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COOS BAY — A new energy model that promotes sustainable electricity was presented to the Coos Bay City Council and the public Tuesday.

The presentation by the LEAN Energy Project was made in an attempt to start a conversation about Community Choice Aggregation, which is an energy model that relies on local generated sustainable electricity.

CCA is a local energy model, authorized by some states that allows cities, counties or groups of them, in states where authorized, to aggregate electricity for the purpose of procuring power that is cheaper and greener than that provided by the investor-owned utility.

“We believe times have changed and distributed energy technology, whether it’s solar, or wind, or grid upgrades, have made local energy much more affordable,” Alan Hickenbottom with LEAN Energy project said.

Instead of utilities having energy shipped in to distribute to homes, it is produced locally through sustainable means.

Currently eight states have approved CCA models, the first of which was Massachusetts in 1999.  

CCA’s are different than municipal utilities in that the municipal utilities are owned by a city. With a CCA Utility companies maintain ownership of utilities, but the energy they provide is produced locally.

“This is not an anti-utility effort. Sometimes it gets framed that way, but it’s not. The situation allows utilities to continue to do what they do best, which is maintain the poles and wires and maintain heavy capital,” Hickenbottom said.

In a CCA, municipalities are able to set rates through a CCA Board, resulting in a potentially lower cost to those in the community paying for power.

LEAN Energy Project is making presentations across the state, and seeing if cities are interested in possibly converting to a CCA model. The project will attempt to pass legislation through state legislature in the next session to approve CCA’s.

“We’re asking local governments to either adopt a simple resolution, or sign a letter of support, not saying that they going to do it. Just saying that they think it’s interesting and it should be studied.This is an opt out program, in general people don’t have to be in the CCA. They would simply fall back to PacifiCorp,” Hickenbottom said.

The council seemed interested in the idea of a CCA, bout has not yet decided whether or not it will be sending a letter of support to help CCAs pass through the legislature.

“I think it’s something we should keep in mind. They’re not asking for any commitment, just a letter of support sent to legislation. Then legislation is going to have to make a decision,” Mayor Joe Benetti said.

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Nicholas A. Johnson can be reached at 541-266-6049, or by email at nicholas.johnson@theworldlink.com.

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