Don Mosier | Rimini Road
The Clean Energy Alliance (CEA) Joint Powers Authority (JPA) has been moving forward towards a planned launch date of May 2021 when electricity will be provided to residents and businesses in Del Mar, Solana Beach and Carlsbad. Some cracks in the alliance have begun to emerge, and financing and labor union workers are the biggest issues.
CEA needs about $4.5 million in start-up costs that are to be repaid from revenues from the sale of electricity. The better of two loan offers required the three member agencies to provide loan guarantees that were prorated for each cities share of the energy load. Del Mar City Council approved their $75,000 contribution, Solana Beach City Council approved their $175,000 share, but Carlsbad City Council did not vote on their $2,250,000 assessment. Carlsbad considered loaning CEA that amount, but that offer failed to gain council approval.
Without the $4.5 million loan, CEA would have been out of funds in September 2020, but Calpine offered a $400,000 loan that would keep CEA afloat until February 2021. CEA does have the option of accepting the second loan offer or negotiating better terms from either of the two lenders.
There was extensive analysis of the CEA Inclusive and Sustainable Workforce Policy at the August 20th Board Meeting. Although all board members supported the general goals of the policy drafted by staff, there was serious concern about Project Labor Agreements (PLA) for future CEA construction projects. The PLAs would favor union laborers, and much of the wording came from the San Diego electrical workers union. After some politically divisive public comment, the CEA Board voted to approve most of the staff policy statement but to delay considering PLAs until there were projects in the planning stages. This was approved by a 2-1 vote, with CEA Boardmembers Haviland and Becker in favor and Schumacher opposed.