The Business Council would like to welcome our newest member K&D Landscaping. Based out of Watsonville, K&D Landscaping handles both commercial and residential landscaping all across the Monterey Bay region. Having been in business for over 30 years they have a proven track record of looking out for their employees and their community. Check out their website at http://www.kndlandscaping.com
SANTA CRUZ >> Around 100 local business leaders gathered at UC Santa Cruz on Thursday to discuss the pros and cons of working in Santa Cruz County and the region’s economic outlook.
It was the Santa Cruz County Business Council’s annual economic forum and the main speaker, Robert Kleinhenz, executive director of economic research at the Los Angeles firm Beacon Economics, delivered good news.
“There’s no recession in sight over the next 18 months,” Kleinhenz said.
A wobbly Chinese economy and Brexit won’t cause a prolonged downturn in the U.S. market, he said. Consumer, business and government spending all have shown solid growth. Unemployment is down. In California, jobs have been added faster than anywhere else in the country for the past four years. Also, oil prices are down, which is good, because it allows people to spend money on other things, he said.
Same thing goes for Santa Cruz County — economic indicators such as employment rates and consumer spending are good.
In effort to reduce our carbon footprint we have provided a copy of both Dr. Kleinhenz’s report and our report on the 2016 State of the Local Business Climate Survey online. Both reports are linked below and can be downloaded. Remember, only you can prevent some tree genocide.
SANTA CRUZ >> One theme of former congressman and current Chapman University professor Tom Campbell’s talk a Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce lunch on Wednesday was optimism.
Widely recognized as a national expert in economics and as a moderate Republican, he described some of the possible fall election outcomes and discussed their effects on key issues facing the country, the state and local communities.
He proposed that now is the time for governments to address unfunded pension obligations by borrowing when bond interest rates are at historic lows.
Please join our host, UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal, Business Council members and our community leaders in a lively discussion on the economic climate in the county.
We have a great program keynoted by: Beacon Economics’ Dr. Robert Kleinhenz, former Chief Economist of the Kyser Center at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation. Dr. Kleinhenz is one of California’s leading economists and well known for his deep expertise in the state’s economy.
Scott Brandt, Vice Chancellor for Research, will discuss the research economy, innovation and entrepreneurship and how the UC and UCSC make it easier to spin off companies.
The Santa Cruz County Business Council will release our 2016 business survey to give the audience a real-live data from our business leaders.
Date: June 30th 11:00 networking Lunch served at 11:30 am
Program: 12:00 noon – 1:30 pm
Location: Terra Fresca Restaurant @ the University Center – Colleges Nine and Ten.
Parking Service — East Remote Parking lot and shuttle service to the University Center.
Please join us for a great lunch time conversation on the state of our county’s economy.
Thank You to Our Sponsors:
Regional Plan Would Provide Consumer Choice, Increase Renewable Energy and Stimulate the Local Economy
- Increasing the local power portfolio of renewables by more than twice what is now offered by PG&E and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by purchasing energy that is at least 70% GHG free.
- Developing a long-term strategic goal of 100% regional energy self-sufficiency by building out local renewable generation projects, using revenue surplus that would otherwise have gone to PG&E shareholders.
- Creating numerous construction jobs for renewable energy build-out, many permanent operations and maintenance jobs, and nearly $1.4 billion in total economic output.
- Offering complementary programs that serve community interests such as net metering, comprehensive energy efficiency retrofits, community solar, electric vehicle charging, and support for local training programs.
- Monterey County: May 24: 9:30 a.m. to noon, Monterey County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 168 West Alisal Street, 1st Floor, Salinas.
- Santa Cruz County: June 9: 9:30 a.m. to noon, Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 701 Ocean Street, Room 500, Santa Cruz.
- San Benito County: June 9: 3-5:30 p.m., San Benito County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 481 4th Street, 1st Floor, Hollister.
