Earlier this year, The Climate Center began working in the San Joaquin Valley to plant the seeds of Community Choice energy. On April 8, we were invited by the Fresno State Office of Community and Economic Development to present at the Clean Energy Summit about the benefits of Community Choice. In a breakout session, I led approximately 20 people in a robust conversation, full of insightful questions and answers, about clean energy.
Participants were especially interested in how Community Choice energy can help boost local economies. I was able to share the success stories that we’ve been seeing in Sonoma and Marin Counties, and now, in the City of Lancaster. For example, Sonoma Clean Power has directly saved consumers $50 million in less than two years, and is strengthening the local economy by reinvesting dollars that once left the county for procurement of local energy resources and a variety of products and services with the revenues from electricity generation – that’s about eight times the reinvestment power.
The event, hosted at Fresno Pacific University’s Visalia Campus, convened about sixty movers and shakers across the San Joaquin Valley from clean energy companies, the agricultural sector, and local government. Additionally, about fifty high school students from Mendota attended to be mentored by participants in an afternoon session.
One of the inspiring speakers at the Clean Energy Summit was Mark McAfee, CEO of Organic Pastures, who spoke eloquently of harnessing “mother nature’s blueprints” for safe, organic, raw milk products. As an innovative entrepreneur, Mark explained how his business utilizes cleaner, more efficient production systems to improve customer health and the well-being of the surrounding community, while sustaining and improving the environment, maintaining healthy, naturally nourished cows, and providing excellent benefits to both shareholders and employees. With growing evidence of the negative environmental impacts of large-scale dairy and agriculture, Organic Pastures provides an outstanding example of dairy practices that are both sustainable and profitable.
We hope to work with leaders in the Valley to advance more clean energy agricultural practices whose benefits can be amplified by the model of Community Choice energy.
Stay tuned for more news out of the San Joaquin Valley as we work to ignite a “Clean Power Exchange” conversation about the many benefits of Community Choice energy.