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Community Choice – “Big Wow” at the Central Coast Sustainability Summit

The Central Coast Sustainability Summit in Santa Barbara last month featured many excellent presentations about the water/energy nexus. My keynote on developing and launching a Community Choice program warmed up participants for the “big wow” of the summit, the dynamite presentation by Jason Caudle, Deputy City Manager of Lancaster.

Caudle went right to the point: Lancaster will be the next community in California to launch a Community Choice program, Lancaster Choice Energy. Lancaster aims to become the solar capital of California and a beyond-net-zero city, exporting clean energy to the California grid.

The key to Lancaster’s success in rapidly forming its Community Choice program, Caudle asserted, is having a team of champions with the vision, understanding, and courage to act. The team is pictured as superheroes in Jason’s slide, with Mayor Rex Parris as Superman.

The excitement about the first Community Choice program to launch in the Southern California Edison service territory was palpable in the room. Half of Santa Barbara County is in SCE’s service territory, so Santa Barbara regards Lancaster’s progress with Community Choice as an indicator of potential challenges it might face with SCE. So far SCE is collaborating well with Lancaster on the effort, with a planned Phase 1 launch in May of 2015.

Stay tuned for further updates!

Woody Hastings