San Marcos, Escondido to join Clean Energy Alliance

The Clean Energy Alliance is a community choice energy program
The Clean Energy Alliance is a community choice energy program that includes the cities of Del Mar, Solana Beach and Carlsbad.
(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times

The cities of San Marcos and Escondido will join the Clean Energy Alliance in 2023, expanding one of the newest Community Choice Aggregation programs from three cities to five.

Both city councils voted earlier this month to join CEA, which currently includes Del Mar, Solana Beach and Carlsbad. The agency began delivering energy to residential and business customers earlier this year.

“If you think we have a duty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, like I do, and to do it in a meaningful way, this is the way to do it,” San Marcos City Councilman Randy Walton said. “Solar is excellent, driving in an e-car is excellent, but if you really want to change it, it’s by how your electricity is produced.”

Community Choice Aggregation programs allow cities to band together and offer their residents and businesses greener energy than they receive through their traditional utility provider, such as San Diego Gas & Electric.

“Escondido’s decision to join CEA marks a significant milestone in our City’s sustainability efforts,” Escondido Mayor Paul McNamara said in a statement. “We are eager to launch our partnership with CEA and start offering our community a choice beyond the local private utility as well as several renewable energy options at competitive rates.”

Since CEA board members held their first meeting in 2019, one of their main goals has been expansion. But several other cities, including Encinitas, as well as the county government opted to join another recently launched CCA called San Diego Community Power.

The CEA board consists of one representative from each member city. Each city gets one vote on decisions before the board, as opposed to a weighted voting structure based on population size that SDCP uses.

The cities of San Clemente, Oceanside and Vista may be joining CEA in 2024, Solana Beach City Councilwoman Kristi Becker said during a recent council meeting.