REGION — After the San Diego County Board of Supervisors showed interest in joining a community choice energy program, the Clean Energy Alliance has estimated a $50,000 upfront cost to join its program.
That estimate is a combination of the feasibility study that needs to be completed for new members, estimated at $30,000, along with an additional estimated $20,000 to complete the new plans that are required by the California Public Utilities Commission.
Clean Energy Alliance CEO Barbara Boswell says that in the future those costs could be shared by different entities if they are looking to join Clean Energy Alliance at the same time.
The County Board of Supervisors has shown interest in joining either the Clean Energy Alliance, which launched May 1 this year or with San Diego Community Power, which has been operating for municipal customers since March 1.
It is unclear at this time what San Diego Community Power will be asking its prospective members for upfront costs.
Clean Energy Alliance says since upfront costs will be reimbursed within the first three years, the organization does not see it as a major impediment to drawing new members.
“I mean I guess we’ll have to see but I think that it wouldn’t stop someone who was really interested in exploring this,” Chairwoman Kristi Becker said. “There are costs, they know that, and this is also something we can reimburse.”
Del Mar, Solana Beach and Carlsbad, the founding cities of Clean Energy Alliance, all fronted $150,000 to get the community choice program started that will also be reimbursed within three years.
“So really this is a bargain, especially if a couple of cities came together,” Becker said. “This is something that they’re going to get back.”
Becker also noted the costs of prospective members have the potential to be waived under some circumstances.
The County Board of Supervisors adopted new guiding principles regarding community choice energy programs that centered around social equity and encouraging the development of an equitable jobs pipeline.
A letter sent to the Clean Energy Alliance on April 18 from the Board of Supervisors asked, among other questions, how the community choice program fit in with their newly adopted guiding principles.
“We reviewed the Clean Energy Alliance’s official documents and our adopted policies and found that our JPA agreement and policies are very much in alignment with those county principles,” Boswell said.
Clean Energy Alliance has sent all related documents and answers to other specific questions to the Board of Supervisors and its timeline established to meet certain California Public Utility Commission deadlines.
Boswell also says Clean Energy Alliance will need for the Board of Supervisors to make a decision regarding its interest in joining by early August. Staff from the Board of Supervisors has suggested they will be looking at their options before returning to the board in July.
The interest from the Clean Energy Alliance board for the county to join them appears high as they also discussed setting up meetings with two supervisors that represent the cities, Terra Lawson-Remer and Jim Desmond, as well as Chairman Nathan Fletcher.