LAFCo to SFPUC: Hurry it up already!


Supervisor David Campos sent a clear message at the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) meeting on Jan. 23, emphasizing that he was eager to move beyond the delays that have hindered progress on Community Choice Aggregation. Commissioners Michael Bornstein and Ross Mirkarimi -- who represents District 5 on the Board of Supervisors -- echoed his concerns, along with an array of community members who turned out to speak during the public-comment session. Meanwhile, a few members of the public warned that further delays might amount to missing the boat on federal funding for alternative-energy programs, which the Obama administration is expected to make available in the near future.

Campos, who represents District 9 on the Board of Supervisors, is also the newest LAFCo commissioner. The city agency is charged with monitoring and advising the San Francisco Public Utility Commission’s efforts to develop and implement a Community Choice Aggregation program, which was mandated in 2004 by the Board of Supervisors to help ensure the “provision of clean, reasonably priced, and reliable electricity.” A CCA program would allow the city and county of San Francisco to become its own wholesale power purchaser for citizens. The plan includes targets for purchasing power generated from renewable resources such as wind and solar, with a goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2040. But the process of getting CCA off the ground has been moving along at a snail pace.

Contractors who responded to requests for assistance with implementing CCA that were put out some six months ago are still waiting to have contracts issued and tasks assigned. LAFCo has been waiting for the SFPUC to issue the contracts, and commissioners voiced disapproval at the Jan. 23 meeting that so little action had been taken. “I don’t see a reason why this decision is not solidified by next month,” Sup. Ross Mirkarimi noted.

Campos expressed concern that the SFPUC was moving too slowly, questioning “the extent to which there is commitment to move forward quickly on the part of the [SFPUC]. Coming in as a new commissioner, it’s not very encouraging to me.”

Barbara Hale, representing the SFPUC, responded by saying that part of the reason deadlines hadn’t been met was that there hadn’t been dedicated CCA staff until very recently. In December, the SFPUC hired a new program director, Michael Campbell, who was out of town during the Jan. 23 meeting. At press time, Hale had not returned repeated phone calls and emails seeking a bio for Campbell -- but we do know that he formerly worked for PG&E.

Meanwhile, during public comment, many chimed in to urge that LAFCo issue all CCA contracts in the interest of time.

“It’s been very frustrating,” said John Rizzo, representing the Sierra Club. “It has been stuck for six months. Pass all of the contracts -- we can’t wait. Global warming can’t wait.”

“I’ve been dismayed by how long this project has taken,” said Jeanne Rosenmeier, who chairs the city’s Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force.

The Obama administration has promised strong support for projects that would encourage alternative-energy generation as part of the economic-recovery package, and CCA could snag some of that federal funding if it is in a position to move forward by the time the bill is passed. As one commenter put it, “It’s not an opportunity you want to have slip by because the date got past you.”


Global crude oil production peaked in 2008.

The media, governments, world leaders, and public should focus on this issue.

Global crude oil production had been rising briskly until 2004, then plateaued for four years. Because oil producers were extracting at maximum effort to profit from high oil prices, this plateau is a clear indication of Peak Oil.

Then in August and September of 2008 while oil prices were still very high, global crude oil production fell nearly one million barrels per day, clear evidence of Peak Oil (See Rembrandt Koppelaar, Editor of "Oil Watch Monthly," December 2008, page 1)

Peak Oil is now.

Credit for accurate Peak Oil predictions (within a few years) goes to the following (projected year for peak given in parentheses):

* Association for the Study of Peak Oil (2007)

* Rembrandt Koppelaar, Editor of “Oil Watch Monthly” (2008)

* Tony Eriksen, Oil stock analyst; Samuel Foucher, oil analyst; and Stuart Staniford, Physicist [Wikipedia Oil Megaprojects] (2008)

* Matthew Simmons, Energy investment banker, (2007)

* T. Boone Pickens, Oil and gas investor (2007)

* U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2005)

* Kenneth S. Deffeyes, Princeton professor and retired shell geologist (2005)

* Sam Sam Bakhtiari, Retired Iranian National Oil Company geologist (2005)

* Chris Skrebowski, Editor of “Petroleum Review” (2010)

* Sadad Al Husseini, former head of production and exploration, Saudi Aramco (2008)

* Energy Watch Group in Germany (2006)

* Fredrik Robelius, Oil analyst and author of "Giant Oil Fields" (2008 to 2018)

Oil production will now begin to decline terminally.

Within a year or two, it is likely that oil prices will skyrocket as supply falls below demand. OPEC cuts could exacerbate the gap between supply and demand and drive prices even higher.

Independent studies indicate that global crude oil production will now decline from 74 million barrels per day to 60 million barrels per day by 2015. During the same time, demand will increase. Oil supplies will be even tighter for the U.S. As oil producing nations consume more and more oil domestically they will export less and less. Because demand is high in China, India, the Middle East, and other oil producing nations, once global oil production begins to decline, demand will always be higher than supply. And since the U.S. represents one fourth of global oil demand, whatever oil we conserve will be consumed elsewhere. Thus, conservation in the U.S. will not slow oil depletion rates significantly.

Alternatives will not even begin to fill the gap. There is no plan nor capital for a so-called electric economy. And most alternatives yield electric power, but we need liquid fuels for tractors/combines, 18 wheel trucks, trains, ships, and mining equipment. The independent scientists of the Energy Watch Group conclude in a 2007 report titled: “Peak Oil Could Trigger Meltdown of Society:”

"By 2020, and even more by 2030, global oil supply will be dramatically lower. This will create a supply gap which can hardly be closed by growing contributions from other fossil, nuclear or alternative energy sources in this time frame."

With increasing costs for gasoline and diesel, along with declining taxes and declining gasoline tax revenues, states and local governments will eventually have to cut staff and curtail highway maintenance. Eventually, gasoline stations will close, and state and local highway workers won’t be able to get to work. We are facing the collapse of the highways that depend on diesel and gasoline powered trucks for bridge maintenance, culvert cleaning to avoid road washouts, snow plowing, and roadbed and surface repair. When the highways fail, so will the power grid, as highways carry the parts, large transformers, steel for pylons, and high tension cables from great distances. With the highways out, there will be no food coming from far away, and without the power grid virtually nothing modern works, including home heating, pumping of gasoline and diesel, airports, communications, and automated building systems.

Documented here:

Posted by Clifford J. Wirth, Ph.D. on Jan. 29, 2009 @ 5:02 am