Santa Barbara County Approves Community Choice Energy

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Santa Barbara County Approves Community Choice Energy
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Community Environmental Council Director of Energy and Climate Programs Michael Chiacos, President Council Member Diane Boss, Jefferson Litten, Michelle Sevilla, and Bob Perry (courtesy photo)

By edhat staff

Santa Barbara County and local city officials vote to pursue the formation of a City-run Community Choice Energy (CCE) entity.

CCE allows local control over where your electricity comes from and allows local government to develop innovative programs and policy related to local energy goals. It can also gain leverage to negotiate better rates with competitive suppliers and choose greener power sources.

Even with CCE, Southern California Edison will continue to deliver the electricity over their infrastructure. 

On July 16, the County of Santa Barbara voted 4-1 to join Monterey Bay Community Power, and the City of Goleta directed staff to move forward in August. Additionally, on July 30, the Santa Barbara City Council voted to pursue the formation of CCE.

The program is endorsed by local nonprofit, the Community Environmental Council who sees this as "the single most effective program that could be launched to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

The move is expected to enable our region to access programs that reduce the cost of electric vehicles, develop renewable energy microgrids, build local solar projects, increase energy efficiency, and more – leading area residents and businesses to more rapidly adopt clean energy technologies.

Monterey Bay Community Power is expected to rebrand to reflect the Central Coast and the communities it will serve across five counties, from Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz.

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Eggs Ackley Aug 11, 2019 08:40 AM
Santa Barbara County Approves Community Choice Energy

It appears that most are not aware that the energy space is being heavily disrupted as wind, solar, and storage markets mature. Technology is advancing at a more rapid pace than most realize, and as energy production decentralizes. The grid, currently teetering on failure during periods of heavy demand, needs relief and the resilience provided by community based energy production which is mostly much less harmful to the environment than the utilities' production portfolio. Region-wide grid failure will be avoided as long distance transmission lines become less critical.
In the near future many of you will have solar plus storage including the batteries in your electric vehicle. Non-homeowners, i.e. renters, apartments, businesses, will be able to subscribe to local community solar projects for their energy needs.

Lucky 777 Aug 08, 2019 11:38 AM
Santa Barbara County Approves Community Choice Energy

Would be nice to be able to read about the successfully implemented program in Monterey Bay... but the YELP reviews posted by people who were, without their knowledge or consent, automatically enrolled, mostly say their bills went up to support yet another government entity.

cherplan Aug 08, 2019 09:38 AM
Santa Barbara County Approves Community Choice Energy

CCE is designed to address the CLIMATE CRISIS! It is essential that we switch to solar and wind energy sources to save the planet for our children and grandchildren. Please give this change the importance that it carries and be willing to pay a minimal amount more monthly to SAVE THE PLANET!

yacht rocked Aug 07, 2019 01:27 PM
Santa Barbara County Approves Community Choice Energy

Carp is trying to do the same. It's not going to lower the cost, it just lets them pick and choose greener and regional/local energy sources, at overall higher cost but with more feel-good karma. You can already choose greener electricity from SCE (google SCE green rate program), but it costs about 1.5 cents/Kw more than the residential standard rate. Expect similar from these CCEs. Me skeptical.

Chip of SB Aug 07, 2019 12:44 PM
Santa Barbara County Approves Community Choice Energy

The idea of being able to negotiate better rates sounds good, but I can't imagine a situation where the city of Santa Barbara would take action to lower the cost of anything. I think there must be a provision in the city's charter that forbids such a thing. I'm concerned this new approach to energy will drive up utility bills, impacting those least able to afford the additional expense. If anyone benefits from this new program, I predict it will go to a small group of wealthy and privileged individuals, likely in the form of special rebates or discounts associated with the purchase of luxury electric vehicles or solar equipment. Is there anything the city could do to help ease the cost of living for those struggling to make ends meet?

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