CITY COUNCILS JOIN ENVIRONMENTAL, BUSINESS AND LABOR ORGANIZATIONS IN SUPPORT OF 30-YEAR TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PLAN
SANTA CRUZ – APRIL 27, 2016 – The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission today announced that its 30-year Transportation Improvement Plan (TRIP) was endorsed by the Santa Cruz and Watsonville City Councils in near-unanimous votes taken simultaneously on Tuesday evening.
In voting to support the TRIP, the city councils join the Capitola City Council and the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, as well as a broad range of local organizations that have endorsed the plan, some of which include:
- United Way/Go For Health
- Dominican Hospital/Dignity Health
- Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF)
- Monterey Bay Labor Council
- Visit Santa Cruz County (formerly the Conference & Visitors Council)
- Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce
- Ecology Action
- Friends of the Rail Trail
- Democratic Women’s Club of Santa Cruz County
- Santa Cruz County Business Council
For a list of additional supporters, visit www.sccrtc.org/move.
The 2016 Transportation Improvement Plan will benefit all residents, as well as visitors, through a balanced mix of projects across transportation modes and geographic areas of Santa Cruz County. The plan will provide traffic congestion relief; support and expand active transportation options; protect transportation for seniors, veterans and people with disabilities; preserve critical existing infrastructure; reduce reliance on Sacramento and Washington for transportation funds; create jobs; and stimulate economic vitality. The plan would be supported through a half-cent sales tax, should voters approve a proposed ballot measure in November 2016.
“The more people learn about the Transportation Improvement Plan, the more they understand that it is a thoughtful, well balanced approach to planning for our future in Santa Cruz County,” said George Dondero, executive director of the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission. “The 30- year plan benefits our community in many ways including: helping meet greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, preventing cuts to Metro services for those most in need, funding street improvements and repairs in neighborhoods and rural areas, investing in new projects for cyclists and pedestrians, relieving Highway 1 congestion for South County commuters, continuing expansion of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail now underway, funding an open public process to evaluate the potential for future rail transit service, building the Highway 17 wildlife under crossing and much more.
Summary of Key Benefits:
- Local street repair: Improved neighborhoods and increased safety for cyclists and pedestrians by repairing local streets and roads countywide.
- New bridges for cyclists and pedestrians: Cyclist- and pedestrian-only bridges to be built over Highway 1 at Chanticleer St. and Mar Vista Dr.
- Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail: Continued expansion of the Coastal Rail Trail spine of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail for cyclists and pedestrians along the rail corridor in Watsonville, Santa Cruz and Capitola, and connecting to Monterey County.
- Investigation of rail transit as a future option: Holding open the option of transit in the future by maintaining the tracks in the coastal rail corridor and researching future technologies through an open public process; the plan does not include funding for any new commuter or visitor rail service.
- Improvements to Highways 1, 9 and 17:
- HWY1: Traffic relief for South County and Mid-County commuters, small businesses, transit buses and first responders through the addition of auxiliary lanes.
- HWY17: Protection for wildlife by building an under crossing at Laurel Curve and funding the Safe-on-17 Freeway Service Patrol.
- HWY9: Safety improvements in the San Lorenzo Valley.
- Safety for kids: New funding for Safe Routes to Schools.
- Help for seniors, veterans and residents with disabilities: Sustain an effective paratransit system.The 2016 Transportation Improvement Plan (TRIP) was approved by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) in December 2015. A decision about placing the TRIP on the November 2016 ballot is expected to be made by the RTC in June 2016. For more information about the TRIP, visit www.sccrtc.org/move or www.facebook.com/sccrtc.
About the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission: The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) is responsible for delivering a full range of safe, convenient, reliable, and efficient transportation choices for the community. With a focus on long‐term sustainability, the RTC plans, funds, and implements transportation projects and services to meet the needs of all in the county.
The following is a memo drafted by SCCBC Intern Katerina Schreck. It provides an overview of the new policy tool “Community Choice Aggregation”, which allows local jurisdictions the ability to create a public power authority to compete alongside private power distributors, like PG&E.
