A peer review, or secondary report on the Community Choice Energy Technical Feasibility Study affirmed the creation of a Community Choice Energy program for Carlsbad and other partner cities.

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The original study described some of the potential risks and concerns associated with Community Choice Energy, which include power supply costs, financial risks, customer participation and the availability of renewable power. The study showed that even when taking these variables into account, costs projected under most combinations of variables and potential market conditions will not negatively affect Community Choice Energy rates compared to SDG&E rates, and where negative impacts may exist, those risks can be mitigated. 

The peer review affirmed other findings including:

  • The formation of a CCE is financially feasible

  • Financial benefits include electric retail rates that are 2% lower compared with SDG&E rates

  • Other benefits include local control over power supply sources, rate levels and customer programs

  • CCE start-up costs could be fully recovered within the first three years of CCE operations

  • After this cost recovery, revenues that exceed costs could be used to finance a rate stabilization fund, new local renewable resources, economic development projects and lower customer electric rates

Community Choice Energy is one way the cities of Carlsbad, Del Mar and Solana Beach are working toward providing cleaner energy for their communities and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In a step toward launching the program in 2021, the three cities formed a Joint Powers Authority called the Clean Energy Alliance, which had its first board meeting on Nov. 5, 2019.

The board reviewed its fiscal year 2019-2020 initial budget, which estimates initial costs to be $450,000. As founding members of the Clean Energy Alliance, Carlsbad, Del Mar and Solana Beach will equally share these costs, contributing $150,000 each which is subject to reimbursement from future program revenues.

The Carlsbad City Council authorized the City Manager to enter into an agreement with the Clean Energy Alliance to provide a $150,000 reimbursable advance as member agency support. Once the CCE program is operational and governed by the Clean Energy Alliance, there would be no ongoing financial commitments required of the city beyond its initial startup costs.

Next Steps

The Clean Energy Alliance will meet for its second board meeting on Nov. 19 at the Carlsbad City Council Chambers to continue working on its implementation plan, which includes hiring key vendors and staff, setting operational policies, and establishing the energy supply mix, rates and programs.

The implementation plan needs to be submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission by Dec. 31, 2019.