When you think of renewable energy, you probably think of wind turbines and solar panels, clean sources of energy that can make up a small percentage of our electric power supply. Often, the idea is that these sources of power are not consistent and tend to cost more than fossil fuel power plants running on coal or natural gas.
The truth is, a quiet revolution has been taking place, making these clean sources of energy far more competitive. In fact, Forbes magazine noted earlier this year that there are already more jobs in the solar industry than in oil, coal and gas combined. This is driven by two major factors: a stunning decline in the cost of renewable energy, as new technologies and economies of scale have made renewable energy less expensive than fossil fuels in more and more markets, and improvements in battery and other energy storage technologies that can make renewable energy more reliable throughout the day and all year long.
However, a recent local development that really makes it time for Long Beach to go renewable involves legislation that enables communities to create new electric energy providers, called Community Choice Energy (CCE).
Last month, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a new CCE for the 1 million residents in the unincorporated areas of the County, and invited cities to join. This new CCE promises more renewable energy at lower costs than Southern California Edison (SCE), largely by taking advantage of the precipitous drop in renewable energy that SCE, with long term contracts, can’t take advantage of. Amazingly, LA County’s CCE also plans to make available a 100 percent renewable energy option competitive with today’s SCE rates.
So let’s recap—with a vote by our City Council we could sign Long Beach up for:
- 100 percent Renewable Energy
- Local jobs for our community in a growing field
- More capacity for the growing fleet of electric vehicles
- Less air pollution and a better planet for ourselves and future generations
Seems like it’s time for Long Beach to take action. If you agree, make sure to let the Mayor and Council know. On June 22 at 4:00PM in the Long Beach City Hall Chambers, the Long Beach Sustainable City Commission will hear presentations about CCE. The public is invited to attend and all attendees are welcome to make public comments.
Coby Skye is an 18-year resident of Long Beach and works as an environmental engineer with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. He was recently elected to chair the Long Beach Sustainable City Commission and also volunteers as a board member for the Long Beach Area Group of the Sierra Club.