For Immediate Release Contact: Woody Hastings
Climate Protection Campaign
October 10, 2011 (707) 525-1665 x117
A Boost for Local Clean Power from Sacramento
Governor Brown signs SB 790 supporting community-based energy programs
On Oct. 8 Governor Brown signed legislation, Senate Bill (SB) 790, that will significantly improve the ability of local governments to establish their own local clean power programs. The timing could not be better given that Sonoma County is in the midst of planning its own “Community Choice Aggregation (CCA)” program, commonly referred to as Sonoma Clean Power. The Sonoma County Water Agency Board will consider the issue on October 18th.
Programs like Sonoma Clean Power were made possible by the 2002 CCA law designed to give electricity customers a choice about their power. SB 790 is designed to fix some of the problems that have emerged since passage of the original CCA law.
The first such program, Marin Clean Energy, began operations in May of 2010 in Marin County. It serves every city in Marin County except for Corte Madera, which is set to vote whether to join on November 1st. Marin Clean Energy has already won numerous awards for its clean power mix of 27% for its basic service and its option for 100% certified renewable energy at a premium of only one cent per kilowatt-hour more than the basic service. PG&E’s mix is 17%.
At its October 18th Board Meeting, the Water Agency will receive the results of a six-month Feasibility Study of a CCA for Sonoma County. Early indications are that the report finds that significant economic benefits and greenhouse gas emissions reductions can be achieved via Sonoma Clean Power.
The passage of SB 790 marks another in a series of events that have “cleared the path” for communities like Sonoma County to embark on their own local clean power systems, said Ann Hancock, Executive Director of the Climate Protection Campaign. “Marin Clean Energy succeeded in becoming the first successful CCA in the state, then we defeated Prop 16, then PG&E announced that it will no longer fight CCAs, now SB 790 has been enacted. It’s a dream scenario.” She added, “We’ve studied CCA since 2005. It is the most powerful local tool for significant greenhouse gas reductions. Plus it will create green jobs and boost our local economy.”
Efren Carrillo, Chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and Water Agency points to the passage of SB 790 as a helpful development. “Sonoma Clean Power is more than just feasible in Sonoma County, it’s an imperative. We would be able to establish a program even without SB 790, but there’s no doubt that many of the safeguards and provisions it offers will be very helpful to our efforts.”
SB 790 does several key things:
- Establishes a “code of conduct” for investor owned electric utilities to follow regarding their relationship with CCAs to strengthen existing law that requires them to cooperate fully with CCAs
- Allows CCAs to administer energy efficiency program funds
- Speeds up California Public Utilities Commission action when complaints are filed by CCAs pursuant to the law requiring cooperation from electric utilities
- Provides for fair and equitable distribution of costs
- Expands the entities that can become CCAs and includes the Sonoma County Water Agency