Palo Alto hesitant about landfill-gas contract | March 19, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - March 19, 2010

Palo Alto hesitant about landfill-gas contract

Council committee wants to take a new look at city's renewable-energy goals

by Gennady Sheyner

Palo Alto should reconsider its renewable-energy goals before it makes any long-term commitments to a "green energy" provider, a City Council committee recommended Tuesday night.

This story contains 614 words.

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Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be e-mailed at


Posted by Abe, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 17, 2010 at 10:28 am

> The four contracts would have raised Palo Alto's electricity
> rates by about 4 percent, according to a staff report.

The LA DWP is claiming that some of its "green" initiatives are going to be much more expensive than that:
Web Link

DWP rates may rise between 8% and 28% to pay for mayor's green initiatives

Given that there are no consequences for being wrong, of lying, in local government .. it is very difficult to believe that any of these projected rate hikes are going to be true.

What's probably not been considered is litigation costs if any part of this very shaky deal goes south.

The City Council person who suggested that the city was focusing on "green" a little too much is probably right. It's so rare to hear a voice of sanity from that elevated platform of public participation that it's hard to believe the others on that bench will take the counsel.

Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 17, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Thank you, Finance Committee and Bravo, Greg Scharff!

"Scharff suggested that the city is focusing too much on its renewable goals and not enough on utility rates. If local electricity bills become higher than those in surrounding cities, residents will start to wonder why the city needs a utilities department in the first place."

Finally, some common sense and concern for residents.

Posted by JW, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 17, 2010 at 12:47 pm

I am glad the Finance Committee was smart enough to reject this outrageously expensive $284.5 contract with Ameresco for the next 20 years. Who knows what technology might be available to us over the next 20 years while we are tied to this contract.

Ameresco is a relatively small company, with a dicey start-up project they can't find funding for elsewhere. How do we know Ameresco won't end up being another Enron? We all remember how the Utility Department lost $21 Million of our money to Enron's creditors. My advice to the City's Finance Committee and Council - be careful with our money!!

Let another City invest in Ameresco's proposal first, we can wait and see how it works out. I'm sure they will be happy to do business with us in 2 or 5 or even 10 years time.

Meanwhile, I'm nervous of the way Ms. Fong is inclined to play fast and loose with our money - thank you Finance Committee for being thoughtful and prudent, we don't need another Enron.

Posted by John Galt, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 17, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Why worry? According to Al Gore, et al, Palo Alto is going to be under 3' of water in 20 years due to "Global Warming" and we won't need any power.

Posted by Carroll Harrington, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 17, 2010 at 5:41 pm

It is not Al Gore who predicting the rise of the San Francisco Bay. It is the Bay Conversation and Development Commission (BCDC). Check out these links:
Web Link
Web Link
Web Link

Posted by Bob, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 17, 2010 at 6:14 pm

We've finally decided to move to a 'contention-free peaceful town'. Do we list our home as "waterfront property"?

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