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Monday, July 15, 2024
EnvironmentOpinion: Hitting Back Against Silicon Valley Clean Energy Rumors

Opinion: Hitting Back Against Silicon Valley Clean Energy Rumors


Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) recently started providing carbon-free electricity to Milpitas residents and businesses. For those who have not followed the progression of this change over the past 2 years, concerns about it may arise. Rumors from people who don’t know the facts make things worse.

Here are some myths I have heard…

An opt-in plan for customers would have been better than an opt-out plan.

There are 3 reason this is false. First, current California law requires all customers to be switched over to a newly formed Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) with an opportunity to opt out. Second, opt-out is easier for the 98% of customers who are either satisfied with the change or actually prefer it. Lastly, as the latest IPCC Report clearly states, Global Warming is the biggest issue facing civilization; we should take every chance we get to reduce our carbon footprint.

The cost of SVCE’s clean energy could go up.

The trend lines for renewable energy costs are heading down, as they have been doing for decades. While there is a small chance of those trends reversing, there is a high probability that electricity from carbon-energy sources will rise with the arrival of a carbon-fee and dividend (CF&D) program, or an outright tax on carbon. Fortunately, as a locally-governed agency, SVCE is nimble and able to quickly adjust prices to remain competitive. Meanwhile, PG&E rates continue their upward trend, with an average increase of 9% in 2018.

The City should have chosen Green Start for its own use.

GreenStart is SVCE’s competitively-priced, standard electricity offering. All customers are automatically enrolled in GreenStart, with electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind, solar, and carbon-free sources like large hydropower. GreenPrime, SVCE’s 100% renewable generation service, was chosen for City use to demonstrate our commitment to a clean energy future. Buying GreenPrime further expands generation from new and competitive renewable energy sources. For a typical residential customer like me who upgrades to GreenPrime, the extra few dollars a month is an investment in future generations.

Milpitas is on the bleeding edge of CCAs.

Back in 2007, the CPUC authorized its first CCA application. And most cities in the County chose to switch to SVCE about 2 years before Milpitas. Although invited to join the others in 2016, at that time Milpitas’ leaders failed to respond. Now that we have joined SVCE, we can start sharing in the roughly 20% net profit, estimated at $20 million in 2018.

For both financial and environmental reasons, our new City leadership made the right choice in joining SVCE. By purchasing our electricity at wholesale prices from 21st-century renewable sources, our CCA will be able to provide residents and businesses with opportunities for future energy savings. Soon, SVCE will start deciding what to do with that extra money. If you have ideas, please contact our SVCE representative, Marsha Grilli, at mgrilli@ci.milpitas.ca.gov


Rob Means




Paid for by Evelyn Chua for Milpitas City Council FPPC#1470209spot_img


  1. This article is very misleading. CCAs are not competitive. They purchase the same old fossil fuel generated energy and are able to call it “green” through a process called “greenwashing”. Greenwashing happens when a renewable energy provider like a solar farm produces energy. When 1 megawatt of clean energy is produced the solar farm operator can issue a REC (renewable energy certificate), they can then sell the REC to a CCA which purchases fossil fuel energy and applies the REC to the purchase, thereby “greenwashing” that megawatt of power in to “renewable”, or “green” energy. The concept and pricing are a scam and will only continue to be viable as long as renewable energy is subsidized, after that the game is over and taxpayers will be stuck with wildly escalating energy bills.


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