part of.

Malibu is set to join a rapidly growing movement of cities in Los Angeles County saying goodbye to traditional energy sources.

That’s the result of a unanimous vote by city council last month that took the city one step closer to joining a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program, bypassing energy supplied by Southern California Edison.

The final vote on this decision is expected at the next city council meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 10.

According to information provided by city staffers, the CCA system allows an individual city or a group of cities the ability to purchase energy themselves, rather than going through a supplier such as Southern California Edison.

At the Sept. 25 Malibu City Council meeting, Sustainability Director Craig George explained how the system works.

“The source of the CCA is the buying and building of electrical supply, the delivery is by Southern California Edison and then the customer would be purchasing that energy as a CCA member,” George explained.

In other words, Malibu—and other cities Malibu aligns itself with—would have the power to negotiate the purchase of energy from various sources. Malibu would receive one vote on a board of however many other cities join together.

“The City of Malibu has the ability to opt in to participate in those programs,” George said, later adding, “And then, as a benefit to the citizens and the businesses of the City of Malibu, if they decided they didn’t want to participate in a CCA, they have the ability to opt out.”

At the time of the September meeting, four cities had joined together to form a group called the LACCE—Los Angeles Community Choice Energy. By December 20, 27 cities had joined.

“I think it’s pretty clear that our city should adopt the LACCE program,” Council Member Laura Rosenthal told her colleagues at the last city council meeting. “Oxnard just did it last night and a lot of cities that are near us—Thousand Oaks, Calabasas, Agoura Hills, West Hollywood, Santa Monica… I think, you know, there’s got to be a reason why they’re all doing it and I think we should join.”

The other incentive for the city to join a CCA program is an anticipated drop in energy costs—though that only comes if the city does not opt into 100 percent renewable energy source options.

“Southern California Edison, with a 33 percent renewable [source], is 17 cents per kilowatt. The CCA is a little bit cheaper,” George described to council at the September meeting. “If the CCA decided to go to a 100 percent renewable [source], the prices go up a little bit more, but … it does provide you with an option that you’re getting all clean, renewable energy.

“If the city wants to send a message that they are a sustainable city and have that option, that’s there, if we choose to go forward with that,” George said.

Current Mayor Skylar Peak and Mayor Pro Tem Rick Mullen were voted in as a representative and an alternate to the LACCE board.

 

Malibu Heading Toward More Energy Independence, By Emily Sawicki, The Malibu Times, January 3, 2018