Solana Beach council asked to discuss implementing local energy cooperative


By Claire Harlin

A handful of community members approached the Solana Beach City Council on May 23 to ask that they consider the formation of a community-owned energy cooperative in Solana Beach.

This concept, also known as Community Choice Aggregate (CCA), has already been taken on by Marin County, and a group called the San Diego Energy District (SDED) Foundation is hoping to follow suit with the creation of the SDED.

Under the SDED, which would be a joint powers authority of the cities and county, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) would still own the lines, meter and transmission, but the district would offer alternative supplies of energy that’s more local and renewable, according to the foundation’s website. The district’s goal is to accelerate the purchase of renewable energy from local, independent power producers.

Mayor Joe Kellejian said he has not heard of CCA, however, he is open to exploring the option.

Councilwoman Lesa Heebner said she and Deputy Mayor Dave Roberts, who make up the city’s Environmental Sustainability Committee, met recently with the SDED, and also present were representatives from SDG&E, Shell Oil and CCAs. She said the city is currently in discussions with the city manager and city attorney to figure out whether the model would be financially feasible. The next step could be to put the issue on a council agenda for public discussion.

She thanked members of the community for expressing their “broad and deep support” for CCA.

One of those community members was Solana Beach resident Torgen Johnson, who described the current situation as a “Cold War, Soviet-style monopoly” on energy providers.

Resident Jack Hegenauer said adopting a local energy cooperative would be in line with the principles of sustainability outlined in the city’s revised community plan.

“I’m not sure we know what sustainability looks like at a community level because we are used to personal recycling and conservation efforts,” he said.