Today is the one week anniversary of the stunning and ginormous election victory the people of Hermosa Beach, California won with a record turnout at the ballot box.
For several days leading up to the now legendary beatdown Hermosa Beach gave E&B Oil and their attempt to scam the City into selling out their future for dirty, polluting fossil fuels that have no future – the one question I heard asked over and over again was –
What does this amazingly potent and powerful coalition of community members from, not just Hermosa Beach but from up and down the coast of our Santa Monica Bay, do next with this energy? What one issue transcends all differences to unite us once again to do great things? What impossible dream is next tackled?
For those of us at South Bay 350, that’s an easy answer, just as was our decision to throw all-in with Keep Hermosa Hermosa and the effort to Stop Hermosa oil.
“What’s Next?” is the quickest possible transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
It’s a 100% renewable powered South Bay in 10 years. How does that grab you?
We either do that or we can guarantee our kids and their kids after them a climate that will become unlivable. A climate that does not support civilization in the ways we have known it. A climate you would never want anyone you love to have to live in.
Which is why “What’s Next?” for us is Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) – What we’re calling South Bay Clean Power locally.
It is the quickest and most proven path for us to take to get to the clean, green, renewably powered tomorrow we must build if we want to survive.
The good news is that a broad team of us have been working on this for almost a year now and we are on the verge of getting the all important funding we need for the feasibility study that the cities of Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica, Torrance and Carson have already voted to participate in. Soon we expect the cities of Inglewood, Gardena and the other eight cities that make up the South Bay COG to join them.
The even better news is that the County of Los Angeles is supportive of and interested in exploring our initiative.
It’s an easy initiative to support since its proof of concept, Marin Clean Energy (MCE), in business since 2010, is delivering 50% renewable energy at a lower rate than the investor owned monopoly utility, PG&E and enjoys local control and direction through the nonprofit Joint Powers Authority MCE formed to run its operation. It is by every measurement a resounding success and the model we have started with here.
CCA’s like MCE deliver not just 50% renewable energy as the baseline, they also allow their customers to pay a few bucks more to go 100% renewable energy today. Not 10 years from now. Today.
We’re not alone here in the South Bay in knowing What’s Next – Cities and counties from one end of California to the other are moving quickly to try and form a Community Choice Power program with initiatives in various stages of development. And it’s no surprise why. This program doesn’t use any tax dollars and any development or study costs are paid back from the program’s revenue after its up and running.
“What’s Next?” is also the jobs and economic investment Community Choice Power delivers right here in the community. Look what Marin Clean Energy has done:
With our current momentum here in the South Bay and the amount of electric power our 16 cities use there is no reason South Bay Clean Power will not become our state’s next Community Choice Power program and reap the clean power and economic boosts that come with it.
Nothing accelerates the addition of more renewable energy production locally more than a California based Community Choice Power program does. Look what MCE has done:
And the great news is that in order to make South Bay Clean Power “What’s Next?” we don’t need you to donate any money, or give up your weekends to canvas door to door or your evenings to phone bank. We don’t have to fight a fossil fuel company or respond to full page ads in the newspaper against us. We don’t have to fight anyone. All we have to do is win-win-win.
All we need is the growing awareness, knowledge and support of the community and as much involvement as you want to give. This is first and foremost a citizen led initiative with an all volunteer, ad hoc working group made up of members from 10 different cities and growing. This is a whole lot easier and more fun than battling to defeat Measure O in Hermosa Beach or Measure B in Redondo Beach.
“What’s Next?” for us is continuing our outreach to the cities of Inglewood, Gardena, Hawthorne, Lomita, Lawndale, and the Peninsula communities to help them join the initiative. We’d love your help and participation in doing so.
While it’s true that we don’t have to fight anyone to make South Bay Clean Power “What’s Next?” we are fighting FOR someone.
We are fighting for the rights of our neighbors in our frontline, working class communities to have healthier air to breathe and a better future climate for their children. Specifically the cities of Torrance, Carson, Inglewood, Gardena and Hawthorne – cities with freeways running through them, with heavy industry, chemical plants and refineries next door to residential neighborhoods. Bringing Community Choice Power to these cities and communities just like them – those with the highest asthma and respiratory disease rates due to air pollution, and the most number of contaminated/brownfield sites – is nothing short of environmental justice.
We believe that “What’s Next?” is environmental justice as a requirement on the road to 100% renewable power for us all.
More than anything else, “What’s Next?” is a Community Choice Power program that saves us money, saves us energy, dramatically cuts our rates of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, creates jobs, brings investment funding to clean power projects in our communities and gives us local control of our energy supply and future. All of which makes all other planning for all other projects over the next 20 years and beyond possible.