The City of Pasadena is having a related internal conversation right now. Pasadena Water and Power is about to make a plan for where we will source our energy for the next 20 years. The state has put a deadline of December 31, 2018, on this Integrated Resource Plan. By state mandate, the City must choose to achieve at least 50 percent renewables by 2030, but may select up to 100 percent renewable energy as 70 other cities across the United States have done.
Clearly, the city wants to make the most cost-efficient, reliable and environmentally sound decision. But our City Council members readily admit that City finances are dire and top priority. So the question at hand becomes what percentage of renewables will cost least. But how do we measure the environmental cost ? We can measure rising CO2 in the atmosphere but what about the other costs: increasing drought will negatively impact food and water access. There are human health costs. The list is lengthy. For me this is a moral and ethical debate. Are there numbers to weigh in for the moral thing to do?
Pasadenans have an opportunity to give our opinion on how important it is to have renewably sourced power in our city. Do you have outside-the-box ideas? Source solar locally on our City buildings and buses? Join LA County’s Community Choice Aggregation as 31 SoCal communities have? Live with a little less electricity, like my husband and I have been living with a little less car access? It’s not so painful, and it will slow the acceleration to an unlivable climate for our children and for us.
Pasadena Water and Power will hold two public presentations of this plan. The first will be July 18, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Pasadena Central Library (Donald Wright Auditorium). The second will be in August, date not yet set.
Showing up at the community meetings sends the message that we are paying attention. Speaking up has even more impact.