August 24, 2016
Clean Power Exchange, a program of the Center for Climate Protection, released new survey results about local and renewable energy. According to the survey, electric utility ratepayers in the San Joaquin Valley – from San Joaquin County to Tulare County – are interested in alternatives to the current energy system.
A majority of ratepayers want a choice regarding their electricity service, and they want electricity generated locally with revenues reinvested into the local economy. They also recognize the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and believe that it is important that their electricity come from clean sources.
“Energy is a lot like water in that it is a resource upon which our lives and economies are built,” said Mike Dozier, Executive Director of the Office of Community and Economic Development at Fresno State. “People in the San Joaquin Valley understand that we need to make some real changes to ensure a sustainable future-both economically and environmentally. There’s no better time to explore that here than now,” he said.
Ratepayers across the state have been watching their cost of electricity steadily rise for over thirty years, increasing at a rate of about 4% per year. Meanwhile, state legislators are ramping up requirements to slash greenhouse gas emissions and increase the state’s portfolio of renewable energy sources.
“We conducted this survey in the San Joaquin Valley to find out what ratepayers are thinking as the energy landscape changes so rapidly,” said Ann Hancock, Executive Director of the Center for Climate Protection, the non-profit organization that manages Clean Power Exchange. “We were pleased that folks in California’s heartland are similar to people throughout the state, meaning concerned about climate change and very interested in local solutions to lower emissions.”
|San Joaquin County||Fresno County||Tulare County||Stockton||Fresno||Visalia||Combined|
|Important for electricity to come from clean sources||72%||69%||71%||72%||75%||71%||71%|
|Important to reduce GHGs||74%||71%||72%||75%||75%||73%||73%|
|Want choice in how electricity is generated||73%||66%||67%||73%||68%||65%||69%|
|Local clean/renewable energy owned by community||71%||67%||67%||69%||71%||71%||68%|
|Supportive of local electricity when $ reinvested locally||69%||66%||69%||71%||66%||70%||69%|
|Pay more for clean power||24%||23%||25%||25%||23%||26%||24%|
|Won’t pay any more for clean power||27%||32%||30%||23%||32%||30%||21%|
|Dissatisfied with bill||37%||35%||28%||37%||35%||26%||34%|
|Satisfied with bill||59%||60%||66%||59%||58%||70%||61%|
“The results tell us that the San Joaquin Valley is poised to benefit from a local energy program being employed in other parts of the state. It’s called Community Choice Energy (or Community Choice Aggregation),” said Hancock. “It introduces choice and competition into the monopoly energy industry, giving local jurisdictions the independence to deliver innovative programs and lower rates to their residents and businesses,” she said.
Community Choice Energy is a local program, governed by cities and/or counties, that buys and generates electricity for its businesses and residents. Programs are currently operational in Marin County, Sonoma County, the City of Lancaster, and the City of San Francisco. Another program in San Mateo County is launching later this year, with several others set to launch in 2017.
“These new, locally-controlled, not-for-profit agencies have been proving since 2010 that cleaner electricity can be provided at lower rates than the large utilities,” said Hancock, whose organization helped launch Sonoma Clean Power.
“Through this innovative new program, we have succeeded in not only increasing the renewable energy content consumed by the citizens of Lancaster, but also lowering their energy rates,” said R. Rex Parris, mayor of Lancaster where California’s third Community Choice program launched in 2015. “This places money squarely in the pockets of Lancaster residents and businesses, giving them more purchasing power while also keeping more money right here in our local economy,” he said.
Several local policymakers in the Valley, from Stockton to Visalia, have expressed interest in exploring Community Choice Energy as a long-term solution to stabilize electricity rates and lower emissions.
Survey results for cities: Stockton, Fresno, Visalia
Survey results for counties: San Joaquin, Fresno, Tulare