County Joins Region’s Largest Government-Run Power Purchasing Agency

Science/Environment

County Joins Region’s Largest Government-Run Power Purchasing Agency

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

This post originally appeared in the Sept. 1 Morning Report. Get the Morning Report delivered to your inbox.

San Diego County Supervisors decided to join forces Tuesday with San Diego Community Power, the region’s largest publicly-run power purchasing agency (also known as community choice aggregation or CCA), over Clean Energy Alliance, the smaller of the two that represents just three North County cities. 

Both CCAs are trying to do the same thing — transition the cities they represent to use 100 percent renewable electricity (powered by solar, wind or other zero-carbon energies) faster than utilities are able or willing to do. But the county vote represents the settling of a competition over a large ratepayer base which could help the winning agency spread out its energy costs and add purchasing power to cut more deals on renewable projects, like the 600-acre solar farm announced near Jacumba Hot Springs earlier this month, according to Times of San Diego. 

With the 3-2 party-line vote, customers in the county would automatically shift to San Diego Community Power’s energy rates unless they opt to stay with SDG&E at an appointed date. Republican Supervisors Jim Desmond and Joel Anderson, who both represent large swaths of rural unincorporated county land, opposed the decision.

Desmond wanted to go with Clean Energy Alliance, the smaller CCA competing in the region that serves Carlsbad, Solana Beach and Del Mar. 

“We’d be the big fish in the tank,” Desmond said. “If we join San Diego, we’ll be a mini-SDG&E.” 

San Diego Community Power represents the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista, Encinitas, La Mesa and Imperial Beach.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher appointed Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer to the San Diego Community Power Board with Supervisor Nora Vargas as an alternate, which Anderson challenged, saying at least one representative of the unincorporated parts of the county should serve on the board. Fletcher declined Anderson’s motion on board appointments, saying the appointments should be supervisors that are “invested” in the success of a CCA and that both Lawson-Remer and Vargas represent some portion of the unincorporated county. 

“San Diego Community Power is where we can make the biggest impact in achieving a cheaper, more equitable and more reliable clean energy future for our region,” Lawson-Remer said at the meeting. 

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