PUB and AMP legacy on the line

 

Editor:
I remain encouraged over the increasing transparency and community engagement from Alameda Municipal Power’s (AMP) new director, Nikko Procos. Thank you.

At the same time it bears repeating: Climate change is real, it’s happening now and there is fear that AMP and the Public Utilities Board (PUB) — over the past 8 to 10 years — haven’t moved at the appropriate speed or in the proper direction. Despite the appearance of greater openness, there will be little in the way of decision making that categorically shifts our energy policy to one that meets the desperate needs of these desperate hours. 

One example is Alameda’s former dump site “Mt. Trashmore.” Mt. Trashmore as a site for Alameda’s first community solar experiment is a boondoggle. AMP and the PUB are poised to spend $100,000 in consultant fees for information city engineers can provide at no charge. Mt. Trashmore is a non-engineered, gelatinous toxic-waste site, capped with clay that cannot be disturbed either on top or bottom, without releasing toxins directly into the environment either via the air or into San Leandro Bay. 

A solar array on an unstable toxic-waste site, in an earthquake zone where liquefaction isn’t just possible but probable, is not a wise or informed planning decision if this is a serious attempt to explore community solar.

Re-direct the local consultants to a site that will prove worthy of the stated intention of building a beta test for community solar. Don’t prove right those who are saying PUB and AMP are evaluating Mt. Trashmore so it can be said in the end, “Well, at least we tried.”

Alameda, the State, nation and the globe are at a crossroads; a collective turning point. There is no hope of stopping global warming, only the possibility of slowing it down. We are out of time.

I plead, yes, plead, with PUB and AMP to have the courage and “stretch” to reach beyond routines and the usual consultants and turn toward the experts all over the world who have already mobilized cities to re-vamp their energy policies. We have one shot at this for the next 20 to 50 years. We need a World War II-style climate change mobilization effort and we need PUB and AMP to lead this charge. 

In the midst of a full-blown climate emergency, it’s time to bring in the big guns and establish our power company’s legacy with the vision and greatness we need for our very survival.

 

Gabrielle “Gaby” Dolphin

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