The Local Government Sustainable Energy Coalition provides a strong expert voice for its members on crucial energy policy matters. The Coalition’s staff closely monitors proceedings of the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission and the California Air Resources Board, and submits formal comments on issues that matter to the Coalition’s members. No other group that represents local governments has a regular presence at the implementation level with all these key regulatory agencies. When state laws and policies are converted into specific regulations and programs, only the LGSEC is there to provide a local government perspective and identify emerging challenges.
LGSEC is a leading voice on the following issue areas:
California’s cities and counties spend a large amount of money every year to operate buildings and provide local services. Through a wide range of projects and practices, they can save money, reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and free up public dollars to provide vital public services.
LGSEC has successfully educated State policymakers and regulators about the important role local governments play in achieving California’s energy efficiency goals, and continues to closely monitor energy efficiency issues ranging from energy use in buildings to utility program structures.
In California, the renewable portfolio standard requires the state’s investor-owned utilities to increase procurement from eligible renewable energy resources by at least 1% of their retail sales annually, until they reach 33% by 2020. These ambitious goals continue to feed strong innovation and investment in renewable energy technologies and projects. Local governments have ample opportunities to implement these technologies and support the expansion of clean, renewable energy through their control of local infrastructure and land use, as well as their influence with residents and businesses.
LGSEC works on behalf of our members to remove financial and logistical obstacles to renewable energy — whether solar, wind, wave, or biofuels. The Coalition advocates for well-structured, long-term funding and incentive programs for clean energy and supports members’ efforts to develop a variety of renewable energy projects, many of them quite small, by shaping State regulatory policy.
California cities, counties, and special districts play a crucial role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping the state of California reach the emissions reduction targets set under AB 32 (requires a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020) and the Renewable Portfolio Standard. Cities and counties also play a critical role in adapting to climate change. Local governments have large influence and authority over many planning, development, municipal, and community activities that can significantly affect greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, local governments can often move more swiftly than state and federal government bodies.
LGSEC has been active before the California Air Resources Board on the importance of opportunities for local governments to participate in cap and trade programs as part of the State’s effort to combat climate change. The work that we have done before the California Air Resources Board, the California Energy Commission, and particularly the California Public Utilities Commission has resulted in greater emphasis from State policy makers on opportunities for engaging local governments in planning and implementing strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2003, Assembly Bill 117 gave local governments the ability to purchase electricity on behalf of their constituents. Under community choice aggregation, investor-owned utilities continue to provide transmission and distribution service, while local governments have the option to purchase cleaner energy for their residents.
LGSEC remains instrumental to the progress of community choice aggregation, in which local communities aggregate the buying power of individual customers and enter into energy supply contracts – generally with more renewable sources than the utility company. In fact, the Coalition grew out of an ad hoc group of local governments that shaped the ground rules for community choice aggregation in 2004 and 2005. Those rules recognize the ability and authority of local governments to develop and implement programs that meet their community’s energy goals.