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Fight Looms on Renewable Power

A local environmental group is opposed to plan by Alameda Municipal Power to reduce the amount of power from renewable resources that the utility provides, and raise money by selling renewable energy credits.

Over the weekend, Community Action for a Sustainable Alameda (CASA) distributed to the media an advisory, and a copy of a letter signed by David Burton, CASA’s President, addressed to Gregory Hamm, President of the Alameda Public Utilities Board.

The group’s communications express concern that money raised from the sale of renewable energy credits (RECs) “will be squandered on everyday infrastructure projects” and other items that should be funded by ratepayers. “The worst possible uses of any windfall,” wrote Mr. Burton, “would be ‘rate softening.’ Customers must face the true costs of their power, or they will not make correct choices between using power, conserving or installing efficiency improvements.”

CASA also expressed concern that the City of Alameda will raid proceeds from the sale of RECs to balance the city’s budget. The group would rather see that any revenue raised from the sale be used to move the utility towards the goal of achieving a 100% carbon-free energy mix by the year 2020.

A presentation by Alameda Muncipal Power estimates that REC sales would raise $28 million between 2012 and 2019 and asserts that the plan is compatible with the City’s goal to reduce carbon emissions by 25% by 2020.

The utility indicates four potential uses of sale proceeds: a) Accelerate greenhouse gas reduction initiatives, b) rate increase softening, c) advanced technology infrastructure, d) infrastructure replacement. Sales could begin in April of next year.

CASA plans to present its letter to the Alameda Public Utilities Board tonight when the body meets at Alameda City Hall, at 7:00 p.m.

1 comment to Fight Looms on Renewable Power

  • The board should present alternatives to the sale of renewable power to raise money. How much would the average household and business energy bill go up per month to raise the $4 million per year that AMP expects to raise in power sales over seven years?

    Before we find our green image tarnished with headlines like “Alameda burns coal to fund transformer replacements,” we should talk about this at more than one public meeting.

    Also, this point “a) Accelerate greenhouse gas reduction initiatives” is vague, and while it may have some effect locally, it will have the opposite effect statewide because it lets power users off the hook by letting them just buy credits. It doesn’t produce a net increase in green power.