Power play - Page 3

A multinational development company is putting up big bucks for the Trans Bay Cable, but sustainable power advocates call it "a waste of resources"

We believe the Board of Supervisors is the preferred venue" to settle those questions.

Reached for comment, several San Francisco supervisors, either directly or through staff, told us they are still making up their minds about the project. Sup. Sophie Maxwell told us even if the cable is built, the city will not allow the new power line to sidetrack its efforts to use more environmentally friendly energy. "The city's policy is renewable energy. Fossil fuel is not our first and primary desire." But, she added, Cal-ISO "determine[s] our power needs, and so we have to go along with that. We can't say, 'No ... you're wrong.' "

Babcock and Brown vice president Dave Parquet praised the Port Commission for approving the licensing agreement and benefits package, telling us, "We are very pleased with the port's [approval] and look forward to the Board of Supervisors' decision." Samuel Wehn, the TBC's project manager at Babcock and Brown, said, "I don't think San Francisco [officials are] going to put their city in the position where they're not going to be able to provide the kind of energy that's needed to keep this city running."

Moss said those kinds of arguments are "business as usual" for the state in terms of energy policy. "Here [we] go again with another large infrastructure project that doesn't contribute to solving climate change or moving our energy agenda forward."

He added, "It's classic political science. Out of [the average ratepayer's bill] it's pennies per month, so nobody cares about it ... but that doesn't mean it's not an expensive project. It is." Babcock and Brown, he said, "saw an opportunity to make a very fat profit margin, and they went for it like any good profiteer." *

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