Tags >> alternative energy
May 18
2010

Prop 16 Protest

Posted by Bruce Robinson in technology , Santa Rosa , rights , politics , nonprofit orgs , news , Green , government , environment , election , economy , current events , climate change , carbon , California , business , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

The opposition campaign to PG&E’s big-budget backing for Proposition 16 took to the streets—well, actually the sidewalks—of downtown Santa Rosa yesterday (above, with Lady Liberty joined by Santa Rosa Mayor Susan Gorin and Healdsburg City Councilman Gary Plass), blasting the measure as “another bailout” for the utility.

The Yes on 16 campaign may have a much bigger budget, but the list of local governments and other groups who have lined up against it is impressive and growing. Ann Hancock, Executive Director of the Climate Protection Campaign, offered a sampling of that roster of opponents at the midday rally on Tuesday.

Healdsburg was among the founding members of the Northern California Power Agency (NCPA), a coalition of 17 cities that act as their own electric utility for their residents. ( Read their  statement opposing Prop 16 here.)  There are numerous other such operations elsewhere in the state. Expanding the service areas for any of them would be subject to the 2/3s vote requirement in Proposition 16, as would the creation of any additional local power purchasing entities, says Healdsburg City Council member Gary Plass. But while many cities oppose the measure, there is little they can do to directly combat it.

The lion’s share of the electricity used by the residents and businesses of municipal Healdsburg now comes from an array of renewable sources. Councilman Plass breaks it down for us.

Want to find our more about this measure? You can read an impartial analysis of Proposition 16  or to see the video ads against Prop 16 that won't be shown on television (due to no budget, not topical censorship), go here.

 

May 14
2010

Energy Bills & Climate Protection

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , transportation , speaker , Sonoma County , resources , politics , policy , nonprofit orgs , Green , government , go green , events , environment , economy , Congress , climate change , carbon , California , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

There’s a legislative brawl brewing over national energy policy and climate change. The 6th annual Climate Protection Everybody Profits Conference in Sebastopol laid out a preview of where those battle lines are being drawn.

Since 2005, every local government in Sonoma County has signed on to a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2015. But progress toward that goal has been elusive. And while a comprehensive local plan to move this county in that direction has been developed, Ann Hancock (left) , Executive Director of the Climate Protection Campaign, points out that local actions alone will not be effective.

The graph below breaks down where those local emissions are coming from. As solar photovoltaic systems and other measures bring down the shares attributable to residential and commercial energy use, the relative proportion of transportation emissions has increased.

The CLEAR (Carbon Limits and Energy for American Renewal )Act was introduced jointly by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in 2009, an indication of early bipartisan backing for the “cap and dividend” measure. Peter Barnes, Senior Fellow at the Tomales Bay Institute in Point Reyes Station sees multiple reasons why that approach could find further support from Republicans in Congress.

Mar 30
2010

Proposition 16 and Local Electricity

Posted by Bruce Robinson in solar , politics , nonprofit orgs , Green , environment , election , climate change , carbon , California , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

Buried among the ballot measures in California’s June 8th primary election is one that could define the future of electricity in our state.

Finding land for sprawling solar trough farms, such as the one seen below, is often less difficult than securing routes for the transmission lines to carry the electricity from the generation site to the population centers that need it.

The electoral process is only beginning to unfold, but as the power behind placing Proposition 16 on the ballot, PG&E is certainly prepared to spend big to get it passed. Ann Hancock, Executive Director of the  Climate Protection Campaign notes that the utility has not been bashful about funding similar moves in the past.

Marin County Supervisors voted narrowly last month to create the Marin Energy Authority, a new and hotly debated distribution entity. that the and Other cities or counties would be blocked from creating such a clean energy facility if Proposition 16 passes, Ann Hancock warns, and MEA’s ability to operate could be severely constrained.

 

Learn about greening our electric supply and the impact of Prop. 16
Wednesday, March 31st from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Glaser Center:
547 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. This event is free and open to all.

Renata Brillinger (left)  of the Climate Protection Campaign will describe ongoing  efforts to green Sonoma County's electric supply and the impact of Proposition 16 - if passed. Proposition 16 will be on the June 2010 ballot. It  would enact a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote of any community before spending public money to investigate or implement non-profit power options such as municipalization or Community Choice Aggregation.  Co-sponsors: Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Santa Rosa - Seventh Principle Working Group and League of Women Voters Sonoma County

Feb 17
2010

Electric Mail Trucks

Posted by Bruce Robinson in transportation , Sonoma County , Science , research , legislation , government , go green , gadgets , environment , design , conservation , Congress , carbon , business , alternative energy , air quality

Bruce Robinson

While the major automakers are getting ready to roll out the next generation of electric cars, a North Bay company is demonstrating how that technology could be applied to such utilitarian vehicles as mail trucks.

Zap—the name is an acronym for “Zero Air Pollution”— recognizes that they are not positioned to compete with major American and international carmakers who are readying electric models for the broad consumer market. But company founder Gary Starr says they are setting their sights on a specific sort of vehicle, and the mail truck prototype is a strong step in that direction.

Zap founder Gary Starr (right) explains the mail truck  gas-to-electric conversion project to North Bay Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey at the company's Santa Rosa workshop on Tuesday, as CEO Steve Schneider (left) looks on. The array of lithium batteries that will power the vehicle instead of a gasoline engine are on the platform in the foreground. (Photo by Margot Duane)

 

 

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