Salinas >> Still divided over governance, a split Board of Supervisors finalized joining the Monterey Bay Community Power authority on Tuesday.
By a 3-2 vote, the supervisors approved under its consent agenda a community choice aggregation ordinance allowing the county to participate in the fledgling tri-county power agency that plans to take over electricity purchasing from PG&E, increasing the ratio of renewable energy in local supplies, and use the projected savings to back new renewable energy projects in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Supervisors Luis Alejo and Simon Salinas cast the dissenting votes, with Alejo continuing to argue the county is not being offered “fair and equitable” representation on the power agency board, and that all cities within the county should be offered a representational seat on the agency board like other similar agencies.
The supervisors who voted for joining the agency argued the governance issue wasn’t important enough to risk missing a chance to join as many as 20 other jurisdictions in the tri-county region, which would form the state’s largest CCA power agency.
Meanwhile, the board also adopted the county’s Go Green! work plan aimed at helping the county achieve its sustainability goals and back future initiatives through the 2018-19 fiscal year, including the power agency’s efforts.
The work plan outlines three key program areas including resource conservation, climate adaptation and pollution reduction through energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste reduction, green building and water conservation projects, among others; a county organization-wide culture shift aimed at spreading awareness and offering training among employees, as well as pursuing climate-friendly purchasing policies and green workplace certification, and the like; and community outreach and education through online resources, links to rebates and incentives, and outreach events.
Among the key projects the county is currently pursuing under the work plan are a county facilities solar project, municipal climate action plan tracking and update, a county fleet electric vehicle program and staff support for the power agency. The plan also includes a list of potential future projects the county could pursue.
In all, the county is currently involved in about 60 sustainability projects, initiatives or strategies, all listed in a matrix included in the work plan.
Also Tuesday, the supervisors adopted a resolution approving re-scheduling school and special district elections to coincide with the statewide general election date. The election date change is proscribed under state law if voter turnout in the school and special district elections conducted in odd years fall well below the general election turnout, which is conducted in even years. The change is expected to occur by the start of 2018.
County Supervisors Finalize Signing on to Monterey Bay Community Power Authority, by Jim Johnson, Monterey Herald, March 21, 2017.