Local group pushes for aggregation


By Dillon Davis - cdavis@aimmediamidwest.com



Delaware City Council continues to weigh the idea of entering into a citywide energy aggregation program, most recently doing so during a work session held March 1 with Scioto Energy. A week later during council’s regular meeting held Monday, members heard from Anna Willow, of Sustainable Delaware Ohio (SDO), who discussed why the nonprofit organization continues to push for the city to make the move to aggregation.

Willow, an environmental anthropologist at The Ohio State University and a board member for SDO, said of aggregation and clean energy, “We feel very, very strongly that now is the time to move forward with our clean energy future. We feel very strongly that this is the future, and it’s really important.”

Willow began her presentation by stating that aggregation would save Delaware residents money on their electric bills while also protecting them from pricing volatility.

“I know some of the presentations you heard last week, that I watched very, very closely, said that’s not always the case. But, in fact, we have done our homework, and we have talked to many, many providers who say that it is possible to pay below the PTC — the price to compare — even going with 100% renewables.”

Greg Bechert, the CEO of Scioto Energy, said during last week’s work session, “The key thing that people don’t often share, or maybe don’t understand … is that energy is a commodity,” he said. “It’s a traded commodity, just like wheat, corn and soybeans. So, this concept of the more people I have together will get me a better rate couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Willow said SDO has spoken with the Sustainable Ohio Public Energy Council (SOPEC), which has told them that it is managing to do just that, getting a lower cost of energy for all its customers. She advised council to talk to “experts” such as SOPEC, as well as other cities that have taken part in aggregation programs to discuss their experiences.

Supporting Ohio jobs and keeping money in the state was another factor Willow pointed to in the need for aggregation and the shift to renewable energy. The “freedom of choice” would also be beneficial to Delaware residents, according to Willow. She said residents who don’t wish to partake in the program can easily opt out, making them free to pursue their own providers.

Perhaps most important to SDO’s push for aggregation and renewable energy is doing its part to address climate change and reduce harmful emissions “that impact our community, my children, and yours,” Willow went on to say.

In order to begin the push for aggregation, Willow said the city can start by approving and submitting language for a ballot measure with the Delaware County Board of Elections. From there, Willow said Sustainable Delaware would then run a “Yes campaign” to garner support for passage of the measure, while also partnering with nonprofits to educate the community on what they’ll be voting on.

From there, should there be support, the city would then need to select a broker such as SOPEC or NOPEC. Willow’s timeline suggested the city could be selecting the broker by the end of the year leading into implementation in 2022.

Willow pointed to the success of ballot measures on aggregation in Columbus, Grove City, and Worthington as reasons for optimism that the Delaware community could rally around the ballot measure.

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By Dillon Davis

cdavis@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.

Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.