The secret life of Michael Peevey - Page 6

California's top energy regulator rolls with power company executives behind the scenes

|
(11)
Michael Peevey, California's top utility regulator, attended several trips last year with utility executives.
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY LUKE THOMAS

Yet as one skeptical energy insider noted, "there are 15 to 20 other funds, with 10 times as much money, an hour south in the same field," referring to the burgeoning clean-tech hub in Silicon Valley. It's questionable whether the CPUC is actually fulfilling some dire need with CalCEF, this person said.

Lynch, not surprisingly, takes a dim view of CalCEF. The former CPUC president questions what business the CPUC has creating a private foundation to guide venture capital investment. "It is a fundamental distortion of the PUC's authority," she charged, "all in service of Peevey's ambitions."

Peevey's economic disclosure showed that he holds more than $1 million in a private family trust, without disclosing whether private investments contributed to that fund.

Adler stressed that there is arms-length relationship between CalCEF board members and the companies that benefit from the fund's investments. "Because we are a nonprofit, and because we have on our board members of the regulatory community, we recognized quickly that we can't be making direct investments into companies," said Adler, a former CPUC staff member who was highly regarded even by the critics of CalCEF. "So ... we've picked the venture-capital funds that we wanted to partner with."

CalCEF funnels its capital into three different for-profit investment firms, which in turn select the companies that will be included in CalCEF's investment portfolio. Several directors of the partnering investment firms also sit on the boards of directors of the companies they invest in. The startups run the gamut, from carbon-offset outfits, to energy-efficient lighting manufacturers to solar and wind companies, to biofuels startups to various kinds of technology firms related to the smart grid.

But CalCEF has also poured money into companies that bolster the fossil-fuel industry. One of its first investments was CoalTek, a company developing technology for so-called "clean coal." Asked to explain why, Adler told the Guardian, "We don't have veto power on every deal that goes down."

Adler said he personally believes that "there's no such thing as clean coal," but tempered this by adding, "there are some very smart people in our community who will tell you that there's no future ... without coal."

Another CalCEF investment, DynaPump, is developing technology to make it more energy efficient to pump oil and gas. Asked about this decision, Adler responded: "I will say that when we were approached with this investment by the venture partner that ultimately undertook it, we had our misgivings. If you can save energy in the production of oil and gas, then you're definitely making a contribution to overall energy efficiency."

 

TAX-EXEMPT TESLA

There appear to be some closer-than-arms-length links between CalCEF board members and the investment fund's beneficiaries. A bio for CalCEF director Nancy Pfund, for example, notes that in her capacity as manager of an outside investment fund, she had "worked closely" with Tesla Motors, a CalCEF investment. Tesla provided CalCEF's first investment return earlier this year after Tesla went public. A principal of one of the investment firms that works with CalCEF, Stephen Jurvetson of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, holds Tesla shares in a personal trust, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Comments

Great job Rebecca-now we know how it why there are no consequences to blowing up a neighborhood.

Posted by Guest on May. 24, 2011 @ 10:29 pm

The Sacramento Bee did an article on energy regulators/energy company junkets back in 2009 that is also worth a look.

Posted by Guest on May. 25, 2011 @ 11:56 am

Totally disgusted - Peevey has to be ousted, Governor Brown! Corruption cannot be tolerated. Peevey, politician wife, SCE, lavish trips, coddling utilities ... this is like a corrupt third world dictatorship...Peevey is a national embarassment.

Posted by Guest on May. 27, 2011 @ 11:22 am

1. Fire this worthless piece of garbage now, along with Richard Clark. They're either corrupt, or incompetent, or both. In any case, they need to go now.

2. Investigate both for corruption

Posted by Guest on May. 27, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

1. WIRELESS SMART METERS – 100 TIMES MORE RADIATION THAN CELL PHONES.
Video Interview: Nuclear Scientist, Daniel Hirsch, (5 minutes: 38 seconds).
http://stopsmartmeters.org/2011/04/20/daniel-hirsch-on-ccsts-fuzzy-math/

2. WIRELESS SMART METERS – CANCER, NERVOUS SYSTEM DAMAGE, ADVERSE REPRODUCTION AFFECTS.
Video Interview: Dr. Carpenter, New York Public Health Department, Dean of Public Health, (2 minutes: 23 seconds).
http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?p=3946

3. THE KAROLINSKA INSTITUTE IN STOCKHOLM (the University that gives the Nobel Prizes) ISSUES GLOBAL HEALTH WARNING AGAINST WIRELESS SMART METERS.
2-page Press Release:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/48148346/Karolinska-Institute-Press-Release

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2011 @ 11:03 pm

your links about smart meters are a hoax. some nuts print a paper and you feel like smart meters are the end of the world.

get a life you mis-informed person.

they didn't issue a warning agaist smart meters in the report- they said 4 billion earthlings are affectd by radio waves- micro waves, etc. BFD. you probably dictated this on your cell phone.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 19, 2011 @ 7:40 am

No, actually the dangers of radio emissions are more and more being recognized as quite real. Europe is already beginning to restrict cell phone towers and emissions because of this.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 19, 2011 @ 10:06 am

Thanks for this, hope you will follow-up with a story on what power the CPUC has and how little recourse the public has. The control is almost absolute, but the oversight is close to zero.

This is why the toxic plume from Hinkley CA (Erin Brockovich) continues to grow and spread 20 years later. And, why utilities are seeking to evade responsibilities for Sierra wildfires caused by lack of power line maintenance. And, why on a Christmas morning in Rancho Cordova, a faulty gas connection critically burned and killed a family. Why underground vaults in San Francisco have been exploding for years, flinging manhole covers into the surrounding community. (The 'fix': put a spring on the cover because the explosions are sure to continue...) Why residents living around the Tesoro plant so often 'shelter in place'. Why funds meant to address flawed gas pipes were not used for that purpose. And why we have billions wasted on a flawed SmartMeter rollout that lacks complete R&D.

The CPUC licenses our nuclear power plants; not a reassuring thought!

Posted by Guest on May. 30, 2011 @ 11:27 am

I appreciate this in-depth work on exposing the extent of the CPUC
President's coziness with those he is expected to regulate. Hopefully
it will be widely read and will hasten Mr. Peevey's departure and
assist in the appointing of responsible new leadership.

PG&E's SmartMeter debacle is a perfect example of a misguided, large-
scale industry experiment that has escaped much-needed regulation.
The serious health effects of the meters' wireless technology has
already ruined lives, leaving sensitive individuals sick, homeless, unable to
work and without recourse. That's in addition to the billing and
privacy issues, fire risk and real dangers of SmartGrid security
violation.

Keep up the good work!

Posted by Guest on May. 31, 2011 @ 4:35 pm

I am shocked about this illuminating news about Michael Peevey!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2011 @ 8:27 pm

Resistance among Californian utilities to residential feed in tariffs reveals a protectionist attitude not even seen in Europe's energy industry these days…
http://bit.ly/q6XTDI

Posted by Guest on Jul. 28, 2011 @ 9:40 am