BY FRANK GONZALES
Moving to renewable resources to create energy has been a major focus recently for many in government and for individuals who are concerned about the environment. The Central Coast is no exception and on April 25 the Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club was awarded with the 2013 Anthony Grassroots Prize for Organizational Stewardship from the Rose Foundation for its work in enabling communities to come together and collectively purchase clean energy.
The Santa Lucia Chapter won for its efforts in implementing Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), which helps local communities replace fossil-fuel energy with energy from cleaner technologies, such as solar and wind power. The prize is part of the Rose Foundation’s Earth Day Environmental Stewardship Prizes, which take place each year to honor grassroots efforts by individuals and organizations working on environment-oriented projects.
Tim Little, executive director and co-founder of the Rose Foundation, said, “The Anthony Prize is something that we give out every year. I think this is our 14th year of doing it. It recognizes an outstanding environmental stewardship activity through something done at the grassroots level, either by an individual or an organization.”
The prize included $500 toward the continued efforts of the Santa Lucia Chapter.
“We just wanted to recognize the leadership that the Santa Lucia Chapter is providing in the Central Coast, really on a whole range of environmental issues, but especially around bringing Community Choice Aggregation to the coast,” Little added.
When asked to comment on winning the prize, Santa Lucia Chapter Director Andrew Christie said, “It’s very nice to be recognized by the Rose Foundation specifically for our work on community choice. We’ve spent a lot of years convincing the cities and the county to integrate this really great tool to incentivize clean, renewable, local energy.”
While the Santa Lucia Chapter is based in San Luis Obispo, Christie said many of its members come from Northern Santa Barbara County.
Regarding the nature of his chapter’s efforts, Christie added, “We’re trying to move away from fossil fuels and make the case for the environmental and economic benefits of primarily solar, but also wind renewable power. Community choice basically lets cities and counties group together, pool their resources, and go out and purchase their own power from alternatives to their utilities.”