Jim Phelps — Novato

The Letter to Editor that is linked below, appears in Marin’s only newspaper, the Marin Independent Journal.

This letter relates to the front-page story covering Marin Clean Energy’s (MCE’s) new 10.5 MW solar farm in Richmond (click here to read Marin IJ article). That story neglects to mention that California is far overbuilt on solar power, which is exported at zero prices and ‘negative prices’ (this is when California must pay the recipient of the electricity to take it) to Arizona while also creating management problems of California’s electric grid, managed by CAISO.

Solar is relatively inexpensive to construct compared to wind, enabling Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) such as MCE to advertise that they are doing good things for California, while queuing up to be far short of contracting for renewable energy, per SB350 requirements — 65% of energy must be sourced from renewable generators with contracts that are at least 10 years in length.


Eminent Domain

Does anyone know what happened to eminent domain in CCAs’ Joint Powers Authority (JPA) bylaws? This issue surfaced in MCE’s March 2, 2018 Executive Committee packet, but I have not seen any action by MCE to resolve the issue in any subsequent MCE meeting packets or agendas. 

MCE's JPA bylaws were replicated throughout all other CCAs and that eminent domain language is everywhere.

MCE, IJ not telling whole story about clean energy
The IJ’s story about Marin Clean Energy’s new solar farm going into service neglects to
include information that puts things in perspective.
First, when MCE’s Richmond
located solar farm
is included, only one
half of 1 percent of
MCE’s total load is served by its “local” solar production.
Second, MCE claims that its solar farm is dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions,
yet the IJ neglects to report that since MCE’s business launch, nearly half of its “clean”
power is actually green
washed fossil
fired power. Accordingly, MCE fails t
o disclose 1.2
billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions in energy that it rebrands as “clean.” This
constitutes what MCE claims as exceeding the state requirement for “sourcing a certain
percentage of its electricity from renewable sources.”
Last, MCE cl
aims that it has brought many new clean energy resources to market
compared to Pacific Gas and Electric Co. This is an overstatement. For example, MCE is
merely contracting for available energy from a large solar farm in Kings County and a large
wind farm
in Kern County until PG&E and Southern California Edison begin taking
deliveries from these resources that these utility companies bankrolled.
It is hyperbole for MCE to claim that it is out
greening PG&E when these activities are
going on behind the curtain
Jim Phelps, Novato