Marin County Board of Supervisors Approve Marin Energy Authority

I was very pleased yesterday that the Marin County Board of Supervisors voted to approve the Marin Energy Authority, a project we at Omni Law Group have been working on for the County of Marin. I was quoted in the article reproduced below.


The Marin County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday morning to approve the formation of the Marin Energy Authority, a countywide Joint Powers Authority that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in compliance with the provisions of the state’s 2006 global warming law.

The vote means Marin County is the first government entity in the county to join the Marin Energy Authority which will launch a clean energy program next year.

If established by one other municipality joining, the Marin Energy Authority would become the first Joint Powers Authority in the state formed to meet the greenhouse gas emissions reductions under Assembly Bill 32, said John Corcoran, communications coordinator with Marin Clean Energy.

The law requires a 25-30 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020 and a reduction 80 percent below 1990 levels before 2050, Corcoran said.

The Marin County Board of Supervisors voted in August 2003 to strive to reduce greenhouse gases emissions 15 percent below 1990 levels countywide and by 15-20 percent below 1990 levels for internal government functions by 2020.

Town and city councils in Marin are also considering joining the Marin Energy Authority. The Tiburon and Fairfax town councils will vote on the issue tonight and the approval of only one of them is required to legally establish the Marin Energy Authority, Corcoran said.

Corcoran said it is hoped the county’s other big energy users, San Rafael and Novato, also will agree to join the Marin Energy Authority. The San Rafael council is scheduled to vote on the second reading of the ordinance Dec. 15 and the Novato council is expected to vote on it in January.

“We’re thrilled we are the first of hopefully many municipalities to join the Authority and we’re looking forward to other cities making their own decision,” Corcoran said after today’s vote.

The Marin Energy Authority can proceed with its plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without the membership of Novato and San Rafael but those efforts would be scaled back, Corcoran said.

The final decision on whether to launch the authority’s Marin Clean Energy (MCE) program will occur in mid-2009 after each town and city in Marin County weighs all responses from the energy market, discusses the proposed contract, receives public input and then votes whether to proceed, Corcoran said.

“Even without MCE, the Marin Energy Authority may proceed with other initiatives that will allow all Marin’s jurisdictions to work collectively to address the challenges posed by AB 32’s mandated greenhouse gas reductions,” Corcoran said.

The Marin Energy Authority will hold its first meeting in January to develop by-laws and operating guidelines. In February, the Authority will request bids on proposals from energy service providers, including Pacific Gas & Electric, to serve Marin County’s electric supply and carry out technical functions for a Community Choice Aggregation clean energy program.

There will be a 90-day review period once an energy service provider is selected. The Board of Supervisors and towns and cities in the Authority will then decide whether or not to proceed with the contract for a Community Choice Aggregation program.

The Marin County Community Development Agency said the Marin Energy Authority could still pursue other programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strive to comply with AB 32 whether or not a contract is developed or implemented.

(© 2007 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. In the interest of timeliness, this story is fed directly from the Associated Press newswire and may contain occasional typographical errors. )

(Picture courtesy of the Marin Independent-Journal)