Report: Alternative Energy Program Could Help State's Utilities Meet Renewable Goals 10 Years Early
A new report looks at the impact alternative energy programs — called community choice aggregation — will have on California’s power grid. The analysis was made by researchers from the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation and funded by the non-partisan think tank, Next 10.
The report found that if the current rate of expansion of community choice aggregation continues alternative energy programs could end up serving a majority of California’s power consumers within the next decade.
The city of San Diego is in the process of considering community choice aggregation which would take the purchasing power away from SDG&E and give it to the city. If San Diego goes with community choice the city would assume the authority for deciding what energy sources to buy, but it would still use SDG&E's power grid and electric bills would still come from SDG&E.
J.R. DeShazo, a co-author of the report, said he was surprised to find that the growth of community choice aggregation in California has led investor-owned utilities to have a larger percentage of renewable energy. The larger percentage positions the utilities to meet the state's 50 percent renewable energy goal a decade ahead of the 2030 deadline.
"As CCAs have grown rapidly over the last three or four years what (the investor-owned utilities) have discovered is that they're going to have many fewer customers but they still have contracts for a lot of renewable energy and so the percentage of renewable energy per customer has skyrocketed," DeShazo said.
DeShazo joins Midday Edition with more on the impact of community choice on California's power grid.