County creates new power authority

Ann&Dick present to BOS 12-04-12Business and Community Groups Express Support and Concern

Santa Rosa – The Board of the Sonoma County Water Agency and the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors today created a joint powers authority to oversee Sonoma Clean Power, a proposed local program to buy and generate electricity for residents and businesses.

Three local organizations hailed the move and pledged to work with the new Sonoma Clean Power Authority, while cautioning that the power provider must be run like a competitive business venture rather than a government program. Climate Protection Campaign, Sonoma County Alliance, and the North Coast Builders Exchange each communicated their concerns to county officials.

“For Sonoma Clean Power to be successful in local job creation as well as greenhouse gas reduction, it must be run by proven energy entrepreneurs with a competitive mentality,” said Ann Hancock, Executive Director of the Climate Protection Campaign.

The organization submitted a letter to the County Board of Supervisors saying their “overall concern is that Sonoma Clean Power be directed by those with sufficient expertise, skill, and dedication so that the endeavor succeeds within a highly competitive, complex environment. Decision makers and key staff should have proven expertise in leadership, management, energy, innovative start-ups, financing, and fiscal management.”

Sonoma County Alliance also submitted a letter to the Board, saying: “Without constant oversight these agencies can become extremely inefficient and result in the failure of accomplishing the fundamental purpose of the agency.”

“We would not support an agency that is controlled and operated exclusively by elected officials and public employees,” wrote Brian Ling, CEO of the Sonoma County Alliance.

The North Coast Builders Exchange also plans to submit a letter expressing similar concerns.

“Recognizing that there will be a newly created public entity to control and manage the day to day operations, it is imperative that there is active and local business oversight to facilitate and oversee said operations especially when there are any decisions pertaining to the investment and management of public funds,” wrote Greg Hurd, President of the North Coast Builders Exchange. “The potential opportunities for high tech construction jobs are exciting and needed, but the day to day management and fiscal transparency to run such a new program need to make good business sense.”

When the Board on Tuesday creates the legal entity to oversee Sonoma Clean Power, it is not expected to take action on the management structure of the new power provider. Nevertheless, the three groups used the opportunity to comment on these critical issues.

If implemented well, Sonoma Clean Power will not only help Sonoma County reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase renewable energy, but will also have very positive consequences for our local economy by creating local jobs, stimulating business investment, and stabilizing energy costs.

For further information, contact:

  • Ann Hancock, Climate Protection Campaign, 707-525-1665
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