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About 'Wake up Atascadero' 

About community choice energy aggregators: They are nothing more than a middleman for your electric power. The costs can increase and already have in some locations.

Unless there are transmission lines connected to distribution lines connected directly to your house, you receive the same combination of energy sources as I do in SLO County, which does not subscribe to the community choice energy aggregator. Renewables are not as useful as most believe. Think about it; when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow, the power is interrupted. When this occurs, sources of reliable power need to be available and increased. There is no way renewables could ever provide 100 percent of our power. It's not the hope for the future. There is no way the aggregators can guarantee how much renewable energy you are receiving.

What isn't generally known by the public is that only 15 to 20 percent of solar power is actually efficient. The remaining 80 to 85 percent rises and increases the heat in the atmosphere as infrared light. There is no perfect solution. No source of energy has zero drawbacks.

CALISO, the California Independent System Operator, constantly monitors the demand and availability of power. The ever-changing availability of wind and solar creates a challenge to fill the gap to avoid blackouts. California experienced occasional blackouts in 2020 due to a lack of instant availability of replaceable power. No wind, no sun, no power. To fill the gap created by the loss of the intermittent power, a source or sources of sustainable power needs to be available to take over. It's a huge challenge for CALISO to juggle the power sources to keep the grid steady and able to deliver the ever-changing demand for electricity.

At the onset of community choice aggregators, each City Council was given the authority to choose yes or no. The residents were not given a choice, except in the very beginning to reject. If anyone wants to opt out after a certain amount of time, they are finding it very difficult, which includes a sizable fee. Atascadero realized all the downsides in the beginning.

Do the math. If wind and solar are only intermittent, it can't possibly be expected to provide more than what is available, which at best it is just now and then. The huge $50 million battery storage facility in Tehachapi is equipped to provide only four hours of backup energy before it needs recharging.

As mentioned above, there is no perfect solution to the challenges we face with the ongoing concerns for clean energy.

Ellie Ripley

Arroyo Grande

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