The Clean Energy Revolution in San Mateo County

The Clean Energy Revolution in San Mateo County

Posted & filed under Green Business.

Clean energy100% Clean Energy: Of the county, for the county, by the county

Hey, San Mateo County residents and business owners, did you hear that clean energy explosion at midnight on April 1, 2017?  It was a massive attack of carbon-free electricity, shocked right into your home and office. Solar, wind and hydro kilowatts seizing your cable box, refrigerator and smartphone.

Can you hear it now? Probably not. But listen up: it’s a revolution!

This quiet but brilliant move was beautifully orchestrated on our behalf by city and county leaders in early 2016. Leveraging a little-known state law, AB117 from 2002, they embraced cleaner and greener electricity by forming a CCA (Community Choice Aggregation) entity. Never heard of CCA? Not many outside the power industry have. But you should. It’s a clean energy uprising – of the people, for the people, by the people. In our case, the people of San Mateo County.

Peninsula Clean EnergyCongratulations, Peninsula Clean Energy!

Launched in October 2016 and fully operational as of April, Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) is our CCA entity. By springtime, almost every San Mateo resident and business was automatically switched to PCE’s cleaner and greener electricity. While PG&E still delivers power through existing lines, bills us and answers maintenance calls, the company no longer generates our electricity. We do. We, of PCE. We, the 765,000 clean energy warriors of San Mateo County.

And the revolution continues. Without much fanfare, PCE celebrated its first birthday in October 2017. With only 15 employees but 300,000 accounts, this joint powers authority (JPA), governed by the county and its 20 cities, is our baby – by us, for us, of us. And it’s already a quiet giant running free, clean and green. Its total electrical load is almost 4 million megawatt-hours, delivered daily to our stores, homes, streetlights and more.

PCE Energy GraphicGo 100% Clean Energy with ECO100

PCE’s ECOplus baseline electricity option, delivered to most of our homes and businesses, is clean and green at 50 percent renewable and 80 percent carbon-free – a level that supports our county’s climate goals. ECOplus is much better for our planet than PG&E’s approximately 30 percent renewable, 70 percent carbon-free portfolio. And it’s cheaper than PG&E by $2/month for the average home.

But San Mateo County residents and business owners have an even better option: ECO100, – which offers 100 percent renewable and 100 percent carbon-free electricity for about $2/month per home more than PG&E. They also have the option to switch from ECOplus back to PG&E’s more expensive and less clean selection.

For Eco-Heroes who want 100 percent clean energy, ECO100 is just a click away. To opt up to ECO100, go to If you want to stay with ECOplus, there’s no need to do anything. You’re already there.

Whether you choose ECO100 or ECOplus, PCE’s not-for-profit earnings will be pumped right back into local programs within the county borders. To benefit “we the people,” not board room execs and shareholders.

100% Clean – and Proud of It!

So how did we get here?

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our local leaders – including Dave Pine (SMC Board of Supervisors, PCE Board of Directors Chairman), Jim Eggemeyer (SMC Office of Sustainability Director), Jan Pepper (PCE Chief Executive Officer) and many others.

As Peninsula Clean Energy moves into their second year, let’s opt for more clean energy and green tech growth. And a better planet for our next generation!

Author Doug Silverstein is a multi-generation Bay Area native and passionate contributor to the Citizens Environmental Council of Burlingame and Sustainable San Mateo County. Doug runs a local tech marketing agency and interests include hiking, travel, music, and family.

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From the 2017 Indicators Report

Between 1989 and 2014, low income wages decreased by 7% and high income wages increased by 27% in San Mateo County.

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‟The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them.”—Paul Hawken