The City of Santa Barbara has partnered with California Choice Energy Authority (CalChoice) to complete a study that will determine whether a community choice aggregation (CCA) program in the City would be successful.
“CCA is the most effective strategy that the City can use to reach its ambitious goal of transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy community-wide,” said City of Santa Barbara Energy Manager Alelia Parenteau. “The City has a long history of being a leader in the environmental movement and sees CCA as an opportunity to affect real change while providing powerful ancillary benefits such as rate stability and local economic development.”
The City’s pursuit of CCA comes from its Strategic Energy Plan, a plan adopted by the City Council in 2017 that provides a roadmap on how the City can achieve its goal of using 100 percent renewable electricity throughout the community. The plan identifies CCA as the main strategy that could be implemented to help the City achieve its renewable energy goal. CCA implementation will enable the City to control rate stability while increasing the amount of renewable energy flowing into the Santa Barbara community.
“We anticipate many benefits to a local CCA program,” continued Parenteau. “This program will allow our Council and staff to develop locally relevant and effective programs, provide rebates and incentives to our customers to help them invest in their properties, business and community. Most importantly, we see this as an effective tool in our fight against climate change – providing both cleaner electricity and the opportunity to build resilience locally through local project development.”
To confirm the City’s feasibility for a CCA program, CalChoice will request and analyze data from Southern California Edison, the local investor-owned utility. If the data analysis results are positive, CalChoice will develop the City’s implementation plan, a plan that must be submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for approval before establishing a CCA.
“The City recognizes that forming a CCA entity is a heavy lift and that we are not currently equipped with the expertise to move quickly and in an informed manner,” said Parenteau. “CalChoice was a great partner to ensure we followed the rules and ticked all of the boxes. CalChoice’s extensive experience launching City-only CCAs made them a clear choice for us.”
If the feasibility study results are positive and the City Council approves the implementation plan, Santa Barbara will be ready to launch its program as soon as spring 2021.
“We’re proud to be working with Santa Barbara as they consider a CCA program,” said CalChoice Executive Director Jason Caudle. “The City has made a great choice in moving forward with a feasibility study. If we see positive results the Santa Barbara community can expect to see several new community benefits including cleaner energy, lower electricity bills and new community programs.”