About 100 community leaders and clean energy advocates convened for a Local Energy Symposium on January 25th, hosted by the Morongo Basin Conservation Association in Yucca Valley, not far from Joshua Tree National Monument. Earlier in the day, a smaller group of elected officials, water agency representatives, and other stakeholders attended a question-and-answer session focused on Community Choice energy.
It was great to be there with my colleagues Barbara Boswell of Lancaster Choice Energy and Bill Powers, legendary San Diego-based energy engineer, to share our thoughts about Community Choice with the desert community.
The purpose of the Local Energy Symposium was to seek an answer to the question, “Is Community Choice [energy] the smart renewable energy option for the Morongo Basin?” If the spirit of the question-and-answer period was any indication, there is a lot of promise for the Morongo Basin and surrounding region.
Local Radio Station Z107.7FM was on hand to report on the event and share some of the potential benefits of Community Choice energy. One of the top reasons that the region is interested in Community Choice is that they have not been benefitting from the large-scale solar and wind projects and transmission lines in the region. The hope is that with a local Community Choice agency, some of these projects could be developed in a way that creates local jobs and circulates more dollars in the local economy. Further down the road, it is hoped that such an agency would take on more of the decision-making about what kinds of renewable energy projects are developed in the service territory. The more power that is derived from local renewable sources, the less need for long distance transmission lines and towers marring the pristine desert views.
In other areas of San Bernardino County, the City of Fontana has contracted with Good Energy to produce a Technical Study for a possible Community Choice program. And the San Bernardino County Association of Governments is pursuing a countywide assessment.
Stay tuned for more exciting news and updates from the desert communities of San Bernardino County!