Skip to content

Clean Energy for Everyone! Sign this Check…

September 18, 2012

I’d seen this a couple times, and thought I’d spend a few minutes on it this morning.  I should preface this by saying that I (think, it’s been a while since checked if it’s still active) pay a bit more for my local energy bill in order to purchase renewable energy from the local resources.  It’s a choice I’m willing to make since I feel I can afford it right now, and I’ll subsidize the growth of the industry, even if the economics don’t work in volume.

So about the economics of renewable not working in v0lume: witness San Francisco:

The city’s Board of Supervisors will consider whether to approve $19.5 million for the contract with Shell Energy North America, the San Francisco Chronicle reported (

The program called CleanPowerSF would give residents the option of paying more to fuel their homes with renewable power like solar and wind.

It would also give residents the choice of getting power from a source other than Pacific Gas and Electric Co., which has had a monopoly on the energy market in San Francisco for decades.

“Choice,” is an interesting term.  If you look through the other articles on the site, you find this:

Under the proposal, roughly half of the city’s 375,000 residential power customers would be automatically enrolled in the program to receive renewable power. Those customers would be chosen based on market research the city has already conducted showing support in neighborhoods across the city – from parts of the Richmond to Potrero Hill – for paying extra for power generated through sources like wind and solar, officials said.

Customers automatically enrolled would have five months to opt out of the program at no charge. After that, they could be charged a small fee, about $5, to leave. Other residential and commercial customers could opt in.

This probably wouldn’t be an issue, except anyone who is automatically enrolled will be paying higher fees, the actual amount to be determined (“projected” is $10-$20 depending on customer type).  So this is “voluntary” only in the fact that you have a chance to get out by being forced to pay in the first place.  And if you’re slow, or don’t look at your bills for some other reason, you’re locked and can only get out by PUC bribery… so to speak.

Again, if it was me, I’d probably be willing to pay.  I’d be all for more private entities being allowed to get into the power delivery business, if only to see if they can produce things cheaper than public utilities who are constrained with all sorts of useless overhead.  But this is a private industry that’s operating with one generator tied behind its back, since it has a primary goal of reducing carbon emissions (that it doesn’t control) rather than of actually, you know, producing energy.

Even more interesting is the fact that PG&E actually does a lot for clean energy causes in California, and now the mayor is realizing that they might pull all that money out of an already teetering city because they don’t have an opportunity to, again you know, make money there.  The job of any public or private institution is still to make enough money to pay the bills and perhaps make more to grow.  San Francisco is ensuring that they’ve put limiters on both their public and private partners in this, in order to slow bot.

Grab the popcorn and watch the clown car that is San Francisco government continue to drive around.  Just don’t plan on watching in the air conditioning.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: