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Clean Energy Alliance will launch in Solana Beach, Del Mar and Carlsbad starting May 1. File photo
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Clean Energy Alliance will not join newly formed JPA before launch

COASTAL CITIES — The Clean Energy Alliance received a presentation about the potential of joining with California Community Power but opted not to join with just weeks before its own municipal aggregation program officially launches to North County customers.

Clean Energy Alliance will launch to customers in Solana Beach, Del Mar and Carlsbad on May 1 but at a meeting last month, the board was given a presentation on the potential partnership with a joint powers authority (JPA) made up of cities in northern California.

“The benefits of CC Power to the CEA are it provides economies of scale in regards to procurement of energy and different power supply sources,” said Barbara Boswell, interim chief executive officer for Clean Energy Alliance. “It does enhance negotiating power because of the volume of procurements that would be undertaken.”

Grish Balachandran, chief executive officer of Silicon Valley Energy, made his pitch to the Clean Energy Alliance board at the meeting.

“Economies of scale really matter and with the kinds of procurement that are being required by the California Public Utilities Commission, all of us are looking for economies of scale for some of the new purchases we have to make,” Balachandran said.

An agreement to join was presented to the board but none showed interest in joining so early, even before their service has begun.

“I think it’s worth us investigating,” said Chair Kristi Becker, of Solana Beach. “I feel that we need to be on our feet a little bit more though. I would be into investigating and maybe gathering some more facts.”

Fellow board members Priya Bhat-Patel, councilwoman of Carlsbad, and David Drucker, Del Mar councilman, agreed they had a possible interest in joining in the future.

“I would agree that we should continue to explore this,” Drucker said. “I’m also really interested in their first project which is this energy storage. I think this is going to be one of the major components that we should be looking at.”

California Community Power is newly formed, with the eight partner programs only agreeing to join in February of this year. The current member community choice programs all residing in northern California are Central Coast Community Energy, East Bay Community Energy, MCE, Peninsula Clean Energy, Redwood Coast Energy Authority, San José Clean Energy, Silicon Valley Clean Energy and Sonoma Clean Power. CleanPowerSF and Valley Clean Energy are also in the process of joining the authority.

The enabling agreement for California Community Power allows for member community choice programs to potentially participate in any projects from the joint power authority without any obligation.

“If there is a project that a group of the members is interested in, and should Clean Energy Alliance join, if it’s a project that doesn’t meet our needs or if in any way the board isn’t interested in it then we would have no obligation to participate, nor would there be any financial obligation on our behalf,” Boswell said.

If the Clean Energy Alliance were to join at some time in the future after launch, they would share general and administrative costs of the joint power authority on an equal basis with each other member agency which for this year would total $12,000.

Also if the decision is made to join, Clean Energy Alliance will be able to withdraw from California Community Power at any time without prior notice, according to Boswell.