In August 2019, Pasadena has an energy contract coming up for renewal. Pasadena Water and Power and City Council may be tempted to sign up for a new natural gas contract if our city officials are financially shortsighted. But natural gas is not a good bridge energy source due to the methane that escapes during extraction, transport and storage. In the name of ecological justice and the health of the planet and all its inhabitants our city must decide now not to renew our long-term contract for fossil fuel energy.
The state has mandated that Pasadena create a 20-year plan for sourcing energy for our city, the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).
1) Pasadena Water and Power, must provide reliable, environmentally responsible electricity at competitive rates.
2) The IRP must have three scenarios: a plan for 50 percent renewables by 2030, for 75 percent, and for 100 percent. We currently are at 32 percent renewables.
3) There must be a citizen advisory group.
4) There must be opportunity for public input.
The state deadline for Pasadena's IRP is January 1, 2019.
The Stakeholder Technical Advisory Group, STAG, a cross-section of citizen volunteers from all rate payer categories, will provide input on IRP analysis and portfolio selections.
We know that of the dozen or so seats on the STAG, the big stakeholders in Pasadena (Kaiser, Huntington Hospital, Cal Tech and Art Center) already have guaranteed seats. Councilmember Margaret McAustin, who chairs the Municipal Services Committee, a representative from the Environmental Advisory Commission and at least one environmentalist will fill the other seats.
Pasadena 100, an organization of local activists for 100 percent renewable energy, knows that the cost of solar power and battery storage is dropping rapidly. Pasadena 100 hopes that each STAG member will hold PWP, the handsomely paid consultant group and our City Council responsible to balance the harm to climate, air and water pollution, and to health issues that result from continued use of fossil fuels for electricity. It is clear that cost and reliability will have loud voices at this table. Each STAG member should understand they must weigh climate in as well.
The main ask we have of this process is that there be no new long-term contracts for natural gas. This is a very specific thing the IRP must address.
There will be two public meetings this summer for citizens' input. (The dates will be posted on the Transition Pasadena web page.) The final IRP will go to City Council for a vote in October or November. Will they do the responsible thing for our children and grandchildren and do everything in their power to alleviate climate change?
California, as the sixth largest economy in the world must lead the way to a sustainable future. Pasadena has a wealth of brilliant thinkers. We should be leading the state.