California’s next climate step: pushing for equitable choices

When it comes to climate action, it will be hard for California to top 2018. Last year legislators passed a law committing our state to 100% emission-free electricity by 2045, and our governor issued an executive order setting the goal of a carbon-neutral economy by the same year.

Now the architects of those initiatives have moved on, and a new crop of leaders faces the enormous task of meeting these goals. What can they do to hit these ambitious targets while also making life better for the people who put them in office?

It’s a moment that calls for big-picture thinking. As experts in environmental economics and urban planning, we see a promising path forward in bundling climate change solutions with initiatives to ease the housing crisis, transportation problems, and income inequality. At the center of this approach is a simple but powerful concept:  choice.

We’re not talking about expanding the kind of choice that the well-off among us are accustomed to enjoying while the people most in need of real options lose out.  Rather, we believe all Californians — including members of low-income and vulnerable communities — deserve choice in terms of where they live, where they work, how they move around, and how they power their lives.

As a first step, we should dramatically increase choice when it comes to housing and transportation. California could launch its own version of a Green New Deal to build millions of units of affordable housing near mass transit and work centers. We could also radically expand options for Californians to conveniently ride transit, walk, bike, share rides, and otherwise avoid the high cost of driving fossil-fuel-powered cars. Improved housing and transportation choice would save countless hours and dollars for Californians who currently have no other option but dependency on gasoline guzzlers.

Tested tools include incentives for local governments and residents to make housing and transportation choices that reduce gasoline dependence, such as retiring polluting vehicles and replacing them with clean cars or transit passes. At UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation, our research has found that existing clean transportation incentives could be expanded to cost-effectively reduce pollution while increasing the wellbeing of Californians.

Expanding transportation and housing choices requires government resources. Funding can come from the many revenue-generating policies California already has in place, such as the cap-and-trade program for carbon pollution and the gasoline tax (Senate Bill 1).

In the electricity sector, innovative programs to increase choice are already making a big difference in California’s energy mix. Over the past 8 years, 19 community choice energy programs have emerged across the state. Community choice aggregators respond to local energy priorities, instead of answering to far-flung shareholders like a traditional investor-owned utility would. And as Luskin Center research documents, California communities that are given the choice choose renewable energy: community choice aggregators offered an average of 52 percent renewable energy in 2017.

Read more here: California’s next climate step: pushing for equitable choices

CalCCA Issues Report on CCA Efforts to Advance Equity and Diversity in Local Communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 5, 2018
Press Contact: Leora Broydo Vestel
(415) 999-4757 | leora@cal-cca.org

CalCCA Issues Report on CCA Efforts to Advance Equity and Diversity in Local Communities

Concord, Calif. – The California Community Choice Association (CalCCA) has issued a new report that details efforts by the state’s Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) to advance equity and diversity through their procurement, policy and program activities. The report’s release coincided with the California Public Utilities Commission’s Supplier Diversity En Banc, held on October 4 in Richmond.

The report, titled “Beyond Supplier Diversity,” highlights CCA initiatives that align with the intent and spirit of General Order (GO) 156, the CPUC’s Utility Supplier Diversity Program. The program monitors supplier diversity in procurements by participating utilities and oversees a clearinghouse of women; minority; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT); and disabled veteran-owned business enterprises.

CalCCA Executive Director Beth Vaughan and MCE Chief Executive Officer Dawn Weisz participated in a panel at the En Banc which focused on emerging energy markets. They highlighted the steps CCAs are taking to ensure their operations are inclusive of diverse groups, such as those targeted in the GO 156 program.

CalCCA’s Environmental Justice and Equity Working Group compiled the report after surveying CCAs to find out what they are doing to promote economic development in diverse communities.

“We asked, what are the CCAs doing to ensure access, inclusion, and representation of underrepresented sectors in the core business of CCAs, that of clean energy,” Vaughan said at the En Banc.

CCA programs and activities featured in the report vary widely, from the creation of community advisory committees and local development business plans to the funding of grants to enable community engagement and local workforce development initiatives.

“In their role as public, not-for-profit agencies, CCAs share a commitment to inclusion and representation of our diverse communities through democratic governance and intensive community engagement,” the report notes.

The working group is evaluating CCA diversity activities to establish best practices that can be shared within CalCCA’s membership and with external stakeholders. CalCCA also plans to host a CCA supplier diversity symposium next year in Southern California. The first symposium, co-hosted by CalCCA and the Greenlining Institute, was held in January 2018 in Richmond.

The full report is available here.

 

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About CalCCA: The California Community Choice Association supports the development and long-term sustainability of locally-run Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) electricity providers in California. CalCCA is the authoritative, unified voice of local CCAs, offering expertise on local energy issues while promoting fair competition, consumer choice and cost allocation and recognizing the social and economic benefits of localized energy authorities. There are currently 19 operational CCA programs in California serving an estimated 8 million customers in 2018.

 

For more information about CalCCA, visit www.cal-cca.org.

PCIA

PCIA Fact Sheet

Community Choice to Determine California’s Energy Future

When the California Public Utilities Commission issued its May 3 white paper on change in California’s electricity system and customer choice, it sounded an alarm of impending doom due to diversification coming from both local communities and technologies. Don’t be fooled by this false alarm.

Good things are happening in California’s electricity markets. Community choice aggregators are now providing electric generation service to millions of Californians. CCAs are public agencies that contract for cleaner, low-cost electric supply delivered to you by utilities such as PG&E.

Read more here: https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Community-choice-to-determine-California-s-12992415.php