Transition SV, Sierra Club: Yes to Clean Power

Posted on July 15, 2013 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Editor: The 650 or so folks around town who support Transition Sonoma Valley take very seriously the threats to our community from climate change, the end of cheap oil, and the instability of our globalized financial system. Nearly all of us would prefer to have an option to choose the lowest-carbon power mix we can afford — all the better if we can generate more of this clean power ourselves, reduce our dependence on remote suppliers, and create good new local jobs in the process.

Sonoma Clean Power promises to do all of this. We applaud Councilmembers Rouse and Barbose for their optimism and for their early willingness to risk giving us this choice.

Still, some of us share Councilmember Cook’s skepticism that a government startup can buy power more cost effectively than a business with over a hundred years of experience. We respect this point of view. But we also take comfort in knowing that if it’s correct, then PG&E is likely already preparing to make us an even better, cleaner offer. We’re eager to see that too

Even so, we appreciate that Councilmember Cook and Mayor Brown didn’t just rubber stamp this thing at its first reading. Instead both took a critical stance, while allowing Santa Rosa’s due diligence deliberations to run their course. We believe this signal from Sonoma helped motivate the County to negotiate and specify many commitments that will improve program governance for the benefit of all. So we thank you both for this.

Now that more constituents have weighed in, and the Santa Rosa City Council has voted unanimously to join, we expect your support for Sonoma Clean Power too. We hope that Councilmember Cook and Mayor Brown will reconsider your earlier statements and both join with the rest of the Council to vote in favor of expanding choice here in the City of Sonoma.

Tom Conlon

Editor: The Sierra Club Sonoma Group endorses Sonoma Clean Power as our community choice for electrical power. Sonoma Clean Power will bring local control over energy source decision-making and will likely encourage local development of solar, wind and geothermal sources. We have observed over time that Sonoma County government tends to be concerned about the environment — more so than PG&E has been.

Remember that in 2010 PG&E sponsored Proposition 16, to make this choice very difficult for California communities. Why? Because they knew, people want this — the choice of clean, local power generation. That was proven out when voters defeated this restrictive measure.

The Sonoma Group has kept itself apprised of the development of Sonoma Clean Power and is satisfied that its directors are as concerned about protecting ratepayers as they are about funding renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gases in Sonoma County. We urge all of Sonoma County’s cities that haven’t yet done so to move your community forward. Get your city’s voice on the Sonoma Clean Power board and make the choice of clean local power generation a real thing for your constituents by voting ‘yes’ on Sonoma
Clean Power.

Dan Kerbein
Chair, Sierra Club, Sonoma Group