VISTA — To reach climate goals in 2030 and beyond, the Vista City Council will be the latest entity to venture into exploring Community Choice Aggregate.
Also known as Community Choice Energy, the council approved a request from city staff to construct a request for proposal to bring in an expert to analyze the city’s prospect as a CCA entity.
While the city has met its 2020 greenhouse gas emission goals, there could be struggles to meet 2030 goals without some more proactive measures, including requesting 30% of construction equipment be run on biofuel instead of diesel.
“Our 2020 goal was already achieved based on our current inventory,” Conley said. “The 2030 target we’ve established consistent with state guidelines of approximately 350,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent will require a significant reduction of about 200,000 metric tons.”
Fourteen residents spoke in favor of the city creating and investigating its own CCA.
Many noted how a CCA is likely to save money for ratepayers, drive the city toward 100% clean energy sources, provide jobs, economic development and bolster city finances.
One resident, though, chided the council for failing to lead on the issue. She said the council was doing the bare minimum, begrudgingly, and it is time for the city to step up its commitment to the CAP.
The city has to meet state goals of returning to 1990 greenhouse gas emission levels by 2020 and Senate Bill 32 requires GHG levels 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.
Currently, Vista’s GHG levels are 4% below 2012 GHG levels, which would meet the state mandate. At its current pace, Vista would be 42% below GHG emission levels by 2030.
Councilwoman Corinna Contreras added the city must look even further down the road as the state requires an 80% reduction of 1990 levels by 2050. She also pointed to the success of Solana Beach’s CCA, the Solana Energy Alliance (SEA).
“The rate savings were about 3% lower than SDG&E (San Diego Gas & Electric),” Contreras said, refereeing to SEA’s first quarter. “They had 92% of residents participated and 99% of commercial entities participated. We are spending that money, but right now we are not getting any return.”
However, Councilwoman Amanda Rigby said Vista must be cautious as several CCAs have gone out of business and another has $887 million in debt, although she did not specify those entities by name.
“If it turns out to be a good thing … it’s definitely worth looking at,” Rigby said. “That’s one of the big questions, what is the long-term viability of this? Some of these CCEs have not been viable long term.”
Residents, meanwhile, pointed to Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar, Oceanside and San Diego as municipalities moving forward with a CCA.
Carlsbad and Encinitas have approved their staffs to research governance options for standalone CCAs or through a Joint Powers Agreement. Oceanside has not yet acted on the report conducted for the four cities.
The Vista staff report suggests the city could set aside $200,000 at the end of Fiscal Year 2018-19, with a portion of those funds earmarked to research a CCA.
The largest areas of concern are on-road transportation, electricity and natural gas end-use, according to the staff report and calculations from the San Diego Association of Governments.