Clean Energy

350 Bay Area is excited to be a part of the Clean Energy movement happening around the country. You can sign up here to get involved with our campaign. Our campaign's regular meetings will take place on the first and third Wednesdays of each month, via conference call. Our campaign is focused on advancing clean energy in California through three strategies:

  1. Supporting legislation to raise the threshold for how much electricity in California must come from renewable sources
  2. Advocating for policies and regulations that support rooftop solar at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)
  3. Supporting expansion of community choice energy programs that will advance clean energy locally

UPDATE: 350 Bay Area and our allies were part of a victorious coalition that won a decision from the California Public Utilities Commission(CPUC) that will protect solar rights for all Californians. 350 Bay Area was one of a handful of grassroots groups to fully engage as an official party to the CPUC proceeding, as well as organizing grassroots activism in support of rooftop solar. 350 Bay Area representatives were quoted in a news story about the decision here.

UPDATE: 350 Bay Area was part of a broad coalition of groups in California that worked on supporting the key package of climate bills introduced in the 2015 state legislative session. This package included SB 350, SB 32, and SB 185. The signal accomplishments for the climate in this session were passing SB 350 and SB 185. SB 185 requires the state's pension funds to divest from coal. You can read more about SB 185 on the divestment campaign page.

SB 350 (De Leon and Leno), sets two carbon reduction goals to be reached by 2030.

  1. Require that 50% of all electricity provided by California utilities come from renewable sources by increasing the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).
  2. Double energy efficiency in all existing buildings.

Among many potential benefits, SB 350 will:

  • Reduce climate pollution and improve the health of Californians. The production, refining, and the use of petroleum accounts for nearly half of greenhouse gas emissions, 80% of smog-forming pollution, and over 95% of cancer-causing diesel particulate matter.
  • Raise funds through the cap-and-trade program to benefit low income communities around the state that have suffered the most from the production, refining and transport of fossil fuels.
  • Builds on the success of California’s existing RPS, through which California has reached a point where 23% of electricity comes from renewable sources.
  • Demonstrate on a large scale the cost effectiveness of clean energy.  According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, renewable power generation costs in 2014 were either as cheap or cheaper than coal, oil, and gas-fired power plants—even without financial support and despite drops in oil prices. 

You can watch some of Governor Brown's remarks on signing SB 350 here. The original text of SB 350 called for a reduction in petroleum use by 50% by 2030, as well, but this was removed from the final bill.  SB 32 set an overarching greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The fight to pass SB 32 and reduce petroleum use will continue in the next legislative session!

For more information: http://focus.senate.ca.gov/sites/focus.senate.ca.gov/files/climate/505050.html)


 

Our campaign is dedicated to energizing ourselves and our state about the possibilities expressed in this video

It was created by a group that includes Mark Jacobson (more below), Mark Ruffalo (actor), and Josh Fox, (Gasland).

It fits the excitement and hope we feel.  We hope you will join us in our campaign and become active with us.

We are mobilizing the energy of labor, youth, faith groups, environment and conservation interests, and clean energy businesses to advance groundbreaking state legislation to generate clean, local, renewable energy that protecting our health and the air we breathe. And, because its local and not polluting, it inherently addresses some of the worst of the economic and environmental injustice that exists with fossil fuels.  We believe the answers to those who say we need fossil fuels is here and ready.

United with our 350 Bay Area local groups' Clean Energy campaigns and others in 350 groups around the state, we will galvanize support for the following policies:

  • Strengthen our state's commitment to clean, renewable energy by pushing the state to increase its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 80% by 2030. We are encouraged by the passage of SB 350 and Governor Brown signing it into law and particularly the way it incorporated some of the goals of SB 32, but all the goals fall short of what is needed and what we are fighting for.
  • Monitor CPUC for policy changes and fight against any that do not support a strong move towards local, community-based renewable energy and rooftop solar.
  • Promote legislation based on Mark Jacobson's California Plan. (See below.)
  • Make it easier to generate local power by cutting the red tape.

We will also work with our other campaigns to coordinate and come up with more innovative ideas.

We were inspired by Stanford University Professor Jacobson's keynote address (watch video) at our 350 Bay Area Climate Conference in May. While long, it's very worthwhile. Professor Jacobson's ideas are also incorporated in the new films by Green World Rising, featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and, locally produced, The Future of Energy

The panel discussion following his keynote address, moderated by Climate One's Greg Dalton, that same night, was also quite good (watch video) and you can read The California Plan written by Mark Jacobson, et al.

