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How Marin County Delivers 75% Renewable Energy at Competitive Prices

Bill Roth | Tuesday August 3rd, 2010 | 4 Comments

Marin Energy Authority of California is the first utility in the country to source over 75% of its electricity supply from non-fossil/non-nuclear generation. Further, it delivers this energy to homes and businesses at prices that beat the local utility’s price for electricity sourced principally from nuclear and natural gas powered plants.

Charles McGlashan is an elected county supervisor in Marin County, a community of approximately 250,000 people located across the Golden Gate from San Francisco. He is a Democrat who views the “American Way” and free enterprise as the path for developing price competitive sustainable solutions for restoring jobs, the economy and the environment. And most importantly, he is a doer. In the role of Chairperson of the Marin Energy Authority he led the effort to create an electric utility that today has sourced 78% of its electricity from solar, wind and hydro generation.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory reports that 800 electric utilities offer “green” power. But the average price for this green power is approximately 2 cents more than non-renewable sourced electric power. McGlashan and Marin Energy Authority have broken the price barrier by offering renewable energy for less.

The implementation of the Marin Energy Authority will also result in a 500,000 ton annual reduction in CO2 emissions equaling about a 13% reduction in the entire county’s current emissions levels.

3p readers will recall that California’s historic global warming solution bill AB32 mandates a 20% reduction in CO2 by 2020. With the 2011 full implementation of Marin Energy Authority the county of Marin will have leaped into a statewide county-leadership position in achieving AB32’s goal.

The following video interview with McGlashan is the first of a three-part article series on public policy options available to America for providing consumers with competitively priced renewable energy while also restoring jobs and the environment.

Tomorrow’s article is a video interview with McGloshan that is a MUST VIEW for those concerned that in an economic slow down a focus environmental sustainability will rob us of much needed jobs. In tomorrow’s video, McGloashan debunks political and academic claims that AB32 is costing jobs by providing concrete examples of jobs being created through innovations in clean technology and public policy that are also providing consumers competitively priced goods and services.

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Bill Roth is founder of Earth 2017 and author of The Secret Green Sauce.


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  • Pingback: Marin County Energy Utility Sources Energy via Renewables()

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  • Onlinesolarproducts

    Great articles. See our unique consumer solar products at http://www.e-solarproducts.com

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jen.boynton Jen Boynton

    Apparently Marin Energy Authority's renewable energy comes entirely from RECs. Still commendable, but no wonder PG&E can't match them- PG&E is trying to actually produce renewables of its own.

    • Don

      What's an REC? How does it work?

      • http://www.facebook.com/jen.boynton Jen Boynton

        A REC is a Renewable Energy Credit. Basically the clean power is produced (anywhere in the country), and then the producers sell the power to their local grid and it gets used by whoever happens to turn on their lights at that moment. The renewable company then sells this abstract clean energy benefit on the open market to buyers who want to support renewable energy but can't actually produce it for whatever reason. Marin Energy Authority is buying these clean energy credits, but the power that their customers get is actually from natural gas.

        The first post I ever wrote for 3p (*sniff*) was actually a detailed description of how the REC market works with some analogies that still amuse me: http://www.triplepundit.com/2008/04/renewable-e

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