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By Bruce Naegel, January 2016.
The Community Choice Energy (CCE) partnerships in San Mateo and Santa Clara County moved closer to serving more renewable electrical electricity in 2016 and 2017. Key votes in Atherton, Cupertino, Morgan Hill, Sunnyvale, and the County of San Mateo all voted for their respective CCEs in December.
CCE partnerships are buying cooperatives for electrical energy that allow a city or multiple cities to optimize the electricity supplied to the public. In California, the optimization has been to supply electrical energy with a higher renewable energy content at an equal or lower price than the incumbent utility. They are able to do this based on their nonprofit status and the continuing drop in renewable energy pricing.
In Santa Clara County, the proposed CCE organization is called the Silicon Valley Clean Energy Authority (SVCEA). Currently three cities (Cupertino, Morgan Hill and Sunnyvale and have approved being part of SVCEA, Meetings for the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara county and Campbell, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Mountain View and Saratoga are scheduled to take place in January and March.
In San Mateo County the proposed CCE organization is called Peninsula Clean Energy. Atherton,and San Mateo County have approved joining. The towns of Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Colma, Daly City, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Menlo Park, Portola Valley, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco and Woodside have all started working through the approval process.
Why all the excitement about CCEs?
First driving up the amount of renewable energy in the energy mix is a key part of reducing a city’s carbon footprint. All cities are required to put together plans for reducing their carbon footprint. The state of California has legislated goals to get to 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 80% renewable energy by 2050. These are state mandates. If a city wants to guarantee they can get to a goal faster, the CCE is a way to do that with minimum impact to the consumers and little expense to the city.
Second, the CCEs in Marin and Sonoma counties have delivered more renewable energy at the same or lower price as the incumbent utility.
Third, moving to a CCE has been smooth and easy for the electrical consumers in general and for the CCEs in Sonoma and Marin Counties. Both CCEs have increased membership over time.
What can you do to help move this effort forward?
There are city council and informational meetings scheduled in early 2016 in San Mateo and Santa Clara County with votes of the councils on their plans to join the CCEs in their area. If you have an interest, please look at the web sites below to see when the meeting in your town is scheduled.
Santa Clara http://www.svcleanenergy.org/app_pages/view/202