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Original post made
by Becky Trout, Palo Alto Weekly staff writer,
on Feb 14, 2008
I participate because I think it's the right thing to do. A modest surcharge on our electric rate allows buying more power from clean, alternative sources and a bit less from polluting traditional power plants.
Palo Alto has the biggest such program in the country... and if every utility and town did this, it would definitely have a big impact on our carbon emissions.
No I don't participate because some green energy comes from wind sources. A recent report about the bird kill from the wind farms in the Altamont pass is disturbing.
Despite efforts to protect birds from the wind turbines; the actual number of birds killed has increased. Over a recent two year period 229 red-tailed hawks, 150 burrowing owls, 56 American Kestrels and 49 Golden Eagles have been killed.
This is unconscionable, and I don't want to contribute to this kill by encouraging the purchase of electricity from wind farms.
Palo Alto Green applies only to electric power I beleive.
While it was reported that something like 25% of PaloAltons have signed up for green power it was or is not reported what % of the total power the city buys is green power. I doubt that many or any of the power the large companies or businesses buy is green power.
We need figures on this issue to know what is going on.
The green power the residences buy could only 1/50th or less of the total power bought by the city.
Everyone in Palo Alto gets their electricity from the same sources. PA supposedly purchases more "green" power depending on how many people contribute towards it. Most of the "green" electricity comes from hydro-electric sources. I'm not convinced that building huge dams is the way to go.
"Everyone in Palo Alto gets their electricity from the same sources" and most of that electricity is hydro-electric. So, why pay the extra to have "green" power; just to make you feel good, and put a "green" sign in front of your house.
Palo Alto Utilities lists the sources of the power they supply. In 2006 hydro accounted for 88% of the power. For 2007 and most other years the content was about 60% hydro. Link to Power Content webpage is here:
The Palo Alto Green program buys energy from "new" sources. They don't simply buy older renewable energy. In that way they encourage the development of new renewable energy sources.
The cost for Palo Alto Green is pretty small - about $10/month if you're a typical household that uses 600 KWH/month. It's also much more cost-effective than putting solar panels on your roof.
Natural gas is not clean energy. It's methane. Read scientist James Lovelock for some background on natural gas. Nat gas is worse than burning oil.
James Lovelock is the father of "new age environmentalism" - best to look at the work of real scientists.
And BTW - natural gas IS - relatively speaking - clean energy, much preferable over coal or oil. Any energy person or environmentalist will tell you that.
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