 

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Showing 11 reactions

commented 2016-12-26 03:31:26 -0800 · Flag
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commented 2016-11-07 03:08:40 -0800 · Flag
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commented 2015-05-28 11:56:19 -0700 · Flag
As the California ISO (Independent Systems Operator) tells us, it is an extremely challenging and daunting task of integrating variable and intermittent supplies into the electricity grid and still maintain reliability http://www.caiso.com/Documents/FlexibleResourcesHelpRenewables_FastFacts.pdf Also “Is There An Upper Limit To Intermittent Renewables?” http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/voices/energetics/a-look-at-wind-and-solar-part-2
commented 2015-05-28 09:55:23 -0700 · Flag
It seems Bill McKibben made up his mind long ago to ignore nuclear power and its advocates, if Timothy Maloney’s email has gotten no response after a whole year. Is 350.org a grass-roots organization or a top-down organization?
TJM, your excellent letter should have persuaded BM to at least mention nuclear power as one of the non-carbon-emitting options, if he were at all serious in his quest to reduce CO2 emissions. Well, BM? Say something!!
commented 2015-05-27 14:50:36 -0700 · Flag
Well, I’ve tried a couple of times to communicate with Bill McKibben, so I’ll give it another go.

Timothy J. Maloney
February 12, 2014

Bill McKibben
350 . org
20 Jay St. Suite 1010
Brooklyn NY 11201

Dear Mr. McKibben,

I am a contributor to and public participant with 350.org. It is possible that you could have seen me at the anti-Keystone rally in Washington last February, carrying the large sign ASK ME ABOUT THORIUM.

350.org actions in Ann Arbor Michigan and Toledo Ohio have been attended also.

Here is a brief letter that was posted on the Truthout.org website, in the Comments section following your recent interview with Bill Moyers. This letter is being sent by postal mail to Mr. Moyers also.

http://truth-out.org/news/item/21764-bill-mckibben-to-obama-say-no-to-big-oil

Let us not delude ourselves that we can leave fossil carbon in the ground by using political pressure, or by appealing to generational altruism. That’s not the way the world works in the capitalist era, if it ever did. 

To our political and economic elites, long-term environmental preservation has no chance of prevailing over short-term interests. (And we plain citizens are also very reluctant to abandon our comfortable style of living.) If we are to have any chance of preventing tar-sands oil from being mined, it has to be accomplished by rendering the project uneconomical.

Alberta tar-sands production is economically incentivized only by oil prices higher than $50 per barrel. If it is possible to replace gasoline and diesel as transportation fuel with another liquid fuel, for an equivalent oil price less than $50 per barrel, only then will our capitalist economic imperative give up on the Alberta tar sands. No other defense is possible.

There is hope. It lies in the production of synthetic liquid fuels at a cheap price. The candidates are
a) hydrogen; b) ammonia – NH3; and c) hydrazine – N2H4.

For their synthesis, all three of these fuel-candidates require a great amount of electrical energy for water electrolysis and a great amount of heat energy to propel their chemical reactions. If we had available to us prodigious amounts of both electrical energy and process heat, both of them for very cheap prices, manufacturing synfuels at a cost less than gasoline and diesel would be possible.

So our quest is really for a cheap and abundant source of electricity and process heat, in the temperature range of about 1000 deg C.

Such a machine exists. It is the Molten Salt Reactor – MSR. More specifically the Liquid-Fuel Thorium Reactor – LFTR.  It was demonstrated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the ought-to-be-famous MSRE experiment of the 1960s.

That MSR prototype operated with a fuel temperature of about 700 deg C. Engineers and scientists are certain that it’s operating temperature can be raised to 1000 deg C, making it compatible with synfuel-production chemistry.

Its fuel is thorium, which is itself abundant and cheap. Pay no attention to pundits who claim that thorium is not fissile, so cannot fuel a nuclear reactor.

Fuel is stuff that we humans shove into a machine to make it work. Whatever happens to a fuel after it gets inside the machine is part of the machine’s character, not the fuel’s.

Yes, thorium breeds uranium inside the machine, and that bred uranium is the actual atom that undergoes nuclear fission to release energy. The essential point is that we ourselves don’t have to mine or enrich any uranium. We mine only abundant thorium, of which there is enough on the planet to carry us until the end of human civilization – which is forever, from our point of view.

This technology is completely carbon-free in the generation process, and will have a very small CO2 footprint for its plant construction and fuel acquisition. Much lower CO2 emissions than for wind and solar, with their a) mining of exotic metals and rare earth elements; b) steel- and concrete-intensive construction of turbines and solar panels; then c) eventual reprocessing and recycling of the used
PV-panel waste-stream.

Nor does LFTR technology require difficult expansion of the nation’s electric transmission infrastructure, as does the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s – NREL – plan for 80% renewables.

LFTR reactors are always running, 24 hours, 365 days. They require no support from energy-storage or from natural gas combustion turbines – NGCTs. This is quite unlike NREL’s solar, with its miserable 17% capacity factor, or wind, with its somewhat better 27% (USA figures).

LFTRs are safe, always running, inexpensive to build and to operate. They are temperature-compatible with synthetic liquid fuels that can undercut the price of petroleum. They are the only conceivable way for humanity to beat fossil energy on price and reliability.

Until we beat them on price and reliability, we’ll never prevent the fossil industry from drilling and excavating.

See www.thoriumenergyalliance.com or www.timothymaloney.net or www.dirkpublishing.com
for more details

Sincerely,

Timothy J. Maloney
commented 2015-05-27 10:47:15 -0700 · Flag
A non-nuclear policy leaves fossil fuels in place for the foreseeable future. That means the extremes of climate change will continue to threaten lives and livelihoods worldwide.

