Let's face it - being 'green' is the new cool. But sometimes an ulterior, industry-driven motive lurks behind the 'green halo' that we trust in so-called environmental organizations. This blog is dedicated to keeping individuals and organizations who claim to be for clean, renewable energy accountable.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Big Utilities drop $4 MILLION more into defeating clean energy

Last week, PG&E and Southern Cal Edison dumped another $4 million dollars on top of their $23 million dollar war chest to defeat Proposition 7. That brings the efforts of the Big Utilities to an astounding $27 million dollars, not including the years of sponsoring so-called environmental groups to win over their praise.

What is most unfortunate and unnerving to me, and I know many readers of this blog feel this way because of emails you’ve sent me, is that a few “environmental” groups with deep financial and personal ties to the utilities are framing the debate, in a dishonest manner, around Prop 7.

I urge all readers of this blog to check out the (well-documented and transparent) money trail from these utilities to the major environmental groups opposed to prop 7 that I’ve already written about in previous posts. The fact that the National Resources Defense Council, at the behest of Ralph Cavanagh, broke the backs of other environmental groups to get deregulation passed in the 90's on behalf of Enron is well documented. In fact, the cast of characters who are opposed to Prop 7 and the scare tactics they are using are not just reminiscent but practically identical to the coalition that helped (1) pass deregulation and (2) killed Prop 9, a voter-initiated ballot measure to mitigate what vigilant consumer groups knew would be the devastating effects of deregulation once implemented. Cavanagh is quoted in the press praising PG&E and Enron. In fact he was a cheerleader for Enron in the lead up and right during the energy crisis. At the very least, it shows that NRDC and the other environmental groups that cheered on the big utilities deregulation efforts can't be trusted on major energy policy. In the alternative, it makes a strong case for the NRDC not being independent from the big utilities.

As to the CA League of Conservation voters, the board is comprised of current and past utility executives (utilities funding the No on Prop 7 campaign) , one of whom had an illustrious career as PG&E's lawyer and who even argued before the U.S. Supreme Court for PG&E's right to mail political editorials in the billing statements to customers at rate payer expense (and won). The CLVC website repeatedly declares that PG&E sponsors CLVC's events. Is CLVC in the business of greenwashing PG&E? To my mind, this raises the basic principle that you do not bite the hand that feeds you.

CEERT is similarly situated, with board members from Sempra, SDG&E, Edison, CE generation, Enron, GE, Calpine, American Energy Holdings.

My more detailed posts on the the utility - CLVC connection can be found here: http://confusedinsolarcalifornia.blogspot.com/2008/08/ca-league-of-conservation-voters.html and a more detailed post about NRDC’s past as an Enron cheerleader can be found here: http://confusedinsolarcalifornia.blogspot.com/2008/08/cozy-relations-bt-nrdc-and-pg-and.html.

PG&E, Southern Cal Edison, and Sempra all hope that the years they've spent infusing environmental groups and political parties with millions of dollars will be the icing on their $27 million war cake to defeat Prop. 7 and silence the voices of Californians who are demanding clean energy now.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Check out this podcast - No Size Restrictions in Prop 7

I came upon this podcast the other day, and found it was really helpful in understanding why the alleged size restriction that the No on Prop 7 folks are campaigning on is a false interpretation of language in the initiative. In case you missed it, the ad that the Big Utilities are airing claims that Prop 7 has a "competition elimination" provision. I scoured Prop 7 and found no such language - not even close!

I recommend everyone listen to this podcast, and check out the sections that are pointed to. I lay out my walk-through of the initiative language below.


First, lets look at the section of Proposition 7 that actually establishes the law that 50% of the electricity sold in the state come from renewable sources by 2025.
SEC 10. 399.15 (b) The commission shall implement annual procurement targets for each retail seller as follows:
(1) Notwithstanding Section 454.5, each retail seller shall, pursuant to subdivision (a), increase its total procurement of eligible renewable energy resources by at least an additional 4-2 percent of retail sales per year so that 20 percent of its retail sales are procured from eligible renewable energy resources no later than December 31, 2010, 40 percent of its retail sales are procured from eligible renewable energy resources no later than December 31, 2020 and 50 percent of its retail sales are procured from eligible renewable energy resources no later than December 21, 2025. A retail seller with 20 percent of retail sales procured from eligible renewable energy resources in any year shall not be required to increase its procurement of renewable energy resources in the following year.

So according to the section above, a utility company must increase its procurement or share of “eligible renewable energy resources” each year until they reach 50% by 2025. This section establishes the actual 50% renewable by 2025 requirement of Proposition 7. Now, let us see what a “eligible renewable energy resource” is:

SEC 7. 399.12 (b) “Eligible renewable energy resource” means an electric generating a solar and clean energy facility that meets the definition of “in-state renewable electricity generation facility” in Section 25741 of the Public Resources Code.

Now, let us look up what a solar and clean energy facility that meets the definition of “in-state renewable electricity generation facility” means:

Section 25741 of the Public Resources Code says: http://law.onecle.com/california/public-resources/25741.html
(b) "In-state renewable electricity generation facility" means a facility that meets all of the following criteria: (1) The facility uses biomass, solar thermal, photovoltaic, wind, geothermal, fuel cells using renewable fuels, small hydroelectric generation of 30 megawatts or less, digester gas, municipal solid
waste conversion, landfill gas, ocean wave, ocean thermal, or tidal current, and any additions or enhancements to the facility using that technology.

As you can see it is clear that Proposition 7 DOES NOT exclude small renewable energy producers. Their power counts toward the 50% standard and can be bought and sold the same as large producers. The Big Utilities are using a manipulation of terms to scare voters out of supporting Prop. 7, exactly as was done in the lead up to deregulation. Same characters, same scare tactics.

Labels: ,