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Community choice energy offers resiliency in California counties

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Christopher Neely's picture
Independent, Local News Organization

Journalist for nearly a decade with keen interest in local energy policies for cities and national efforts to facilitate a renewable revolution. 

  • Member since 2017
  • 755 items added with 372,778 views
  • Apr 22, 2021
  • 343 views

I recently moved to California, a place that initially interested me as a child after watching countless surf videos and only grew more interesting to me as an adult covering energy issues. It seems like in the same news cycle we can read about how progressive California is being in its adoption of clean energy and the evil tactics and failures in accountability of Pacific Gas & Electric. 

I was surprised to learn about the state's community choice energy system here. Set up through legislation, community choice energy providers are public agencies that offer clean energy as an alternative to standard utilities, such as PG&E. (on another note, I've found PG&E delightful to deal with when I was getting my energy turned on at my apartment.) The agency's benefit is two-fold. They provide a dedicated clean energy alternative to the standard utility, and also are around to pick up the slack when, such as last year, the state experiences a heatwave and the grid gets overloaded and cant adequately power its customers. 

My local community choice energy agency, Central Coast Community Energy, is currently working on contracting seven clean energy storage projects in the 6-county region, that will offer resiliency in load shedding events. This gives me a better chance of keeping my AC on when the heat outside cranks up, and that is a peace of mind I welcome. I'm not sure where else these community choice agencies exist but they seem to work in California and could be a model for more states as we build our energy resilience and reduce carbon emissions over the next decade. 

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