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September 24, 2008
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Officials: no is green vote on risky energy proposition

Never before has a pro-environment initiative accumulated such a diverse list of opponents as Proposition 7.Environmental groups, renewable energy providers, the Taxpayers Association, consumer agencies, private and public utilities, the California Chamber of Commerce, the states largest investor-owned utilities and both political parties are standing out in opposition of the measure, with the Truckee Donner Public Utility District soon to follow. On Nov. 4, voters will have the opportunity to support or oppose Proposition 7, a measure that would require all utilities to buy 50 percent of their power from renewable energy sources such as solar, geothermal and wind by 2025. You know when a proposition has opposition from such diverse groups as the Union of Concerned Scientists to PGandamp;E, theres a reason, said Beth Ingalls, founder of the Truckee Climate Action Network. Theyre taking power out of the hands of the public utilities commission and putting it in the hands of the energy commission. Its a strategic power play.While the renewable energy statute sounds green, there are a lot of gray areas that could actually lead to fewer alternative energy producers by shutting out small energy projects, Ingalls said. What I hate about this measure is it puts a damper on small generators of solar and renewable energy, which is what we have to rely on, Ingalls said.A provision of the mandate excludes renewable power projects smaller than 30 megawatts, which would drive Californias small solar, wind and renewable power providers out of business, eliminating a major source of clean energy and thousands of jobs, said Sue Kateley, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association, in a news release.That provision would significantly hinder the states ability to meet the Renewable Portfolio Standards goal of 20 percent renewable energy by 2010, and would further disrupt the 33 percent goal by 2020, according to the California Public Utilities Commission. The states largest utility companies are throwing millions of dollars at a campaign in opposition of the statute, and after meeting with the Northern California Power Agency, the Truckee utility district will soon join the long list of opponents, said Steve Hollabaugh, assistant general manager.It doesnt make sense. The proposition is not well written, Hollabaugh said. By excluding renewable electrical sources under 30 megawatts, the proposition would hinder smaller utilities like the Truckee Donner Public Utility District from accessing renewable energy because it would force them to compete with larger providers for energy, said Steven Poncelet, the districts public information and conservation manager. The PUD fully supports efforts to increase Renewable Portfolio Standards and while the propositions goal is admirable, it wont put us in the position we want to be in, Poncelet said.Other loopholes suggest that Proposition 7 would charge 10 percent above the market rate of power, resulting in higher electricity costs for consumers, said Teresa Casazza, president of the California Taxpayers Association, in a released statement. The measure is so poorly drafted it creates conflicting responsibilities among state agencies and more bureaucratic red tape, which will lead to lawsuits and increase costs to taxpayers by millions each and every year, Casazza said. Proponents of Proposition 7 which was placed on the ballot by John Sperling, a self-made billionaire from Arizona and founder of the University of Phoenix say the aggressive measure would tackle the fight against global warming and would further establish California as a leader in clean energy.Our proposition will make California a leader in renewable energy and provide thousands of clean power jobs, said former San Francisco County Supervisor Jim Gonzalez, the propositions proponent, in a news release. California, the nations most populous state, will have a chance to take a big step forward.

2020: year utilities would be required to purchase 40 percent renewable energy2025: year utilities would be required to purchase 50 percent renewable energy$300: estimated increase per household per year in utility bills due to Proposition 760: percentage of small renewable energy providers under Californias renewable requirements that would be shut out by Proposition 72/3: required vote of the legislature to make future amendments to Proposition 710: percentage customers would pay above market value for renewable energyInformation provided by www.noprop7.com.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Sep 24, 2008 08:29PM Published Sep 24, 2008 08:26PM Copyright 2008 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.