Update: Community Choice Success in 2019
Thanks to a tremendous level of community support and engagement, including a decade of advocacy from Community Environmental Council and others, in 2019 multiple cities in our region, as well as one county, committed to joining or starting Community Choice Energy programs. Most opted to join the established Monterey Bay Community Power program, which has been running successfully for several years. The City of Santa Barbara voted to form their own Community Choice program. The City of Lompoc has its own municipal utility and the City of Buellton declined to discuss the matter. The County of San Luis Obispo is conducting additional studies on joining Monterey Bay Community Power, and the City of Atascadero declined to join.
The following agencies will be served by Monterey Bay Community Power starting in 2021:
- Arroyo Grande
- Grover Beach
- Morro Bay (starts 2020)
- Paso Robles
- Pismo Beach
- San Luis Obispo (starts 2020)
- Santa Barbara County
- Santa Maria
The City of Santa Barbara is starting its own Community Choice program.
In early 2019, Clean Power Alliance began serving 100% renewable electricity as a default option to Ventura County and the cities of Thousand Oaks, Ventura, Ojai, and Oxnard. Camarillo, Moorpark, and Simi Valley are also members of Clean Power Alliance.
For more information on supporting Community Choice Energy in your city, email CEC’s Director of Climate and Energy Programs Michael Chiacos at [email protected]. To learn more about CEC’s work with Community Choice Energy, click here.
Over Ten Years of Advocacy Pays Off
July 16 was a momentous day for Community Choice Energy locally. The County of Santa Barbara voted 4-1 to move forward with joining Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP), and the City of Goleta directed staff to move forward in August with joining MBCP. At the County hearing, Supervisor Joan Hartmann called out CEC’s work as she seconded Supervisor Das Williams’ motion to join the Monterey organization, in a nod to CEC’s advocacy on this issue for over a decade. Since then, the City of Guadalupe voted to join MBCP.
The City of Santa Barbara has also voted to move forward with Community Choice Energy, but instead of joining an existing program, they plan to develop their own city-wide program. This will allow the city greater control of local energy, a potentially faster start date, and opportunities to enhance infrastructure resilience. Read the news article here.
CEC sees Community Choice as the single most effective program that could be launched to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It will also 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.
A Strong Community Choice Provider
Monterey Bay Community Power will likely rebrand to reflect the Central Coast and the communities it will serve across five counties, from Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz. This program has strong financials and is already offering clean energy programs, while also spurring new development of significant solar and storage projects in California.
Other Local Community Choice Progress
The City of Carpinteria is also moving forward with Community Choice, and had an information session in mid-July with a vote to follow in August. Carpinteria will likely join the County and Goleta in moving forward with Monterey Bay Community Power.
What You Can Do Now
- Send letters of thanks to the Board Supervisors for supporting Community Choice Energy. Find their emails here.
- Advocate for Community Choice in one of the upcoming meetings. Email CEC’s Director of Energy and Climate Programs Michael Chiacos at [email protected], and he will update you as these meetings are scheduled.