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By Daniel Ritz

On Sept. 12, more than 25 South Orange County residents gathered at the Dana Hills Tennis Center for a meeting held by Surfrider Foundation South Orange County and Sullivan Solar Energy to discuss renewable energy.

The meeting was timely considering the recent signage of S.B. 100 by Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill states California will operate entirely on renewable energy by 2045.

 

In this system, which Ganahl explained is gaining popularity in cities across the state, cities elect to purchase electricity on behalf of residents and businesses and sometimes choose to own and operate their own energy sources. The energy would still be delivered on existing infrastructure and mostly produced by third-party private generators, but it would be the cities’ choice as to which source it comes from. In this model, rates are set by a nonprofit cities create and is not investor-owned, such as San Diego Gas & Electric or Southern California Edison.

Some meeting attendees were concerned that with the possible loss of generation revenues, investor-owned utilities would simply raise transmission and distribution costs to compensate for lost revenue. Ganahl explained that was unlikely as all rate increases are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC.)

Marin was the first city to adopt a CCE in 2010. Currently, no South Orange County cities are operating CCE programs, but governments have dedicated funding for formal evaluations for such, according to the Clean Power Exchange project. Ganahl stated that Irvine has slated the decision to begin a feasibility study on its next City Council’s agenda.

As these CCE programs would include the option for greater mixtures of renewable energy sources, Sullivan Solar Energy followed Ganahl with a presentation on the current state-of-affairs of solar energy in residential platforms.

Although no city of Dana Point staff members were in attendance, Surfrider Foundation Board Chairman Rick Erkeneff assured the crowd that he would follow up with city staff and City Manager Mark Denny after the evening’s discussion. More information on CCE can be found on www.climateactioncampaign.org. More information on Sullivan Solar Energy can be found on www.sullivansolarenergy.com.

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