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Speak up for these three little letters 

director Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club

Your story on the SLO City Council’s vote to adopt a Climate Action Plan (“SLO City progresses on climate plan,” July 19) noted that “the council amended the draft to require an in-depth cost-benefit analysis to accompany a proposal whenever specific strategies could end up costing residents.”

At the July 17 council meeting, staff did, in fact, dwell on financial costs. What has been sorely lacking is a discussion of financial benefits. Two proposals contemplated in the CAP—the establishment of a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program and a Feed-In Tariff (FIT)—would mean significant economic rewards for the city and its residents … provided the city gets around to implementing them. Municipalities that have taken control of electric rates via CCA have obtained rate reductions of 20 percent by aggregating their purchasing power. Add a feed-in tariff—whereby someone feeding excess power from their solar panels into the grid is paid for that energy—and SLO could acquire local solar power using long-term contracts, further driving down the cost of clean energy. A community that gets its energy from local projects realizes economic benefits that stay in the community.

The climate action plans for the city and county of SLO both contemplate the possibility of a CCA program and a FIT, but hide their potential economic windfall under a bushel. SLO City and County residents—and the citizens of all the other cities in the county now embarking on climate action plans—need to let their elected representatives hear the words: “I want CCA.”

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