France has shown the world how quickly nuclear power can remove fossil fuels from a modern economy. The results speak for themselves: lowest grams of CO2 produced per kilo watt hour, cheapest electricity cost is Europe, with the cleanest air, resulting in fewer premature deaths as James Hansen has documented so clearly.

Germany has been the test case for a non-nuclear policy. Their reactor shutdowns have had to be offset by burning more coal and “biomass” – so more carbon has been emitted despite their massive installation of new wind and solar plants.

Unfortunately, California has had the same result – more power has had to be imported from out of state coal plants since the San Onofre nuclear plant was closed. At a time when the West urgently needs more power to operate desalination plants, every low-carbon source of energy must be used.

Please reconsider your non-nuclear policy. The acidification of the oceans has shown us how quickly our environment is being degraded. We don’t have any more time to waste.
commented 2015-05-27 10:40:07 -0700 · Flag
Friends, the following comes from educator and energy consultant Alex Cannara, who asked me to post it because “for some reason”, he could not get his comment in:

Since a large number of environmental scientists like Hansen and others*, even the Dalai Lama, recognize the essential need for nuclear power, what does 350 think it will accomplish by being so anti-science as to oppose nuclear power?

Further, having chosen a name that means nothing useful, and by opposing nuclear power, 350 also aids the combustion industry. Our own Sierra Club’s motto used to be “Atoms not dams”. Out of foolish anti-science, it became anti-nuclear, even accepting $ millions from combustion interests, embarrassing itself.

The bottom line for 350 and similarly uninformed group, is that the only hope for addressing the even more immediate tragedy of ocean acidification is nuclear power. 350 seems to think it is above others who actually are scientists & engineers dedicated to the environment and our descendants. Wonder what JFK would have thought about 350’s oddly destructive anti-nuclear ignorance?
http://tinyurl.com/6xgpkfa

Some of us who’ve spoken with, and written to, McKibben on the science and facts, got little back. Sadly, 350 seems bent on being part of the problem rather than the solution our descendants depend on us to implement.

Dr. A. Cannara
650 400 3071 (call any time, Bill)
  • Refs…


http://tinyurl.com/kn22qcn
www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2486894/Scientists-urge-climate-groups-nuclear-power-warn-wind-solar-fulfil-worlds-energy-needs.html
http://decarbonisesa.com/2014/06/30/another-climate-scientist-joins-calls-for-nuclear/

http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/scientists-tell-greenies-embrace-nuclear-save-plan/2502717/
http://www.coastreporter.net/climate-scientist-says-rational-threat-assessment-needed-for-nuclear-power-1.1776075

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXTPKGuQhzQ&feature=youtu.be (Hansen, U Iowa)
http://www.science20.com/news_articles/james_hansen_to_mitigate_climate_change_nuclear_energy_should_be_included-154923 (Hansen at MIT)
http://thoriumforum.com/open-letter-those-influencing-environmental-policy-opposed-nuclear-power
http://tinyurl.com/m5qp8vf
http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/24/more-views-on-nuclear-power-waste-safety-and-cost/?php=true&type=blogs&_php=true&type=blogs&r=1
www.slideshare.net/Revkin/dot-nuclear-1-2214-lettersigned-by-4-nuclear-scientists-and-engineers
https://www.facebook.com/download/823098194404759/An-Open-Letter-to-Environmentalists.pdf
http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/magazine/physicstoday/news/10.1063/PT.4.2433

Dalai Lama…
http://tinyurl.com/82o6etd

Ben Heard (former Aussie anti-nuke)…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzbI0UPwQHg
commented 2015-05-26 20:57:12 -0700 · Flag
Your goal of zero-carbon-emitting sources is fine, but the non-nuclear policy defeats your purpose. Admittedly, nuclear has a bad name, owing to the legacy of nuclear weapons, and uranium reactor problems to date. However, there is another proven nuclear option: nuclear energy from thorium. It is cheaper than coal, safe, non-explosive, and available. Thorium reactors were tested in the 1960s but shelved by the military-government decision to develop nuclear weapons and power from uranium. The rest is history. If we expect to survive into the 22nd Century, we must revive nuclear energy. Nothing else has the potential to meet the demand. Other renewables don’t have the scale to do the job, and will keep us tied to carbon indefinitely, with predictably disastrous result for the population.
commented 2015-05-26 19:17:03 -0700 · Flag
Why only non-nuclear zero-carbon-emitting sources?
Without nuclear, neither California nor the nation will ever quit burning fossil fuels for base load power. Just try, like Mark Jacobson would like, and you’d have to take away from nature vast tracts of open space, cover them with solar and/or wind farms, run transmission lines hundreds of miles from those open spaces to consumers, and invent economically viable and environmentally safe ways to store vast quantities of power to deliver when the sun’s not shining and the wind’s not blowing. These are some of the reasons climatologist James Hanson and three other scientists issued an open letter in November 2013 “To those influencing environmental policy but opposed to nuclear power”, in which they state,
“While it may be theoretically possible to stabilize the climate without nuclear power, in the real world there is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a substantial role for nuclear power.”
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