Huntington Beach

Council moves toward the green

HUNTINGTON BEACH CITY COUNCIL members. Not pictured – because of social distancing – are Councilmember Dan Kalmick and Natalie Moser (Orange County Tribune photo by Zia Zografos).

By Zia Zografos

Huntington Beach will be taking additional steps towards a “green” 100 percent renewable energy future, and will develop a plan and cost estimate to switch Huntington Beach’s municipal corporation’s power to a renewable energy plan.

On Tuesday night, the city council voted 6-1 – with Councilmember Erik Peterson voting against – having city staff look into switching to the “Green Rate” that Southern California Edison offers. The Green Rate allows for homes and businesses to participate in solar energy without having to install solar panels, by instead purchasing renewable energy.

Staff will specifically be analyzing where the renewable energy is going to come from, the supply and demand needs, and analyzing the effects on taxpayers. City council will discuss these factors after the initial study is done.

The council will also be working alongside the Orange County Power Authority, a non-profit electricity provider which gives consumers and businesses a choice in their power supply. Councilmember Mike Posey said that as renewable energy becomes more popular, demand will soon drive the development.

“Tonight, we’re not making a policy decision for the city of Huntington Beach to switch over to renewable energy beginning tomorrow,” said council member Mike Posey “But what we can do at the Orange County Power Authority in parallel to what staff is doing … is I will start working on what the Orange County Power Authority power supply would look like.”

The city would potentially contract with Southern California Edison as a business for the Green Rate. However, costs may end up being too high for the city’s sustainability.

“We have a complex electric bill…[the city] is a non-trivial user of power,” said Councilmember Dan Kalmick. “We got a lot of pumps around town, and a lot of facilities. And so just from the municipal bills, take a look and evaluate that.”

An item to divest the city’s $5 million stake in Chevron Corporate Bonds was promptly declined by Mayor Kim Carr, who argued that the item was more of an investment policy decision rather than an environmental decision.

Instead, Carr provided a substitute motion to have the Investment Advisory Board look at the rate of return on different types of energy stocks to see what would make the most sense for the city. The board will present their findings to the council roughly by summer of 2022.

 

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