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School District to Transition to 100 Percent Green Power

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By Lookout Staff

April 19, 2023 -- The School District is transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy after a rise in Southern California Edison's (SCE) base price made the move more attractive, District officials said Tuesday.

It will take six months to fully complete the transition to green power provided by the Clean Power Alliance (CPA) after the School Board unanimously approved the move on March 15, officials said.

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"SMMUSD is on a sustainable path and has maintained its commitment to educating, implementing and promoting sustainability, however, there is still more work to be done to reach the 100 percent renewable energy goal," the District said.

Although most of the schools are currently on the 40 percent renewable plan through the CPA that can be upgraded 100 immediately, Samohi, Malibu High School and Middle School are not currently on any CPA plan.

Under the new plan, "SCE will still serve as the pipeline to deliver electricity to the District, however, through the partnership with CPA it will come from energy generated by renewable sources rather than natural gas."

The District ran on 100 percent green power through the CPA from March 2019 until March 2020 before costs went up and the District turned to SCE to provide 60 percent of its energy, officials said.

“Since initially presenting to the board in January 2022, SCE’s base rates for electricity have increased and CPA’s 100 percent green power rate is currently less expensive,” said Austin Toyama, the District's Sustainability Manager.

It will initially cost the the District an additional $109,000 per year on top of the $884,000 it currently pays for CPA’s base renewable energy rate, Toyama said.

This would be largely offset over the next few years as new solar projects come online that will allow the District to generate 28 to 30 percent of its own energy, up from the current 22 percent, he said.

This would reduce the total net added cost of the transition to approximately $30,000 a year, according to Toyama.

“Switching to 100 percent renewable energy will enable the District to curb emissions, meet our sustainability plan goals and continue leading in sustainability among public school districts,” he said.

“SCE and CPA rates change year-to-year, but our increased solar generation projections and facilities-wide energy management efforts will greatly reduce any potential added costs for sourcing renewable energy,” Toyama added.

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