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Carlsbad To Share Cost Of Community Choice Energy Study

Carlsbad City Hall, Aug. 25, 2015.

Photo by Alison St John

Above: Carlsbad City Hall, Aug. 25, 2015.

Carlsbad To Share Cost Of Community Choice Energy Study

GUEST:

Alison St John, North County reporter, KPBS

Transcript

Carlsbad is the fourth North County city to agree to consider the feasibility of Community Choice Energy.

Carlsbad City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to join other North County coastal cities and start exploring the feasibility of buying energy from cleaner sources of power.

Community Choice Energy, or Community Choice Aggregation as it is sometimes called, would give cities more choice of how the energy they buy is generated, though SDG&E transmission lines would continue to bring that energy to homes and businesses.

The Carlsbad council voted unanimously to pay a maximum of $60,000 as its share of a $100,000 technical study into whether Community Choice Energy would be cheaper and use cleaner energy. The decision is significant because it means Carlsbad is willing to take part, even if neighboring Oceanside does not vote to contribute to the study.

RELATED: Battle Over San Diego’s Energy Future Will Heat Up Soon

The Sierra Club mobilized support for the measure: more than 600 Carlsbad residents and 70 businesses signed on in favor of exploring the options.

The cities of Del Mar and Encinitas have already voted to share the cost of a feasibility study. Encinitas has agreed to look for contractors to do perform the study.

Solana Beach has already completed a study and hired contractors last May to start setting up a Community Choice program.

Ryan Jubela owns Masters Kitchen, a restaurant in Oceanside. He supports studying whether community choice energy could benefit businesses like his.

“It definitely could help with the fossil fuels being burned, it also helps with costs with me doing business,” he said. “I just think all around it’s a good idea to check and see if it actually can work, and if it’s something that the community can move forward with.”

Oceanside City Councilman Jerry Kern said he has serious questions about whether a Community Choice energy contract would be in the long-term best interests of the city, since ratepayers will be on the hook to pay for natural gas power plants SDG&E has committed to, whether they use the energy or not. Kern said he would be in favor of finding out more information about Community Choice Energy, before making any commitments.

Oceanside has already collected some of the data from SDG&E necessary to conduct a feasibility study.

The earliest Oceanside City Council could vote on the issue is August.

The results of the city of San Diego's feasibility study are due out Wednesday.

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