Irvine board member worried about clean energy program

IRVINE, Calif .– Some advocates who once helped organize Irvine’s Community Choice Energy Program now believe it’s time to start over.

Irvine invested $ 7.725 million to fund the Orange County Power Authority, an agency that would sell clean energy at an affordable price.


What would you like to know

  • The OCPA board of directors is pursuing plans to find a way to get renewable energy at affordable rates for residents at the board meeting on November 23.
  • OCPA plans to start supplying energy to businesses by April
  • Clean energy advocates fear OCPA won’t act aggressively enough, while others fear it won’t be affordable
  • Starting next year, the state will require cities to provide 38.5% of clean energy to the city

Now, some advocates fear that the OCPA is content to adhere to the state’s clean energy standards and has even contacted potential member cities, discouraging them from joining.

The city had already passed a resolution that it would be carbon neutral by 2030, but it’s unclear what its plan is to get there, said Kathleen Treseder, professor at the University of California at Irvine who has been appointed. to the environmental committee of the city Green Ribbon.

“It’s a stroke of the moon. We have to really push hard right now, ”she said. “It’s possible.”

But OCPA has yet to show, she said, a concrete plan to achieve the goal. In fact, the founding documents do not state that it will beat the 60% green energy standard demanded by the state.

“Most of these community choice energy programs stipulate in their founding documents that they will be 100% renewable. OCPA didn’t and I don’t know why, ”she said.

Energy costs can be extremely difficult to determine. What may be affordable now may not be a great deal next year. Treseder said there was a possibility that the OCPA could proceed with its April launch to provide power to businesses only for it to be too expensive.

Treseder, who plans to run for Irvine City Council, has contacted San Clemente City Council, urging them not to register with OCPA. His main point of disagreement is Brian Probolsky, the CEO of OCPA, saying he is not qualified to run an energy agency.

“If the OCPA board replaces Probolsky with a qualified and experienced CEO, I will gladly recommend OCPA to San Clemente in the future,” she wrote in an email to city council. .

San Clemente has refused to join us and is considering other options to meet clean energy minimums.

Other protesters, including a group of students from universities and colleges in the area, rallied at Irvine town hall on Tuesday, November 23, demanding that the city follow through on its resolution.

OCPA has announced its intention to start providing green electricity in April. To help it in its mission, it hopes to attract as many member cities as possible to enable it to purchase larger quantities of energy at a more competitive price.

Several cities declined. Lake Forrest, in particular, joined but chose to opt out. The Orange County Board of Directors, however, agreed to join us last week.

Another member of the Green Ribbon environmental committee, UC, physicist Irvine Kev Abazajian, is concerned that the city’s large investment is already losing money. He doesn’t see how the proposals released by the OCPA bring the city to its stated goal.

“It’s definitely not carbon neutrality by 2030, it’s carbon neutrality by 2045,” he said. “I kind of want Irvine to get away with it. We should get all the money available and start over if this agency doesn’t do what it was supposed to do.

While the city may not meet its target, it must also consider the complexity of the energy market.

Now, some members of the city council are getting angry. Larry Agran, who has long served on city council, has expressed “serious” concerns.

He underlined a greater urgency for the city to fight for 100% green energy.

Treseder believes Irvine could now deliver 100% clean energy to businesses if the OCPA got a faster start.


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