I was reading Andrew Christie from the Sierra Club's piece on community choice energy, and I am afraid that I find the subject very confusing ("They'd rather not discuss it," July 25). That should come as no surprise since I only have a BA from the University of Oregon. I majored in Italian, which pretty much qualifies me to be a waiter in some dumpy trattoria. I have to admit that technical stuff is a challenge for me, so you will have to bear with me on this.
As I understand it, community choice energy means that a person has the opportunity to pay extra money to get power from non-carbon-emitting sources (except nuclear of course). What I don't understand is how they get that green power to your house. Do they install special lines or something? And what happens when this green power is not available, which is actually most of the time. Does that mean you have to do without power for most of the time? I'm sorry, but I have a real problem with this.
For example, I offer the following analogy: Let's say you have the opportunity to purchase only clear, spring water for your water supply. Your crystalline water trickles from the spring and splashes down a rocky mountain gully: Bees are buzzing, blooming daisies waft all about in the breeze, birds are chirping, and even the bears are vegan.
This trickle tumbles into a rural stream surrounded by vast, verdant fields and pastures, where the growing flow is flavored with pesticide and chemical fertilizer residue, along with chicken and pig shit until it reaches a river where industrial waste and polluted runoff further flavor the gentle flow.
As it approaches your city, it arrives at a treatment plant, where even more chemicals are added to bring the water to a level that makes it unlikely to kill humans outright (at least before the next election), and your water then makes its way through a network of lines where it picks up residues from lead, copper, and PVC piping until finally your clear, crystalline water arrives at your tap.
It would seem to me pretty stupid to pay extra for that clear spring water, and it seems to me that paying extra for green power is just as stupid, because most of what arrives at your house to be consumed by you will not be green power. In California, most of that power will come from natural gas, which is well known to Andrew since his Sierra Club has taken many millions from a fracking company to promote natural gas as a bridge fuel.
The question is: Just how long is that bridge? I would say decades, the way things are looking.
In summary, it seems to me that community choice energy is simply one of many scams that are created to allow guilt-ridden liberals to pay useless money so they can feel like they are making things better, and to feel better about themselves as they pilot their gleaming and monstrous SUVs over to the recycling center.
San Luis Obispo