Electricity Markets

Calif. cities move to form community choice aggregation entity

The City Council of Del Mar, Calif., on Oct. 7 agreed to partner with neighboring cities to form a community choice energy program designed to provide residents and businesses with more renewable energy.

That action, and the adoption of an implementation ordinance, paves the way for Del Mar, Solana Beach, and Carlsbad to join forces as a joint powers authority called the Clean Energy Alliance. The City of Santee, Calif., and the County of San Diego also are considering membership in the alliance. The JPA would begin providing electricity to local consumers in 2021.

Community choice energy, also known as community choice aggregation, allows local governments to purchase power from renewable sources on behalf of their consumers. “The program also introduces competition and customer choice into an energy marketplace served almost entirely by San Diego Gas & Electric,” the city of Del Mar said in a news release.

Throughout the region, cities have laid plans for community choice energy ahead of a Dec. 31 deadline to adopt implementing ordinances and submit implementation plans to state regulators so new programs can launch in 2021, the city noted.

During an Oct. 7 hearing, officials from Solana Beach and Carlsbad told the Del Mar City Council they hoped Del Mar would join their cities as partners.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on Oct. 12 that following the vote by the City Council of Del Mar, the City Councils of Carlsbad and Solana Beach “passed resolutions to form a CCA and adopt a joint powers agreement to establish a framework to govern it.”

The article noted that while Solana Beach already has an operating CCA in place, it “has been looking to add partners to leverage economies of scale for power contracts, establish clean energy programs (such as building electric vehicle charging stations) and invest in renewable energy projects. Under the proposal, the existing CCA in Solana Beach would be folded into the proposed Clean Energy Alliance.”

The Clean Energy Alliance Board of Directors is expected to be seated in November. In December the Board would review and approve its implementation plan and submit the document to the California Public Utilities Commission before Dec. 31.

San Diego City Council clears path for new regional CCA program

Meanwhile, in a separate JPA development, the San Diego City Council on Sept. 18 approved a plan to create a new joint-powers authority with cities across the region.

The JPA will govern and operate a regional CCA program, with the primary goal of achieving a 100 percent renewable energy portfolio by 2035, ten years earlier than the goal established for the state of California in Senate Bill 100, that was passed and signed by the Governor last year.

 San Diego conducted a CCA feasibility study in 2017 that included extensive analysis and third-party peer review. It concluded that the community choice program would be reliably solvent and financially feasible. The city then tasked MRW & Associates to develop a business plan for the community choice program.

The San Diego City Council vote followed recent votes taken by the cities of Chula Vista, La Mesa and Encinitas to join the regional joint-power entity. The city of Imperial Beach also moved to join the regional joint-power entity last month.

Association offers new CCA program membership category

The American Public Power Association has initiated a new category of membership for community choice aggregation programs.