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Community Choice Energy

by JP Bruner

Climate Change Committee

There is no question that climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels poses a major risk to our ocean, waves, and beaches. Sea level rise, ocean acidification, and oxygen loss are just a few examples of the havoc that greenhouse gas emissions have brought upon ocean life and our coasts.

In response to climate change, many cities and states around the globe are taking steps to burn less fossil fuels and lower greenhouse gas emissions. An excellent example of this is the City of San Diego’s commitment to use only energy from renewable sources - like solar and wind - by 2035, making it one of the most aggressive Climate Action Plans in the country.

However, San Diego’s goal does face its fair share of challenges. Namely, the city and its residents do not decide the source from which their power comes. That choice is left to the local utility provider, San Diego Gas and Electric.

To avoid this situation, cities and municipalities throughout California - including Solana Beach - have implemented a system called Community Choice Energy (CCE). These programs are put in place to give the city decision-making power over which type of energy is put on the grid. So, cities like San Diego that have climate goals can now take more control over meeting those goals, without relying on the local electric supplier.


CCE does leave the distribution of power in the hands of the local utility company, which is where these businesses make their money anyway. In many respects, CCE lifts a large burden off of these companies. Although there was hesitation initially, all three major electricity providers in California now support CCE. Community Choice encourages local energy generation and allows for competition in the market, which keeps prices competitive and gives consumers more options about where and how energy is sourced. In short, CCE makes grids cleaner, cheaper, and more locally sourced.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer recently stated his support of a community choice program in San Diego. The city is now on a path to provide clean, local, and affordable energy to its residents. This will make San Diego a model for others around the world at a time when action on climate change is so absolutely imperative.

Although this is a huge success for the City of San Diego, much work remains to ensure CCE is implemented and that the climate goals are met. It is also important that other cities in San Diego County commit to use 100% renewable energy and adopt Community Choice programs. Join us in our journey to a fossil fuel free future.