How the Community Choice Model Is Accelerating the Shift to Clean Energy

Community Choice AggregationAmericans want clean energy – and while Congress has been slow to act, many communities are taking matters into their own hands. As this Guardian article reports, publicly-run programs called Community Choice Aggregation are giving states, cities, and counties across the nation the ability to choose where their energy comes from.
 
Here’s how it works: government-run local agencies buy power from private companies producing wind energy, solar energy, or other forms of renewable power. The local utilities that run the grid then distribute that power to their customers, who pay the agency rather than the utility. Customers can choose the clean-energy option or stick with traditional, fossil-fuel-produced energy – and in dozens of towns and cities, clean energy is winning out.
 
We can’t afford to wait around for climate solutions – so it’s encouraging to see people demanding clean energy, and using their buying power to create a major shift in the market.
 

Community Energy Model Is Speeding U.S. Move to Renewables

Michael Levitin, contributor to the Guardian
 
Publicly-run clean energy programmes are flourishing across the US, as states from California to Massachusetts and Ohio embrace the switch from fossil-fuel based power.
 
Sewage and solar power may be odd bedfellows in the race to save the climate. But in Sonoma County, one hour north of San Francisco, an experiment is underway to install the nation’s largest floating solar array on a series of wastewater treatment ponds.
 
The sprawling 12.5MW Megawatt “flotovoltaic” park due for completion in 2016 covers 38 acres, or the area of 35 football fields, in a farming and vineyard region where real estate costs are at a premium.
 
The project signals the growing clout of Sonoma Clean Power, a new government-run agency that has made this county of 500,000 the lead producer of solar energy per capita in America. At 310 watts of installed power per person, Sonoma has five times the national average.
 
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Image credit: Brant Ward/Corbis

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