Richmond solar construction crew
Construction crew at a 2 megawatt solar project in Richmond, California. (Photo courtesy of MCE)

For many Californians, clean energy is not only an option, it’s becoming the default.

Take Marin County, where residents automatically get 50 percent of their electricity from a mix of solar, wind, and other renewable sources.

There, a nonprofit called MCE negotiates contracts on behalf of the community with clean power suppliers. That power is then distributed by the existing utility company, PG&E.

Tuckey: “They maintain the lines and wires. If the power ever goes out customers still call PG&E.”

That’s Jamie Tuckey, MCE’s director of public affairs. She says people can opt out of the program at any time. But most stick with it because the pricing is competitive. People can also pay a little more to get one hundred percent of their energy from renewables.

MCE currently serves 250,000 customers in Marin and nearby counties. Tuckey says programs like this are gaining popularity because they give people an easy way to reduce their environmental impact.

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Tuckey: “We’re seeing all kinds of excitement and growth, and not just in California. There are actually seven different states in the U.S. that have adopted laws that allow these programs to operate.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Diana Madson

Diana Madson contributed regularly to Yale Climate Connections from 2014 to 2021. She enjoys exploring U.S.-based stories about unexpected and innovative solutions to climate change. In addition to her...