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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Energy industry publication denounces Mayor Lee

Energy News Data, an industry publication that serves the people who work in and follow the electric utility business, has some remarkably harsh words for the mayor of San Francisco. In a piece titled "A Disempowered City," reporter Chris Rafael blast the mayor for delaying and possibly killing CleanPowerSF:

In the face of such an imminent threat [of Climate Change], one might expect the mayor of what is ostensibly the most progressive city in the United States -- San Francisco -- to approve a city plan to purchase more renewable power. Guess again. Lee helped kill the plan, which took years of painstaking work at city agencies to piece together. And so Lee, in his own way, has joined the ranks of Republicans in Congress, climate-change deniers, and the fossil-fuel industry -- all symbols that political obstruction and big business can thwart reasonable attempts to deal with climate change.
He dissects and devastates the mayor's arguments against CleanPowerSF, pointing out that the community-choice aggregation plan offers an important pathway to lower carbon emissions.

Lee, who has offered no concrete plan of his own for reducing emissions, recently explained his reasons to the Board of Supervisors for opposing CleanPowerSF. In what ranks as one of the most absurd things I've ever heard, Lee complained that the program uses too many renewable-energy credits, which amounts to saying the program should be made more expensive by building local.
As most readers know, building local renewables is very costly -- perhaps prohibitively so in San Francisco -- and procuring RECs from facilities in prime solar and wind zones these days is very cheap. A more expensive program is unlikely to attract enough participation, dooming the effort from the start. And in any case, CleanPowerSF needs revenue from the program to finance any kind of buildout.
For the record, this is not a radical left-leaning publication. It's a mainstream news service focused on (and read by) both private and public-sector utility professionals. The reporters are people with extensive experience in what is often a complex technical and economic field.

And they think Lee is utterly wrong. Something to think about.

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