In 2002, the California State Assembly Bill 117 (AB 117) was passed into law. AB 117 set out the framework for the formation and operation of Community Choice Aggregation (CCA). State Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, was signed into law in 2006 and directed public agencies in California to support the statewide target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In addition, California adopted ambitious energy and environmental policies to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 20% of 1990 levels by 2050 and, provides 33% of electricity demands in 2020 from renewable resources utilizing clean energy technologies and environmental benefits. In 2011, SB 790 was created to protect CCAs. SB 790 provides important limitations on how investor-owned utilities may or may not market against the formation of CCAs and customer enrollment. In 2012, SB 843 was created to expand private energy alternatives.
One method that has the potential to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy consumption is to establish a CCA system that allows California cities and counties the ability to aggregate the electric loads of residents, businesses and public facilities to purchase (and/or generate it) electrical energy in a more competitive market. CCA is a program available within the service areas of investor-owned utilities, such as PG&E, which allows cities and counties to purchase and/or generate electricity for their residents and businesses.
Under CCA, PG&E continues to deliver the electricity through its transmission and distribution system and provide meter reading, billing, maintenance, and outage response services. PG&E will continue to bill you for electricity delivery (non-generation charges). Your CCA provider will bill you for electric generation, which is included in your monthly PG&E bill.
One of the most prominent benefits of CCAs is that it offers communities with local control over energy decisions; choosing who provides their communities energy and what will be used to provide it. CCA offers energy independence, price stability and more efficient Energy Efficiency programs.
Lower energy rates- CCA allows for communities to negotiate the purchasing and development of power and energy-related programs on behalf of their communities.
Energy price stability- CCAs are able to finance conventional and renewable energy projects, which allows them to avoid the wholesale energy market for a portion of their power needs and further buffers them from market fluctuations. Finally, CCAs will lock in multi-year energy prices under contracts with energy service providers (ESPs), thus shielding themselves from short-term energy fluctuations. Business customers in particular tend to value predictability in their energy costs for use in financial planning. Rate stability can be a feature used to attract new businesses into a community or retain those that may be considering leaving due to high and unstable energy costs.
Local benefits- CCAs our local economy with jobs, keeping millions of dollars circulating in the County. For example in Sonoma County what existed was a very expensive private entity that took approximately $180 million in energy revenues out of Sonoma County every year, operating in a marketplace with no competition. By forming SCP, Sonoma County was able to redirect the net income from energy sales back into Sonoma County, while allowing any customers who did not want to participate to opt out and stay with PG&E.
Renewable and alternative energy- CCAs serve the mission of State Assembly Bill 32 in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and as a result increase reliance on renewable energy sources.
Establishing a CCA is not without risk, some of the problematic risks generally include:
Rate risk- the risk that the CCA’s rates are higher than those offered by the current utility
Opt-out risk- the risk that customers opt-out are too high and the program is thus economically infeasible. This is why many of the current utility companies charge a $100 fee for termination of services
Operational risk- the risks associated with commodity, credit, vendor default, poor management and oversight.
Legislative/regulatory risk- the risk associated with unfavorable state legislation or regulation that could threaten or harm the program.
CCAs would also incur known costs, such as costs for political opportunity costs, and administrative costs. A host of unknown costs and obstacles, including cost-shifting, market fluctuations, short term difficulties in attracting private investment, continuing procurement proceedings, complex local and state political negotiations.
Current Operational CCA programs in California:
Marin Clean Energy was California’s first Community Choice Aggregation program (2010), followed by Sonoma Clean Power (2014), and Lancaster Choice Energy (2015). CleanPowerSF is San Francisco’s CCA program and will be launching their program in May 2016. San Mateo County will be launching their CCA, Peninsula Clean Energy in August 2016.
Marin Clean Energy (MCE)
MCE is a not-for-profit public agency that offers 50-100% renewable energy for its customers. MCE’s service area includes Marin County, unincorporated Napa County and the cities of Benicia, El Cerrito, Richmond, and San Pablo. Gas services are not provided by MCE, and continue with your regular provider. MCE services 170, 500 customers.
In the first three years more than 1,300 jobs were created to support MCE. MCE has 20 employees and works with 54 vendor’s (34 local vendors).
A 17- member Board of Directors, representing each other the member communities that it services, governs MCE. MCE Board ensures transparency; all their monthly meetings are open to the public. The Directors are not paid by MCE. The MCE Board of Directors is comprised of elected city and county officials representing each of the communities that MCE serves. The MCE Board of Directors sets electric generation rates for our customers. Rate setting typically occurs on an annual basis, and new rates are usually approved in April.
The revenues received from their customers based on the electricity they consume finance MCE. MCE is self-funded and does not use any tax dollars. MCE is a not-for-profit public agency, which ensures that any financial benefits directly serve the community.
Sonoma Clean Power (SCP)
SCP is a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program, and has been the official electricity provider for Sonoma County since 2014. SCP serves all areas of Sonoma County with the exception of the city of Healdsburg, and is a not-for-profit public agency governed by a Board of elected officials and representatives from the participating cities/areas in the program.
The SCP rate has a premium of 3.5 cents per kilowatt-hour or about 20% over the cost of SCP’s CleanStart service. For a typical single-family home the premium would be around $18 per month. When you sign up with SCP you are locked into a one-year contract. There is a $100 early termination fee should customers decide to terminate service before the end of the 12-month period. In order for SCP to meet their market needs they established a multi-tier commercial rate system that encompases five competative rate categories; Industrial & General Service, Agriculture, Street and Outdoor lighting, Discounted, and 100% Renewable Option.
A Board of Directors governs SCP with members appointed by the County and the cities choosing to join. The Board is advised and reviewed by Ratepayer Advisory Committee and Business Operations Committee. The Board of Directors for Sonoma Clean Power. SCP is also run by a CEO and a small staff of 15 people. According to SCP this is not just another expensive government agency, because they are self-funded. None of the expenses are paid by taxes and the revenues cannot be diverted to pay for non-SCP use.
CleanPowerSF (CPSF) will provide San Francisco with new clean energy alternatives. It will begin its operations in May 2016, CleanPowerSF will give residential and commercial electricity consumers in San Francisco a choice of having more of their electricity supplied from clean, renewable sources—such as solar, wind, bioenergy, geothermal, and hydroelectric—at competitive rates. By law, CleanPowerSF is an opt-out program. If residents do not want to participate in CleanPowerSF, you must opt-out to stay with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) – currently providing 27% renewable energy. The rest of PG&E’s energy comes from nuclear, natural gas, hydroelectric power and other unspecified energy sources. While PG&E rates fluctuate throughout the year, CPSF sets electricity rates once a year. CPSF rates initially will not exceed a two-cent premium over PG&E’s basic energy rates per kilowatt hour delivered – about $6 more per month for the average residential customer and $33 more per month for the average small commercial customer.
CleanPowerSF is administered by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC)—San Francisco’s Cleanest Electric Utility. For nearly 100 years, the SFPUC has generated 100% greenhouse gas-free electricity from the Hetch Hetchy Power System for vital City services and customers like MUNI, SFO, schools, SF General Hospital and others. CleanPowerSF will be administered by the same clean energy experts.
Other Communities looking into Aggregation
There are several other CCA’s that are under development in Alameda County (East Bay Community Energy), Contra Costa County, and Silicon Valley (Silicon Valley Clean Energy).
Many others are currently investigating the possibility of forming a CCA in Butte County, City of San Jose, Humboldt County, Lake COunty, Los Angeles County, Mendocino County, Placer County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, San Diego County, Santa Barbara County, San Luis Obispo County and Santa Clara County.
For more information please visit: