Demystifying Sustainability: Greening Claremont’s electricity

by Richard Haskell and Sorrel Stielstra

Since early 2019, when Clean Power Alliance began procuring electrical energy for Claremont, our electricity has been generated with roughly 50% renewable energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal. We now have a remarkable opportunity to raise that percentage to nearly 100%, simply by upgrading our CPA “default rate product” from clean power (50% renewable) to 100% green power (100% renewable). And for at least the coming year, our city’s total electricity bill at the 100% green power rate will be lower than last year and lower than the SCE baseline rate. Yes, it sounds too good to be true, so here are the key facts:

• An astounding 96% of the one million CPA customers across Los Angeles and Ventura counties remain in the default rate product into which they were placed upon entry into CPA. Indeed, after nearly three years of enrollment in CPA, 98% of Claremont CPA customers remain in clean power, our current default rate product, despite the ease of switching rate products.

• Upgrading Claremont’s default rate product to 100% green power would move these 98% of Claremont customers to 100% green power.

• A customer’s prior “opt action” would be honored. Any Claremont customer who has previously opted out of clean power to either lean power (now 40% renewable) or 100% green power would remain in their preferred rate product.

• Any Claremont customer moved from clean power to 100% green power could immediately visit the CPA website (or phone CPA) and opt back to clean power (or opt to Lean Power) in a simple, five-minute process.

• Claremont customers moved from clean power to 100% green power would ordinarily experience a roughly 2.5% increase in monthly electricity bills. (Qualified low-income customers would not be subject to the 2.5% increase.) However, CPA and SCE financial analyses indicate that “come March 1, 2022, CPA’s customers are expected to receive a 6% bill reduction.” If that forecast becomes reality, the 6% bill reduction will wipe out the 2.5% bill increase mentioned above, at least for 2022.

• Participating in 100% green power offers Claremont customers (including renters or homeowners not interested in or able to purchase rooftop solar PV arrays) a relatively inexpensive option for addressing climate change.

• The overall impact of upgrading Claremont’s CPA default rate product from clean power to 100% green power is to green Claremont’s electricity consumption from 50% renewable to nearly 100% renewable, an easily accomplished yet truly amazing achievement. This switch to renewable energy sources in generating 45 million kWh of Claremont’s electrical energy each year is equivalent to eliminating the GHG emissions of 6,900 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles for one year or adding the carbon dioxide sequestering power of 39,000 acres of U.S. forests for one year.

• Greening Claremont’s electricity clearly aligns with our Sustainable City Plan and will aid the city’s ongoing pursuit of certification for U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Cities and Communities. All of these accomplishments will help the city qualify for external funds as we strive for increased sustainability and resilience.

Please join the Claremont City Council as it considers this proposal at its meeting on January 25th.

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