Editor’s Note: Judge David Yaffe gave Jack Humphreville and other signatories on the No on Prop. B ballot argument until Dec. 30 to respond to the legal intimidation by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s lawyer who is representing Mitchell Schwartz and the League of Conservation Voters political action committee which claims there are false and misleading statements. Rebuttals are due Jan. 5 and the next hearing is Jan. 8. We are seeking a lawyer and received several offers of donations.
At a news conference Friday, City Council President Eric Garcetti and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa defended their Proposition B solar energy plan and the mad rush to get it approved after disclosure that a consultant warned it was “extremely risky” and too costly
Garcetti claimed that the public had full knowledge of what was in the report because he used a one-page bullet-point digest of what was in the 26-page report to ask questions at a hearing. The bullet points were prepared by Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller and shown to only a few council members with at least Wendy Greuel and Jan Perry admitting they took little or no notice of it. You can listen heresolar.mp3
Garcetti admitted he did not read the sonsultant’s full report or make public the 13 bullet points. But his office made both available late Friday along with a second report and Miller’s letter attempting to explain away the problem. You can read them all here Solar_initiative_packet.pdf
The critical study was made by PA Consulting Group, which is conducting a five-year review of DWP operations.
Both Garcetti and the mayor insisted all the issues raised in the report — high costs, shortage of supply, lack of trained workers, low efficiency of roof top solar panels among others — were addressed in the final form of Proposition B that voters will decide March 3.
The plan counts on $2 billion in subsidies from the federal government — two-thirds of the total cost. Most of the money will go to China which Garcetti said is ramping up its capacity to make the panels — a fact that undermines City Hall’s claims it will significantly stimulate the local economy and give birth to a local solar technology industry.
The jobs of installing the solar panels will go to the DWP union, the IBEW, which developed the plan in the first place.
Here’s the CLA’s bullet points derived from the consultant’s
report, the sole basis for scrutinizing the most ambitious solar energy
program ever undertaken in the United States:
DWP SOLAR — CONSULTANTS FINDINGS
1. This proposal is “extremely risky.”
2. DWP cannot accomplish this program in the time frame and manner in which it is laid out.
This is an extremely aggressive proposal. The 400 MW represent 143 % of
the solar installed in the entire state and 85 % of the solar installed
in the entire nation.
4. Due to the aggressive moves towards
renewables, materials shortages which are already being experienced
will worsen. This proposal would put significant additional pressure on
supply shortages. This would not only delay implementation of DWP
programs but likely result in significant increases in cost increases
5. While costs could go down over time as
technology is perfected, materials manufacturers come on line and the
infrastructure is in place, there is no indication that such will occur
in the next few years.
6. The reasonable estimate for total is
$3.6 billion but they believe that the program would cost much more. It
is not feasible to do this program at the $1.5 billion “low-end”
estimate by DWP.
7. At $3.6 billion, it is likely that the ECAF
(pass through rate hikes) would have to be increased by 2.5 to 3 times
(from 4 % per year max to 10 % to 12 % per year max) in order to
maintain sufficient revenue flows to maintain bond coverage
requirements and the department’s bond ratings. This would be in
addition to the base rate increases needed.
8. While it is
reasonable to assert that some of the addition costs would be offset by
jobs creation and economic development, no analysis has been done
relative to the number and quality of jobs that will be created and the
time-frame over which the jobs will be created.
out this work in the early years until the jobs are in place would be
difficult if not impossible due to the size of the program and lack of
availability of contractors and materials.
10. There is probably
enough roof space to do this. However, no other utility is pursuing
such an aggressive roof top program. PGE has the largest effort in the
state, but the vast majority of theirs is solar thermal, which is
expressly prohibited in the proposed ordinance and the labor reps are
adamant about that not being included.
11. A program like this
should not be undertaken until there is a thoroughly vetted approach
for encouraging private property owners to participate and a secure
supply/materials line. PGE has already entered into agreements with
their suppliers for their materials. It should be assumed that it is
unlikely that those suppliers could provide panels for the DWP’s
12. The DWP does not have planning mechanisms and
resources in place to accomplish this program, or for that matter,
their entire 20 % by the 2010 requirement.
13. Due to the DWP’s
high vacant rate, reliability mandates and other issues, it does not
appear the DWP has the capability to adequately take on this program.