Symposium in Long Beach will advance Community Choice Energy for people and climate

by Barry Vesser, The Climate Center

The Climate Center along with our partners at the Local Government Commission and the Local Government Sustainable Energy Coalition offer our third Business of Clean Energy Symposium at the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach on May 5th, 2017.   The Symposium will once again convene government, business, and community leaders to accelerate California’s shift to a clean energy economy. The event provides a forum to exchange ideas about Community Choice Energy programs and to learn about current energy policy, regulations, markets, and technology.

Senator Kevin de León, President pro Tempore of the California Senate, along with California Senator Ben Allen and California Public Utility Commission President Michael Picker will speak at the Symposium about where California’s energy industry is headed as we shift towards renewables. The Climate Center Executive Director Ann Hancock will also speak about the acceleration of the Community Choice Energy movement and the role that the Center is playing to ensure that someone is advocating for consumers and the climate for the lowest possible emissions at the fairest price.

One of the key themes of the symposium this year is finding more cost-effective ways to develop local renewable resources, which creates local business opportunities and jobs. Strategic use of Distributed Energy Resources (DER) like solar, energy storage and energy efficiency may be the key to Community Choice’s long term success, further carbon reduction, and an electric grid that provides better services to customers. There will be two panels with DER experts exploring the challenges and opportunities that they present to Community Choice agencies.

California’s role in the climate fight and the transition to renewables is already a prominent one. The Center will continue to advocate for consumer choice and locally sourced renewables in California as we show the world how to decarbonize for health and prosperity. We look forward to collaborating with our partners in this important endeavor.


Barry Vesser
1 reply
  1. Heather Matteson
    Heather Matteson says:

    We seriously need to evaluate the idea of “customer choice” for power. You cannot choose your power. You get whatever is on the grid where you are. Sure, you can pay different amounts to help subsidize other technologies, but these 100% solar or 100% wind plans are really confusing the public. If you really had 100% solar power, you would only have electricity for the middle hours of sunny days. You all know this isn’t the case. To make it work, the ISO and distribution companies have to juggle all the competing priorities. In some cases, when individuals (or CCAs) force a certain percentage of an intermittent source onto the grid, then it actually locks in a corresponding (even larger) amount of fossil backup.
    We all need to keep the goals in mind – lower emissions and raise our percentage of clean energy. Options such as CCAs need to be carefully evaluated to see their impact on the entire system, and we should not be talking about how green they are without knowing the systemic results.
    This doesn’t really explain to the average person, that CCAs have been able to charge less for their “green” portfolios for very specific reasons, and none of them have to do with the three large utilities being bad or monopolized. PG&E is required to plan for power purchase with significant lead time. They often are locked into power purchase agreements that are years and years in duration, and if the price of certain sources go down during that time, it doesn’t matter. PG&E will still have to pay their higher, agreed-upon rates. CCAs, on the other hand, have been able to defect from PG&E and get newer, more cheaply-priced contracts.
    This also confuses the public. No, renewable, intermittent sources are NOT cheaper than everything else, even though your particular CCA may make it seem so. We need to reflect the true costs of integrating intermittent sources onto the grid, which include the required extra resources necessary to manage the intermittency – electricity storage, new-build gas backups, possibly more pollution and wear/tear on peaker plants, and enhancements to the grid itself for more flexibility, smartness and enhanced transmission options.

    Questions or issues? Write back, and let’s have a conversation. We should all be working together to figure out the best path forward. I’m involved here because I care both about protecting nature, and giving humans a high quality of life by providing easy access to reliable, clean energy.

    Also, see my personal story at Mothers for Nuclear on Facebook, or our website.


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