By Zia Zografos
Huntington Beach may now run on 100 percent renewable energy for many of its residential and commercial customers, as part of the Orange County Power Authority’s community choice energy plan options. On Tuesday the city council voted 6-1 in favor with Councilmember Erik Peterson voting against the 100 percent plan.
However, residents and commercial users are able to choose a different energy plan for what works in their best interest. Customers can also choose to opt out and remain with Southern California Edison.
The majority of the council agreed that proceeding with this choice will help to solidify Huntington Beach as an environmentally-conscious city.
“As we look at doing the community choice energy, it was always with the intention of giving our residents a choice and giving them that local control, and having the profits be returned to the community rather than going to the investor-owned utility,” said Councilmember Kim Carr. “And here in Huntington Beach, we do have a tradition of being environmental stewards.”
Peterson dissented, and instead advocated for the Basic Choice.
“The fact that you’re saying we have 100 percent renewable energy, they just spent hundreds of millions of dollars building a new power plant in Huntington Beach … basically all you’re doing is subsidizing green energy somewhere else. It’s not coming here,” said council member Peterson.
The two remaining plans offered by Orange County Power Authority include the Basic Choice plan, which includes 38 percent renewable energy content that will increase over time, and the Smart Choice plan which includes 69 percent renewable energy content that will also increase over time, according to the city staff report. The Basic Choice is the least expensive at approximately $114 per month, and the Smart Choice at approximately $120 per month. The 100% Renewable Energy plan is the most expensive, costing approximately $123 per month, and will cost the city approximately $212,000 annually.
According to Councilmember Dan Kalmick, greater than 40 percent and less than 50 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in Huntington Beach come from energy consumption. The majority of public commenters also pushed for the 100% Renewable Energy option.
“The more renewables we use, the more innovation will occur, which will reduce the cost and increase the benefits to our community. The quality of our lives and the quality of our environment are directly related,” said resident Danny Gray.
Commercial users will have 60 days leading up to, and 60 days after, the launch date in April to change their energy plan. Residential customers will not be notified until the Fall, and will also have 60 days before and after their launch date to adjust their energy plan.
The council also voted to have an outreach program to customers who will be notified via mail and on social media.
Categories: Huntington Beach