Critics: Marin Clean Energy not so clean and green

By Richard Halstead, Marin Independent Journal

A union representing Pacific Gas and Electric Co. workers and a San Francisco consumer group are taking aim at the common use of energy credits by groups including Marin Clean Energy. They’re pushing an initiative in San Francisco and new state legislation designed to curb such practices. Their contention: Marin Clean Energy and other purchasers of those credits, such as the city of Palo Alto, and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, are using paper certificates to “greenwash” their energy. At issue is something known as an “unbundled, renewable energy certificate”—a credit that, when purchased, allows the buyer to legally claim ownership of 1 Mwh of renewable electricity. It has been “unbundled” from the actual renewable electricity that was generated.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1245, which represents PG&E’s electrical workers, is collecting signatures for a ballot measure that would bar San Francisco from promoting its electricity as clean or green if it uses unbundled RECs.  A second offensive is being mounted against the use of unbundled RECs in the state Legislature. Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, has introduced AB 1110, which would prohibit an adjustment in the calculation of emissions of greenhouse gases through the application of unbundled RECs. The legislation is sponsored by The Utility Reform Network, a consumer advocacy organization based in San Francisco.

Read full article in the Marin Independent Journal

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