Community Choice is finally here!
After a decade of patience and persistence, a Community Choice Energy program has been approved by the San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay City Councils, with hopefully more communities to follow.
By way of background, Community Choice allows communities to become their own energy providers, assuring consumers that the energy they are using is as close to 100% renewable as possible. It is a very important step in meeting the City of SLO’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2035.
The idea was first introduced to the area by the Sierra Club, Santa Lucia Chapter, which insisted it be included in the county’s Climate Action Plan for consideration. The concept was turned into action by a focus group of the SLO Transition Towns movement, led by Eric Veium and June Cochran. They formed SLO Clean Energy and began exploring the idea with local county and city leadership. Ecologistics assisted by bringing a panel including the author of the California legislation creating community choice, and experts from LEAN Energy US and the San Diego Energy District Foundation to the 2012 Central Coast Bioneers Conference. Despite predictable interference by PG&E, the concept began gaining traction, resulting in the Cities of SLO and Morro Bay voting to join Monterey Bay Community Power, an existing CCE provider.
Monterey Bay Community Power’s power supply is carbon free, sourced from wind, solar and hydroelectric generation. The lucky residents of SLO and Morro Bay will be able to tap into this service in January 2019. It is hoped that as more SLO County communities come on board MBCP can be expanded to create a larger Central Coast Community Energy program. In fact, just as we are going to “press,” we have learned that Pismo Beach will be coming aboard.
Thank you to all of the hard-working folks at SLO CleanEnergy for having the chutzpah to make this happen. More information at http://carbonfreeslo.org/