Over Ten Years of Advocacy Pays Off
After over a decade of encouragement from the Community Environmental Council and other advocates, the County of Santa Barbara, and the Cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta all independently voted today to move forward with launching a local Community Choice program. The City of Carpinteria will vote next week, and the County is now reaching out to other cities in North County to join the effort.
Next Steps for Community Choice
Participating local government agencies will now create a Joint Powers Authority to develop an implementation plan. If all goes according to schedule, the implementation plan would be submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission by January 2020, and the Community Choice program could launch by January 2021.
Future Clean Energy Possibilities
Local elected officials will sit on the board of directors of the new Community Choice program, providing greater accountability to Santa Barbara County residents. We could also develop programs to enable local businesses and residents to participate in powering our region with more renewable energy and other sustainable energy efforts.
Thank you for your letters and testimony at the hearings!
We did it!
On Tuesday, July 17, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, Santa Barbara City Council, and Goleta City Council will each independently vote on moving forward with a local Community Choice Energy program. This program is a powerful tool that would provide county residents with cleaner electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind, at prices competitive with our current utility.
Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors
Santa Barbara City Council
Goleta City Council
Re: Community Choice Energy (Support)
Dear Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, Santa Barbara City Council, and Goleta City Council:
I urge local governments to work together to form a Joint Powers Authority to develop a regional Community Choice Energy program.
Existing Community Choice Energy programs have proven to offer residents, businesses, and governments:
- Competitive electricity rates.
- Local control and accountability of our energy provider.
- Cleaner energy with lower greenhouse gas emissions.
- New opportunities for local energy projects.
- Local economic stimulus and job creation.
Local governments should move quickly towards launching a regional program that helps Santa Barbara County citizens realize these benefits. I urge the County of Santa Barbara and the Cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta to work together to develop a Community Choice Energy program.
Thank you for your consideration.
The Back Story: Community Choice Energy for the Central Coast
The Community Environmental Council has been working to develop a local Community Choice Energy program for over a decade now. This long road led to a disappointing study in the summer of 2017 that concluded a tri-county Community Choice program wasn’t feasible. After careful review and consultation with experts, CEC and partners pointed out multiple incorrect assumptions and outdated data sources in the consultant’s analysis and model. Local governments agreed and decided to take a second look by hiring Pacific Energy Advisors (PEA) to do another study. Widely viewed as having the top consultants in the Community Choice field, PEA is actively working with many existing Community Choice programs, with a current view into energy costs, staffing levels, and other key considerations of feasibility.
The scope of the second study was also reduced to just Santa Barbara County because Ventura County and many of its cities had already opted to join Clean Power Alliance, a large Community Choice program just launched by Los Angeles County. The Cities of San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay are also currently forming a local program. This reduced geographic scope – along with more current data and assumptions – were analyzed by PEA, and they’ve concluded that a local study could be successful.
The Opportunity: Realizing a Local Community Choice Energy Program
On July 17, the County of Santa Barbara and the Cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta will be voting on whether to form a Joint Powers Authority to work together to launch a local Community Choice program. This is the moment we have worked so hard for!
Community Choice is the easiest way for the Cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta to reach their 100% Renewable Energy Goals. This powerful tool would provide county residents with cleaner electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind, at prices competitive with our current utility.
How You Can Help
Please join CEC in urging local governments to launch a local Community Choice program by signing onto the letter above and/or attending a hearing.
Voice your support for our local governments to work together and create a Santa Barbara Community Choice Energy program.
Want to take more action? Attend a hearing!
1) Speak at the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors Hearing.
Date: Tuesday, July 17
Location: Santa Barbara County Admin Building – 4th Floor, Board Hearing Room – 105 E Anapamu St.
Time: Community Choice Energy is scheduled to be heard at the beginning of the meeting, which starts at 9 a.m.
2) Speak at the Santa Barbara City Council Hearing.
Date: Tuesday, July 17
Location: Santa Barbara City Hall – 2nd Floor, City Council Chambers – 735 Anacapa St.
Time: Community Choice Energy is scheduled to be heard at the beginning of the meeting, which starts at 2 p.m.
3) Speak at the Goleta City Council Hearing.
Date: Tuesday, July 17
Location: Goleta City Hall – City Council Chambers – 130 Cremona Dr. Suite B.
Time: Community Choice Energy is scheduled to be heard as the second or third agenda item of the meeting, which starts at 6 p.m.