How CCA Happened

Video album of Paul Fenn's speeches on Community Choice Aggregation 

Since ancient Athens, democracy has not worked very well: how to disengage democracy from oligarchy and imperialism, and how to engage people in self-government and community? 19th century political theory recycled this question in a negative dialectic between imperial capitalism and nationalistic socialism. Since the Cold War, no progress has been made to cut the Gordian knot. Lacking any substantively different way forward, modern political discourse is stuck in a sterile dialectic between two false options. A change not merely of values, but of knowledge itself, within democracy, is needed. 

Community Choice Aggregation was put forward as a way out of this ancient intellectual trap. Ultimately it is an attempt to give people the opportunity to be responsible for their needs - by giving them control. The many crises of modernity - endless war, species extinction, nuclear weapons proliferation, drug addiction, mass displacement, mass illiteracy, suicide, corruption, and the like - are all attributable to a common ephiphenomenon - the Enlightenment spinning out of control, technology away from democracy; until the advent of climate change, coherent theoretical debate was avoidable through dissimulation and amnesia . Governments could wring their hands, do nothing, and move on. The victims died and disappeared: problem solved.  Climate change is different: if you do nothing, it gets worse, for everyone. Climate Change is not merely a crisis but an opportunity: the ultimate test of the Enlightenment and modern democracy. 

The electricity industry is both the main cause of climate change, and the main path to a solution. If you add the 1/3 of all greenhouse gases that power plants cause to the 1/3 of greenhouse gases that could be reduced by electrification by renewable transportation, changing electricity is capable of solving 2/3 of the cause of climate change. Fenn chose the transformation of energy as the forum for a change of intellectual action in a democracy: a "positive dialectic."  

How a Theory Became Real

in order to get past Karl Marx and Milton Friedman

Project Layers

Wrote a Theory
"Positive Dialectics" - Univ. of Chicago
Wrote a Law
"Municipal Aggregation" (Massachusetts Senate)
Campaigned for Laws
Muni. Agg. Laws in Ohio, New Jersey
Wrote a Municipal Revenue Bond Authority to Finance Renewables & Efficiency
"Solar Bonds" - City of San Francisco
Revised the Law
"Community Choice Aggregation 2.0" (California Assembly)
Defend CCA 2.0 from Utility Attack Through Regulators
Helped Write CCA Rules & Procedures & Opposed Utility Procurement Plans - California Public Utilities Commission
Wrote CCA 2.0 Ordinance
CCA Rules & Procedures - California Public Utilities Commission
Wrote CCA 2.0 Implementation Plan
City of San Francisco Program Design, Draft Implementation Plan and H Bond Action Plan 
Defend CCA from Political Attack
Founder, No on Proposition 16 (California Charter Amendment by Pacific Gas & Electric)
Designed CCA 2.0 Programs, Criticized Backward CCA Programs
City of San Francisco In-City Buildout Business Plan
Adapted CCA 2.0 to Other States
CCA 2.0 Toolkit - New York State Energy Research & Development Authority 

First Layer: Community Choice 1.0 and 2.0 Laws

Massachusetts, Ohio and New Jersey focused on greener energy: California and New York on energy localization

Check Out our Video

It will dazzle you with its movement of things.

Second Layer: Municipal Solar Bonds

To finance local renewables and energy efficiency on residences, businesses and government buildings

San Francisco City Charter Amendment

Observing the failure of early CCAs to localize energy, Fenn drafted a new charter amendment, adding to CCA the authority to use revenue bonds to finance local renewables and energy efficiency measures on homes, businesses and government facilities.

Proposition H - Solar Bonds - the "Campaign for Solar Neighborhoods"

Local Power political director Julia Peters ran the campaign for Proposition H in San Francisco, with Fenn on the Steering Committee. Prop H was approved by voters in November, 2001.

Third Layer: Municipal Ordinance
Combining CCA and Solar Bonds

The "Energy Independence" Ordinance Defined the CCA 2.0 Program Design:
Meet or Beat the Utility Rate with a Financed Local Renewables/Efficiency Buildout

Ordinance 86-04 ordered CCA and Solar Bonds as one structure with rates meeting or beating the utility rates

Adopted by San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2004

It defined the program & ordered a citywide multi-hundred million $ build-out of renewables & efficiency on homes, businesses & government

Outlined a new "CCA 2.0" business model

Fourth Layer: Defending CCA Against Political and Regulatory Attack by Utilities

text under the headline

Fenn formed and ran campaign to defeat PG&E's statewide plebiscite to stop CCA

PG&E spent $46M on Prop 16 but was defeated in 2010

Fenn was the lead intervenor in the California regulator's two-year proceeding on CCA rules&procedures

Rulemaking 03-10-003 decided key elements for CCA 2.0 like data access
Fifth Layer and Major Focus 2008-18: Designing CCA 2.0 Programs
From 2008 to 2014, Fenn led a team of experts to create the original program designs and analytics for CCA 2.0 
Multi-year projects in San Francisco, Sonoma County and San Luis Obispo created comprehensive program designs to localize energy supply: regional surveys, renewable distributed generation & storage design, data collection & analysis, GIS, energy cost model & financial models, policy and regulatory reports, permitting reports, risk analyses, budget estimates, contract analyses, customer phase-in schedules, business plans, term sheets and RFPs. 
"(Fenn's) plan, built on an incredible quantity of data, is about the most granular and complete map of CCA's radical potential to transform a city's energy footprint as has ever been produced"
Truthout - August 2013
"If successful, these programs will be world leaders in climate action and green power development," said Paul Fenn, the chief executive of a San Francisco-based company, Local Power Inc., who wrote the original 2002 legislation that opened the door for local communities to procure their own power." 
The New York Times - December, 2009

Seventh Layer: Spreading CCA 2.0 Gospel
in States with CCA Laws or Legislation

Targeted activists already focused on energy localization as a goal.

New England

Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island


New York, New Jersey


California, Colorado, Montana, Arizona


Ohio, Illinois