ACSC Releases Review of South Bay Clean Power Proposal
The American Coalition for Sustainable Communities (ACSC) has released a review and critique of the Business Plan Draft for South Bay Clean Power released 2/2017, and Joint Powers Authority Agreement. ACSC is a voluntary citizen coalition. National in scope, our mission is sustaining representative government, and protecting our elected representative’s authority, which is being usurped, and in many cases, abdicated to unelected agencies, boards, bodies and commissions.
Activists in the South Bay brought to our attention the issue of Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) in the area. Because we have successfully assisted in edifying elected representatives regarding CCA proposals, we felt compelled to respond. For example, at a recent San Bernardino Council of Governments (SBCOG) board meeting on Wednesday April 5, 2017, a staff recommendation to move forward with a CCA was offered. It was defeated when no elected city members of the board would second a motion vote; this, after activist testimony bolstered by ACSC analysis was presented. Since the final business plan for CCA failed, the recommendations by SBCOG staff could not move forward.
Our primary finding of the Business Plan Draft for South Bay Clean Power and Joint Powers Authority Agreement is that the plan is overly ambitious and glazes over pitfalls, risks and potential liability for member cities, and ratepayers. We find that these points out way any potential benefits suggested by the plan.
- To attain even a fraction of plan stated objectives requires unrealistic commitments from cities, including real estate and capital investment. For example, Total Cost to install original solar panels and maintain MWh output as panels degrade is estimated to be over $13 billion dollars!
- The financial commitments for this plan are enormous. For example, Redondo Beach’s contribution for required installed net new solar systems will be over $543 million alone. This does not include operating costs and general administration overhead.
- The plan puts the city into a potentially acrimonious situation with other Joint Power Authority (JPA) cities. Real estate needed for solar installations and gathered through possible eminent domain, will pit residents against of their own city — Where’s all that “local” solar going to be installed? There simply is not enough land available for the number of solar farms needed.
- The JPA Agreement makes it all but impossible to leave the JPA, especially if the JPA makes decisions that trigger lawsuits and city wants to leave;
- The plan causes the cities to get into a new business — SCE already handles in accordance with CA’s renewable targets through the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32) — why would staff even consider this given that the cities are struggling to take care of there own obligations such as pensions, infrastructure and other programs?
- Up to 5% savings on electricity does not merit starting a business.
- Forcing people into the CCA without their permission is disingenuous. SBCP advocates state that must be moved to the new program in order to insure its survival. Therefore, people will automatically be enrolled; then, they will have to react and opt-out within a specified time period. This is dictating demand, not people’s wants.
Caveat Emptor: Buyer Beware
This “solar panel cost” chart illustrates the total pro-rata share that each municipality would incur year 1 through year 10, per Draft Business Plan’s Letter of Introduction, bullet #1 and #4. Even if a reviewer discounts the costs by 90%, the remaining financial obligations are staggering.
This chart shows how SBCP’s solar output declines with time. The top red line shows SBCP’s megawatt-hour (MWh) energy demand as relatively flat (includes added load for electric vehicles and saving from efficiencies) each year. This represents the electricity that SBCP needs to deliver to its customers each year.
The bottom blue line shows how production from SBCP’s solar panels declines from U.V. and heat. For instance, in year 7, SBCP’s solar out put is 300,000 MWhs short. If the JPA determines it only wants 10% of its generating resources from solar ,SBCP is 30,000 MWhs short. This represents an added required JPA expenditure to replace this “lost” solar energy of $68.5 million.
ACSC recommends that cities simply say no to SBCP; the risks outweigh marginal benefits. Furthermore, cities need to proceed with caution when considering a CCA membership. The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence – no pun intended. SBCP advocates have cited the primary reason for establishing a CCA is environmental justice. We all want to be good stewards of the environment; however, environmental justice has been politicized and therefore is subject to the whims to politicians and stakeholders. Finally, elected representatives must understand the financial, legal and potential political ramifications of joining a CCA.
Education & Activism
April 2017 ACSC reviewed and critiqued documents presented by advocates of South Bay Clean Power. On April 18th, activists armed with this information attended a Redondo Beach city council meeting, where talking points were read into the record.
(ACSC) Critique of South Bay Clean Power Business Plan and Joint Powers Agreement
Redondo Beach City Council Meeting, 4-18-2017
Renewable Solar Power & Wind