From “impossible to inevitable,” says Geof Syphers, CEO of Sonoma Clean Power, speaking of Community Choice Energy at “The Business of Local Energy Symposium” held March 4 in San Jose. That’s how he describes the difference between today and 2010 when Marin Clean Energy was started.
For starters, by 2020, 60% of the State’s population may be enrolled in a CCE (Community Choice Energy) program, the hybrid approach of supplying clean energy purchased by a local non-profit agency and delivered by PG&E.
Closer to home, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills have just joined Silicon Valley Clean Energy, our local Santa Clara County CCE. GreenTown Los Altos applauds our elected leaders for making that possible.
Symposium speakers described the major transformation underway as we move from fossil fuels to renewably sourced energy – solar, wind, biomass and geothermal. Carla Peterman, Commissioner with the California Public Utilities Commission told us the CPUC is committed to more renewable energy but the variable supply requires careful management and we need better storage and smarter use of electricity.
Community Choice Energy plays a part by fostering innovation. Craig Lewis with Clean Coalition described a vision of community microgrids and the economics that make it possible. Andrew Cameron with Energy Producing Retail Realty described a real estate arrangement, bank approved, that allows commercial property owners and tenants to share the energy rights of rooftop solar. Jason Simon with Enphase Energy described the next generation of inverters that will allow smarter use of solar power. These were just three of many examples given to prove clean energy’s inevitably in our lives.
Costs are down and switching to clean, renewable energy is realistic, but it is more than that. Mark Ferron with the Board of Governors, California Independent System Operator put it in one word, “Decarbonize.” That means using clean electricity to heat our homes and power our cars. That’s how we tackle climate change and renewables are just one step along that path.
Gary Hedden | Energy Chair