I recently attended a Hollister City Council meeting where the council and the public were presented with a proposal to join the Monterey Bay Community Power Project that would provide Community Choice Energy to three counties and the cities within these counties: Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito.
I was not familiar with the study and proposal so listened carefully to the half hour presentation which was complex but clearly laid out by the presenter in words and graphs and pictures. I also had the one-page fact sheet and the MBCP technical study (eight pages) and the executive summary (10 pages). These I read when I got home. I was referred to an excellent website MPBCommunityPower.org for further information.
PG&E will be required to provide clean electricity to the grid and will provide the transmission lines and repairs, billing and service. The rebates from using this energy will be returned to the community at rates higher than people with rooftop solar now receive and keeps rate-payer money local to stimulate our region.
This is a beginning, not an ideal situation in which our local economy could control the production, transmission and repair and billing and keep all the profits for our local community needs such as expanded libraries, nonprofit YMCA, parks and roads, etc. We are required to work with PG&E, a giant corporation, because that is the only game in town. However, this is the start of small towns keeping taxpayers money in the places where they live.
In the Jan. 24 edition of the Mercury News, the editorial spelled out the final charges of criminal negligence on the part of PG&E after a gas pipeline blew up a city block in San Bruno and killed eight people. The recommendation, besides the fine, was to put this company on probation for five years and monitor its actions closely. At this point, it seems to me that PG&E has no other option but to work with communities to provide community choice energy. Our scarce money has gone too long to feed global corporations and their billionaires.
What was most surprising to me was the behavior of the city council during this excellent presentation. Questions such as “but how will this affect our community economically?” were answered patiently and ad infinitum by the presenters. Only one council member, recently elected, mentioned climate change and fossil fuel-caused global warming that is bringing catastrophic droughts, floods and hurricanes to people all over the globe and precipitating wars such as the civil war in Syria.
This is what it is all about: small but determined efforts to create a livable planet for human creatures and plants and animals. It may not work. We may have passed the tipping point. However, this great grandma who hopefully has a few years left on this beautiful planet in this beautiful county will muster whatever energies she can to help create a sustainable planet for the generations to come.
I end with a shocking truth: The Earth does not need us. We need the Earth! The solar system will continue for a few billion or more years without us. Time to start taking care of our MOTHER.