Reviewing the 2008 November California propositions — Prop 7

Basic information about Proposition 7 — “RENEWABLE ENERGY GENERATION. INITIATIVE STATUTE.”

Umbrella yes-vote site.

Umbrella no-vote site.

Okay, first off — I have to admit to a raging headache this morning. So this is not going to be much of an in-depth discussion.

However, part of the problem is that this is yet another huge proposition covering a lot of ground, tackling everything from governmental regulation to predictions in the energy market, and therefore trying to concentrate on its various facets would be hard under the best of circumstances, admittedly.

On the face of it, anything acknowledging future problems in maintaining energy standards and encouraging use of renewable standards is a good thing. However, there’s a large push against 7 from a variety of clean-energy supporters and groups, and I figure where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Further complicating matters, however, are the responses from other groups accusing *those* groups of being sellouts…and down the rabbit hole we go. (I was considering linking to a variety of arguments and comments to illustrate all this, but my headache was bad enough as it was.)

Two things, however, stood out in the official analysis which made me wonder a bit about the effaciousness of this proposition. To quote:

In its findings and declarations, the measure states that, in the “short term,” California’s investment in solar and clean energy (which would include the implementation of the measure) will result in no more than a 3-percent increase in electricity rates for consumers. However, the measure includes no specific provisions to implement or enforce this declaration.

In the long run, there are factors that may be affected by the measure that have the potential either to increase or to decrease electricity rates from what they otherwise would be. For example, to the extent that the measure advances development of renewable energy resources in a manner that lowers their costs, electricity customers might experience longer-term savings. On the other hand, the same cost factors that could lead to short-term electricity rates that are higher might also lead to higher long-run electricity rates. To the extent that the measure requires electricity providers to acquire more costly electricity than they otherwise would, they will experience longer-term cost increases. It is unknown whether, on balance, factors that could increase electricity rates over the long term will outweigh those that could decrease electricity rates over the long term. Therefore, the long-term effect of the measure on government costs is unknown.

It has to be acknowledged that, after all, not every measure’s full impact can truly be judged until it is passed and enforced. Still, it’s these sorts of variables that make me wonder about the proposition, much more so than who is supporting it or which person is a shill and which isn’t. The fact that energy companies are against 7 is somewhat troubling — it’s also noteworthy that both the Democratic and Republican parties are against it while the Green party is for it. But something about this feels an overpromised wish, a solution that is biting off more than it can chew. More’s the pity, given the subject of the measure.

I vote a ‘should have been better’ NO.

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One Response to “Reviewing the 2008 November California propositions — Prop 7”

  1. Carolina Says:

    Companies like PG&E and Southern California Edison are spending $ 23 million in order to confuse and mislead the public. Telling them that is will increase their rates, when this simply is not true. The independent, non-partisan California Legislative Analyst reported that the total cost of Prop 7 to the state was 3.4 million. That is .0002% of the state budget. AND, Prop 7 guarantees that the solar and clean energy that is built with Prop 7 will never raise your rates more than 3% in 2025
    The experts on this issue – climate scientists, renewable energy scientists – say Prop. 7 is the right thing too do. The Sierra Club are experts when it comes to preserving open spaces and endangered species, but not on renewable energy. Prop. 7 is endorsed by three nobel prize scientists, S. David Freeman the man who got us out of the 2001 energy crisis, the Community Environmental Council of Santa Barbara one of the oldest environmental groups in the state, and renewable energy expert Dr. Donald Aitkin.
    Plese do the right thing and vote YES on proposition 7 this November.


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