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Solar Says No on Measure B in Los Angeles

27 Feb

It’s called Measure B, and if you know there’s a Measure B on the ballot this year, then you’re up to date. It’s the Largest Solar Plan in U.S. history and there are no details, they don’t exist. The measure is so undecided, it managed to get on the ballot three weeks after it was introduced without a complete definition much less a public forum or debate. The basic plan is the LADWP isgreen-vote going to install 400 MW of solar by 2010, sounds great, but No on Measure B supporters argue it could go in many directions. It could create a solar monopoly in LA wherein, the LADWP would own the solar electric systems on non-governmental roofs, i.e. homes and businesses and only LADWP employees could do the installations (which would mean Green Jobs for them), stifling the entire solar market in the area, and fixing the installation price to what a utility company sees fit.

If you were going to start a business, in order to get funding for your project you’d have to have a business plan. Say you said you want to start a solar business, without details, I doubt any environmentalist would be opposed (especially one that’s not going to back you financially), but without a business plan, could you get the support you need to get started from a bank? Measure B is trying to get the funding before they do the planning. It’s simply irresponsible in business and irrespondsible in politics.

When Prop 7 was on the ballot in November, (and there are some similarities between the two) it was well written out, but when environmental groups looked beyond the concept and saw the flaw in the details. Californians were made aware of the flaws and came out in strong support against it. Should we pass Measure B and cross our fingers that the utility company doesn’t use the loop holes to create a monopoly?

California Green Designs would love to support a well thought out Solar Incentive that could dub Los Angeles the Solar City, but it would need to be joint venture. It would require thorough planning by all the parties involved, including residents and not just a draft from the union LADWP workers belong to, before it went up for approval by the public at large.

Vote No on Measure B

Prop 10 – Another No

31 Oct

Rebates for Alternative Fuel Vehicles sounds like a good idea, until the word “natural gas” pops up. Prop 10, backed by Oilman T. Boone Picken’s natural gas filling company, Clean Energy Fuels Corp., will lead to rebates that favor, you guessed it, natural gas vehicles.

If Prop 10 passes, Hybrids do get a rebate ($2000 ea.), but only the first 55k sold, Alternative fuel cars (and vans and lightweight trucks)  get $10k each, the majority of these cars are not hydrogen or electric they’re natural gas, Natural gas trucks alone will get a $1 billion slice of the $5 billion dollar pie, because right now, natural gas vehicles have a well established commercial market in the US. The rebate could also lead to, as a LA Times Op-Ed suggests, companies purchasing their natural gas trucks here in California and then just driving them out of state.

There are benefits of using natural gas instead of gasoline, (around a 20% reduction of green gas emissions according to the EPA) but Natural Gas is another fossil fuel, is that enough? Especially when an electric car plus solar electric installation would mean using a renewable energy source for your vehicle. Prop 10 costs almost $10 billion dollars over thirty years for such a narrow solution. California can pass tougher legislation than that, why settle for only 20% reduction when the emerging technologies cut down more, shouldn’t the state pass legislation that encourages technology that goes the distance? Prop 10 just isn’t green enough for California, and it’s not green enough for California Green Designs.

No on Prop 10 is also supported by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV), Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and The Sierra Club.

No on Prop 7 – For the Record

20 Oct

There has been a lot of talk recently surrounding Proposition 7 on the upcoming ballot. We here at California Green Designs Do Not Support Prop 7 for the following reasons:

1. Proposition 7 contains a “competition elimination” provision that forces smaller renewable energy companies out of California’s market, as it excludes power from renewable plants producing less than 30 megawatts from counting towards the new requirements. Today, nearly 60% of contracts under California’s renewable requirements are with these small providers.

2. Prop 7 will create competition between smaller solar providers and the utility companies at a time when the two have established a well functioning relationship, working together to develop an infrastructure of clean, renewable energy.

3. Prop 7 requires utilities to invest in large solar installations, the size of which could only be installed on undeveloped tracts of land, furthering the destruction of native habitats. The construction of transmission lines required to connect the electrical production to the consumer would also prove to have a negative social/environmental impact.

We here at California Green Designs believe strongly that the only practical and effective way to provide renewable energy to the people of California is through the development of an infrastructure of solar production that is incorporated into the fabric of the existing utility service. This provides the oportunity for citizens and businesses to own their own power, while avoiding any costly and unnecessary construction projects.