Energy Sovereignty

Archives from the Stop the PSU Pipeline Campaign and the early days of CITY-GREEN

Monday Morning Pipeline News – June 3, 2013

LITIGATION

None yet as far as I know.

OFFICIAL ACTION

None recently as far as I know. Video of May 16 Planning Commission meeting.

SUSTAINABLE ENERGY POLICY DEVELOPMENT

From early drafts we’ve been working on (prepared by CELDF and amended by residents), I think there are three crucial pieces to any effective sustainable energy ordinance or charter amendment. A local sustainable energy law would be derived – not from state or federal laws – but from the inherent and inalienable authority of the people of State College to protect our health, safety and welfare, as asserted by our Community Bill of Rights.

Community Leadership

  • The Borough Council ordinance or charter amendment would need to set up a system for an Energy Commission to be elected or appointed within a few months of the policy’s adoption, laying out our community’s definition of sustainable energy sources and the size of the commission, and directing the commission’s work, starting with a survey a Borough residences and businesses to assess energy consumption based on unsustainable energy production. Participation by residents and business owners would be voluntary, but only assessed properties would be eligible to participate in publicly-funded sustainable energy transition programs.
Annual Sustainable Energy Plan
  • The Borough’s Energy Commission would need to adopt and publish a Sustainable Energy Plan, the first annual edition published within a year of formation. The plan would need to describe baseline community energy use as measured by the survey, and include specific measures to be completed each fiscal year to achieve targeted reductions in unsustainable energy consumption, along with revenue sources and application procedures for sustainable energy projects.

Financing

  • The Borough would need to adopt financial measures, such as issuing general revenue bonds, to assist and subsidize residents and locally owned and controlled businesses to transition from unsustainable energy systems to sustainable energy systems, and to create local jobs to attain that transition. Other financing measures could include tax credits, subsidies or other financial incentives, and any resident or locally owned and controlled business seeking a tax credit, subsidy, or other financial incentive would have to provide evidence that they’d installed or adapted residential sustainable energy systems as defined by the Energy Commission. As part of local funding development for sustainable energy, the Borough could also create a Renewable Energy Financing District. Sample from Berkeley California.
  • The Borough could also directly manufacture and sell electricity, by owning and operating facilities for the use of Borough inhabitants, by setting rates, and by contracting with private energy producers to purchase produced energy. The Borough would need to submit publicly-owned power generating facility plans to the qualified voters of the Borough.

CITIZEN ACTION

June 3 – Borough Council Meeting (Tonight)

  • A few residents plan to speak, to keep the sustainable energy public discussion going.

June 4 – Joint Highlands Civic Association/State College Planning Commission Meeting

  • A few residents plan to attend to begin assessing neighborhood interest in local sustainable energy policy and laying out the need for sustainable energy policy to residents and local leaders. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church in Harkins Hall, 205 South Garner St. Agenda includes a summary of SWOT Analysis Input (regarding unique HCA neighborhood characteristics and common themes among Borough neighborhoods), followed by a focus group break out session to discuss HCA’s SWOT analysis and planning strategies, and prioritize and brainstorm neighborhood action steps.

June 5 – Planning Commission Meeting

  • Agenda includes “review of Planning Commission responsibilities within Current Borough Zoning Ordinance and the Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Code.”

June 14 – 15 – Democracy School 

  • Community Rights Workshop will be held at the State College Friends School, on June 14-15. Please contact Joe Cusumano to sign up. The cost is $25, including a Saturday lunch. Scholarships are available, as is on-site day care.

RIGHT TO KNOW

Late last week, I filed a form asking to schedule an informal citizen review of the PA-DEP documents related to the planned conversion of the Penn State West Campus Steam Plant from coal to natural gas fuel. I may be going to Williamsport to review the public file; according to the DEP public records website, citizens should postpone filing formal Right-to-Know requests until after reviewing the documents available as a matter of routine at the regional offices.

SCUTTLEBUTT

Residents are talking about the “lost educational opportunity” in how Penn State administrators have handled its energy planning to date, noting “there are lots of students at Penn State in energy-related majors who could have learned an enormous amount by tapping into the studies of energy alternatives…”

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