The Ongoing Fight for No Coal in Oakland

On Monday, September 21st 2015, the Oakland City Council held a special hearing on the health and safety impacts of coal exports out of the Oakland Army Base. According to Oakland City Clerk LaTonda Simmons, 694 individuals signed up to speak, drawing strong support and opposition to the proposed export plan; labor leaders, CEOs, professors, community members, and pastors all arrived to speak on this issue.

Ultimately, the debate revolved around "coal versus jobs," with many Oakland community leaders demanding (rightly) that jobs be created for the residents of West Oakland. No coal in Oakland activists, however, want the kind of jobs that maintain a healthy Oakland and planet. The development project itself is not the problem. The problem is the exportation of hazardous fossil fuels.

East Bay Community Energy: More Diversity Needed in Oversight of Program

On May 5th, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors met to finalize a Steering Committee of community stakeholders to oversee the county’s Community Choice energy program, which is now being called East Bay Community Energy. Having a Steering Committee that is representative of the diversity of Alameda County is critical to the legitimacy and success of the overall program, which aims to launch in the Spring of 2017.

Many members of the Clean Energy & Jobs Oakland Campaign and the East Bay Clean Power Alliance attended the May 5 meeting to ask the Board of Supervisors to vote down their list of Steering Committee nominees due to a clear lack of diversity in the list. For example, out of 21 nominees, only four were women. Similarly, there was a significant absence of diversity in the sectors represented. While the Board rejected applications by many representatives of organized labor, four from one union, IBEW, were nominated (one appointment each from four of the five Supervisors).

Inspiring and Building an Energy Democracy Movement

The 2015 Clean Power, Healthy Communities Conference

Clean energy leaders from across the United States gathered in Oakland, California on March 5, 2015, to discuss how to advance community-based alternatives to the centralized corporate energy model.

The Clean Power, Healthy Communities Conference, hosted by the Local Clean Energy Alliance, brought together 150 clean energy advocates and a national webcast audience in an inspiring day of deliberations on strategies for democratizing our energy system.

CleanPowerSF: About Face for Mayor Lee?

In an apparent about face, San Francisco’s Mayor Edwin Lee, who has been blocking the launch of the city’s Community Choice energy program, announced on January 26th that he would support moving the CleanPowerSF program forward.

Victory! AB 2145 Defeated in the California Senate

Kirsten Schwind, Local Clean Energy Alliance (LCEA) Steering Committee member, Al Weinrub, LCEA Coordinator, and Colin Miller, Clean Energy & Jobs Oakland Coordinator celebrate the AB 2145 victory.

As the final gavel fell on this year’s state Senate legislative session at 3am on August 30, AB 2145, the bill meant to kill Community Choice energy programs in California, met its own well-deserved demise. This result was a stunning victory for community-based energy advocates.

AB 2145 Further Weakened, But Still Alive & Kicking

AB 2145, the monopoly utility bill meant to kill Community Choice energy programs in California, continues to move forward in the State legislature.  On Thursday, August 14, despite the best efforts of a broad coalition opposing the bill, AB 2145 passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee and is now headed for a full floor vote before the end of August.

However, the Appropriations Committee amended the bill, further weakening it. The new language removes a five-year rate setting requirement for Community Choice programs, signalling another victory for Californians for Energy Choice, the broad statewide coalition of over 150 local government, environmental, social equity, business, and labor groups.

AB 2145 Weakened, But Still Lethal

On June 23 AB 2145 passed out of the California Senate’s Energy Committee somewhat weakened but still tremendously lethal.

The  bill, introduced by powerful corporate forces, is meant to kill Community Choice energy programs in California.

Despite a powerful statewide effort to bury AB 2145 in the Senate Committee (see for example, the June 19 Oakland protest), the bill emerged intact, but in an amended form. While its most problematic provision (opt-in) was removed, AB 2145 still contains two caustic provisions, and a newly proposed, anti-competitive geographical limitation.

It is now headed to the Senate Appropriations Committee for action on August 4.

Oakland Rally Protests PG&E Attack on Local Clean Energy and Jobs

On June 19, a spritied noon-time crowd of over sixty people rallied outside PG&E’s Webster Street payment center in downtown Oakland to protest PG&E's backing of AB 2145, the Monopoly Utility Power Grab of 2014. The bill is meant to prevent the establishment of new community-based energy programs under California's 2002 Community Choice energy law.

The rally, organized by the Local Clean Energy Alliance and the Sierra Club Bay Chapter, demanded that PG&E stop using ratepayer dollars to undermine the Community Choice energy law, thereby denying communities a greener and lower priced alternative to PG&E electricity.

Alameda County Supes Vote to Move Forward on Community Choice Energy

On Tuesday, June 3, 2014, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted to take the first steps in establishing an East  Bay Community Choice energy program, approving $1.3 million in funding for an exploratory phase.

The Board chambers were packed with supporters, many wearing yellow T-shirts with the slogan “Want a Choice?”  and waving color-coordinated signs reading “Support Community Choice Energy!”

AB 2145: Bill to Gut Community Choice Energy Clears State Asssembly

Californians for Energy Choice, a diverse coalition opposing an effort by the  state's investor-owned utilities to gut Community Choice energy, decried passage of AB 2145 by the California Assembly on May 28.  Labeling the bill the "Utility Monopoly Power Grab of 2014," the coalition noted that if passed by the California Senate and signed into law, AB 2145 would dangerously undermine California’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to create thousands of local clean energy jobs.

In the past few weeks, over one hundred fifty local governments, government agencies, businesses and business associations, public officials, and grassroots community and environmental organizations have registered strong opposition to AB 2145. The Local Clean Energy Alliance has taken a prominent role in organizing this opposition.


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