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Clean Energy Coming
Don Mosier | Rimini Road

The draft Community Choice Energy (CCE) Technical Feasibility Study prepared for the cities of Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas and Oceanside by EES Consulting has been released to the public. EES President Gary Saleba will be making a presentation to each of the cities in the next few weeks. A North Coastal CCE would give local governments the ability to purchase and manage electric power supply while San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) would continue to provide energy distribution and billing. The four advantages of CCEs identified in the study are lower rates, cleaner energy sources, local control, and customer choices.

The EES study evaluates three choices of energy procurement: 1) an SDG&E equivalent with the clean energy component increasing from 42-59% until 2029 and at least 60% by 2030; 2) 50% clean energy from launch until 2025, then 75% until 2029, and 100% from 2030 (to match the Encinitas Climate Action Plan); and 3) 100% clean energy option from launch. Under options 1 and 2, the new CCE would be able to provide customers with a 2% reduction in rates compared to SDG&E. The 100% clean energy option could be offered at the SDG&E equivalent rate, matching the option offered by the Solana Energy Authority (SEA) in Solana Beach. A rate sensitivity analysis comparing different risk factors (high power costs, high customer departure charges, high energy loads) shows small impacts on final customer charges ranging from $0.291 (best case) to $0.318/kWh(kilowatt hours)- (worst case). These numbers include the cost of energy procured by the CCE plus the distribution and fixed fees charged by SDG&E. The EES study also predicts that the CCE startup costs could be recovered within the first 3 years of operation; this estimate is consistent with the SEA predicted to recover its startup costs after almost 16 months.

Only Del Mar has too few meters to start a CCE on its own, so any combination of North Coastal cities could join to form a viable CCE. The City of San Diego is also forming its own CCE and seeking partners from other local cities to form a regional Joint Powers Authority to govern the CCE. The EES study recommends that Del Mar and the other North Coastal cities consider all available governance options before deciding on a business plan. The next step is for each City Council to review the feasibility study and make a decision to move forward.


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