The Novato City Council voted unanimously to have the Marin Energy Authority (MEA) provide the City’s electricity needs—a move that will save the City approximately $9,000 annually and allow it to procure nearly 50% of its electricity from renewable sources.

“By selecting MEA to provide our energy needs, we are investing in renewable energy projects for future generations,” said Councilmember Denise Athas. “Our goals are to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by utilizing cleaner power, increase our local options for reliable, renewable energy, and leverage our purchasing power to develop long-term rate stability through local control.”

In September 2011, the City of Novato joined the MEA, a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA). The purpose of the Marin Energy Authority is to address climate change by reducing energy related greenhouse gas emissions and securing energy supply, price stability, energy efficiencies and local economic and workforce benefits. Once Novato elected to join the CCA, utility customers were given the option of continuing to receive power generation from PG&E, which includes approximately 20% renewable energy in its power sources, or to subscribe to Marin Clean Energy, which offers a 50% renewable energy product as well as a 100% renewable energy product.

In June 2012, the City chose to stay with PG&E, citing projected cost increases of approximately $7,800 if it switched to MEA. Subsequent rate increases by PG&E in July 2012 and January 2013 that resulted in more than a 10% cost increase to the City, as well as an announcement of an additional increase expected this May, prompted the City to revisit its participation in the MEA program.

Effective next month, the City will be enrolled in the MEA’s Marin Clean Energy (MCE) “Light Green” Program, which offers 50% renewable energy from wind, solar, biogas, and hydroelectric projects in Northern California, Oregon, and Washington. MEA set it most recent rates in April and the anticipated savings are based upon those rates which are expected to stay in place through April 2014. The transfer of accounts will not include the Marin Valley Mobile Country Club

“Sustainable local power is feasible, practical, and cost effective,” said Ed Mainland, Secretary and boardmember of Sustainable Novato, an all-volunteer community non-profit promoting sustainable living in Novato. “By utilizing an electrical energy mix with a higher proportion of contracted renewable power, we can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our community.”

MEA is a not-for-profit agency created in 2008 by the County of Marin and its cities and towns to administer the first Community Choice Aggregation program, Marin Clean Energy (MCE), in the state. MEA is governed by a 13-member Board of Directors representing each of the jurisdictions who administer and oversee the MCE program. In addition to Marin County, MEA also supplies electricity to Richmond residents and businesses.

The City has developed policies and implemented strategies that help meet the environmental challenges facing local government, including adopting a local Climate Action Plan in 2009 that sets a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 2005 levels by 2035, and implementing solar energy projects at City-owned facilities, replacing high pressure sodium lamps in streetlights with less energy-intensive LED lights resulting in an annual savings of $110,000, and the installing electric vehicle charging stations citywide to accommodate the projected increase of both electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.