When you think of renewable energy, you probably think of wind turbines and solar panels, clean sources of energy that can make up a small percentage of our electric power supply.
Often, the idea is that these sources of power are not consistent and tend to cost more than fossil fuel power plants running on coal or natural gas.
The truth is, a quiet revolution has been taking place, making these clean sources of energy far more competitive. In fact, Forbes magazine noted earlier this year that there are already more jobs in the solar industry than in oil, coal and gas combined (Editor's Note: Regarding energy generation)! This is driven by two major factors: a stunning decline in the cost of renewable energy, as new technologies and economies of scale have made renewable less expensive than fossil fuels in more and more markets, and improvements in battery and other energy storage technologies that can make renewable energy more reliable throughout the day and all year long.
But it’s a local development that really make it time for Long Beach to go renewable. Legislation enables communities to create new electric energy providers, called Community Choice Energy (CCE). Last month, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a new CCE for the 1 million residents in the unincorporated areas of the county, and invited cities to join.
This new CCE promises more renewable energy at lower costs than SCE, largely by taking advantage of the precipitous drop in renewable energy that SCE, with long term contracts, can’t take advantage of. Amazingly, LA County’s CCE also plans to make available a 100% renewable energy option competitive with today’s SCE rates!
So let’s recap — with a vote by our City Council we could sign Long Beach up for:
• 100% renewable energy.
• Local jobs for our community in a growing field.
• More capacity for the growing fleet of electric vehicles.
• Less air pollution and a better planet for ourselves and future generations.
It seems like it’s time for Long Beach to take action. If you agree, make sure to let the mayor and City Council know. At 4 p.m. June 22, in the Long Beach City Hall council chambers, the Long Beach Sustainable City Commission will hear presentations about CCE. The public is invited to attend and all attendees are welcome to make public comments.
Coby Skye is chair of the Long Beach Sustainable City Commission and a board member for the Long Beach Area Group of the Sierra Club.