Last night, the Cotati City Council predictably voted to jump on the Sonoma Clean Power train with absolutely no consideration of what a train wreck it could become. The grim fluorescent-lit chambers, which typically have three or four citizens attending, were filled with supporters of this Renewable Energy Credit scheme (REC) from all over the county. To date, only one city of eight in the county, Windsor, had decided to join. Others were wise enough to see that SCP is not ready for prime time, and either voted not to join, or delayed their decision till the facts are clearer.
Very few facts were mentioned by SCP supporters at the meeting. Many emotions were. They ranged from clear contempt for capitalism to teary-eyed hopefulness for a greener future. Even though David Rabbitt, President of the Board of Supervisors, and the city councils of Rohnert Park, Petaluma, and Cloverdale have all voted against SCP and the Press Democrat has raised serious questions about its viability.
What was the biggest concern for the city council? Not the flawed climate change assumptions on which the plan is based. Not the question of what experience the management of the Sonoma County Water Agency has with the complexities of running an electric utility. Not the intrinsic unfairness of forcing customers to convert to SCP automatically unless they “choose” to “opt out.”
As appointed council member turned elected council member turned appointed mayor Mark Landman spelled out clearly, the real question for Cotati was the size of the vote their 1.8% of potential SCP customers would get them in the Joint Powers Authority. I’ve seen buzzards fight over roadkill in much the same way.
From Landman’s preamble, and Vice Mayor Dell’Osso’s weak impersonation of an official performing due diligence, it was clear which way the council was heading, so I left before the cheers and hugging from all the green people. But for those few in this area who still enjoy a side order of facts with their main course of opinions, here is an item from the FAQ section of SCP’s website:
Q. How will SCP help Sonoma County build more renewable energy projects?
A. SCP will develop a detailed plan for renewables later in 2013. The plan will include specific goals for feed-in tariffs, net energy metering, power purchase agreements, Community Solar, project financing pools and other approaches to encouraging renewable energy development. We expect that in 2014, SCP will contract with other public agencies and larger private projects to buy long-term energy supplies, and that by 2015, SCP will provide financial incentives, including a feed-in tariff or a similar program to directly purchase energy generated from local renewable energy projects at favorable rates….
There’s more, but you get the idea. One more time, we’ll just have to pass this monstrosity to see what’s in it.