Bringing clean energy to the East Bay
The Sierra Club Bay Chapter has been active in Berkeley, Oakland and Emeryville promoting renewable energy and particularly our plan of choice, Community Choice Aggregation.
In the spring and summer, we lobbied councilmembers in Oakland and Berkeley to push their consulting group, Navigant, to release the East Bay Cities Community Choice business plan. The business plan shows how Berkeley, Oakland, and Emeryville could transition electric-utility customers away from PG&E to a new Joint Powers Authority charged with delivering 50% of electric power from renewable resources within 10 years of implementation. In mid-October, the plan was released - and immediately the energy staff of all three cities recommended diverting funding and dropping the plan!
Working together with our local allies, we quickly resolved to approach councilmembers in the three cities, asking them to study the plan further, allow more time for analysis and fact-finding, and attempt to meet together to hold the public discussion that has been put off and ignored for such a long time. So far, we have gotten commitments from several of our allies on the councils to push for this discussion. The many postcards and letters signed by you, our members, and gathered by our Chapter staff working on the campaign, have definitely made a difference in how we are received when we ask for help from local elected officials. Thank you for your support!
We were especially pleased by the unanimous decision of the Berkeley Energy Commission to override staff recommendation and continue looking at CCA. This was in large part due to organizing campaign by our coalition partners in the Local Clean Energy Alliance, leading to a very impressive turnout at the commission's meeting. We were less happy, however, with Emeryville's decision the week before Thanksgiving to accept the recommendation of its energy staff to divert funding for Community Choice to other climate initiatives.
PG&E, meanwhile, continues to offer vague suggestions for increasing its output of renewable energy in the East Bay as an "alternative" to CCA, without any concrete commitments or deadlines. We remain skeptical that this investor-owned utility will ever support a "localized" vision of energy production and distribution such as we are recommending. PG&E is still not even on track to meet the state mandate for electrical utilities to get 20% of their energy from renewable resources by 2010, and in recent weeks and months has chosen to spend tens of millions of dollars fighting plans for "public power" such as Proposition H in San Francisco and CCA in Marin County.
Join us in our efforts to bring more renewable energy to the East Bay! Come to a meeting of the Local Clean Energy Alliance. We generally meet the second Tuesday of each month from 6 - 8 pm at 436 14th Street (at Broadway) in downtown Oakland. For more details, please contact Kent Lewandowski at (510) 547-1207 or by email to kentlewan -at- yahoo.com
For more information about the Local Clean Energy Alliance, visit the website.