Untainted Enviros Do Exist!
Based on the spin coming from the No on Prop 7 campaign, one would think that every enviro in the state is running scared from Prop. 7. It’s not too surprising though. $24 million (so far) in Big Utility money can buy an industrial-strength megaphone. So I was glad to see that a coherent description of the proposition by an environmental law expert found its way to the surface.
Prop. 7 is not a meaningless mandate. It contains a number of tools for achieving much higher levels of renewables, following a “big carrot” approach more than a “big stick” tactic.
The first big carrot provided is a “feed-in tariff” for any size renewable energy project. Under this feed-in tariff, similar to the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, or PURPA, that was largely eviscerated by the 2005 Energy Policy Act, utilities that are behind on their renewable energy obligations must buy power from renewable energy facilities at the market price for electricity. PURPA was responsible for more than 10,000 megawatts of cogeneration and renewable energy projects coming online in California in the 1980s and ‘90s, so this part of Prop. 7 promises to be highly effective.
The article, written by Tam Hunt, the Energy Program Director and lawyer for the California Environmental Council goes on to explain that his organization is endorsing Prop. 7 because
If California is to make the necessary transition from fossil fuels, we will need the tools provided by Prop. 7. And if we are to lead the nation — as has been our historic role — we will need Prop. 7 to lead the way. The Energy Commission conducted a review of the state’s renewable energy laws in 2006 and made a number of recommendations. Prop. 7 adopts almost all of those recommendations.
See the full article here.
Tam, incidentally, lectures on renewable energy law at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, the dean of which - Dr. Ernst von Weizsaker Ph.D - also supports Prop 7. So what do the environmental groups opposed to Prop. 7 see in the initiative that the likes of Dr. von Weizsaker, Dr. Don Aiken (original proponent of CA’s RPS), and Dr. Yogi Goswami, Ph.D. (past president of the International Solar Energy Society) all seem to be missing?
For fun, I decided to do a little cross check of PG&E donations to the ‘environmentalists’ on the No on 7 site and noticed:
Acterra: Action for a Sustainable Earth received a 2006 PG&E Grant of $100,000.
San Jose Conservation Core received a 2006 PG&E Grant of $10,000, a 2005 PG&E Grant of $7,500, and a 2004 PG&E Grant of $22,500, totalling $40,000 over three years.
The CA League of Conservation Voters received a 2007 PG&E Grant of $12,500, a 2006 PG&E Grant of $5,000, and a 2005 PG&E Grant of $5,000, totalling $22,500 over three years.
Compare that to the PG&E contributions to the California Environmental Council - $0.
So back to the original question – what are the enviros who oppose Prop. 7 seeing in the initiative that all the climate scientists and renewable energy lawyers are missing? Your guess is as good as mine, but I am going with MONEY.