Environment

SLO wants to buy more of its energy from renewable sources

The city of San Luis Obispo is looking to pursue a local Community Choice Energy program.
The city of San Luis Obispo is looking to pursue a local Community Choice Energy program. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The city of San Luis Obispo will pursue a local Community Choice Energy program, following City Council direction at a study session Tuesday.

The program could enable investments in new, renewable energy projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to city officials.

CCE is a new way for Californians to buy energy that is administered through cities and counties and allows local governments to leverage the purchasing power of their residents, businesses, and governments to buy or generate power for their communities.

“CCE providers buy electricity, which usually will include a higher percentage of electricity from renewable resources such as wind and solar, and set customers’ rates,” city officials said in a statement.

Customers would not experience a difference in their everyday service. PG&E would continue to provide the service through its power lines and would provide metering, billing and other customer service as it does now, but the electricity would be purchased through the CCE program.

The city is also considering saving on energy costs through the use of roof-top solar panels.

City staff proposed three options: forming a new CCE program, joining an existing CCE program, or discontinuing pursuit of a CCE program. Council directed staff to move forward and pursue a local CCE, in conjunction with other local agencies.

The city has been involved in two CCE studies since 2015. The tri-county study looked at the feasibility of forming a new CCE program in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. The study concluded that a new regional CCE program that crossed PG&E and Southern California Edison territories would not meet the feasibility criteria established by the study.

The second study looked at an intracounty CCE, including a city-only CCE, and a city-county CCE, and it found that these programs would be feasible, though additional study will be necessary.

The City Council allocated $25,000 in its 2017-2019 Financial Plan for a more in-depth analysis. Should the analysis of this option show that it is infeasible or impractical, the council will consider joining an existing CCE program, such as Monterey Bay Community Power.

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