Thursday, June 09, 2016

Meet the Latest Disruption for Utilities: Community Power

Community Power (Credit: Click to Enlarge
Behind the vanguard of distributed energy, another threat to traditional utilities' hegemony has been steadily rising.

Local power agencies -- under the distinctly wonky moniker of "community choice aggregation" -- are gathering steam in California as an alternative to retail sales from utilities.

Under the community choice model, local governments can form energy agencies that buy electricity from sources other than the incumbent utilities. The attraction is, variously, lower retail rates, a higher mix of renewable energy, or simply local control.

San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose and Los Angeles County are all moving toward community choice programs.  Sixty percent of California residents who aren't already served by municipal utilities could be in CCAs by 2020, according to an analysis by the Center for Climate Protection, a nonprofit that sees community choice as a potent tool to reduce greenhouse gases.

Paul Fenn, who is known as the father of the CCA model for his authorship of enabling legislation in Massachusetts in 1997 and California in 2002, calls their advent a "slow explosion."

Read more at Meet the Latest Disruption for Utilities:  Community Power

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