Recently, Anaheim residents have received a mailing message from a grassroots advocacy organization called Renewable Energy Accountability Project (REAP). The message stated that Anaheim gets 68% of its power from “dirty” coal and urged residents to contact the City Council about reducing its use of coal or providing a target date for becoming 100% coal free.
Anaheim’s power portfolio currently consists of gas, hydro, geothermal, wind, and solar resources and does contain traditional sources like coal. This is not simply because coal is less expensive, but because this type of energy is a reliable source of power. Reliability and diversity of power supply is critical in the event of fuel shortages or unexpected price increases. Equally important to note is that Anaheim’s use of coal meets all the national emissions restrictions set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In fact, the coal facilities providing energy to Anaheim have some of the lowest levels of emissions when compared to similar facilities in the entire Western Region of the United States.
Anaheim ratepayers paid for their share of this plant and should not be forced simply to walk away from their investment without a cost-effective replacement strategy - and that cost-effective replacement strategy is already underway. In 2002, the Anaheim City Council approved a policy to ensure that 15% of the electricity consumed by Anaheim customers would be supplied by renewable resources by 2015, a goal which has recently been increased to 20%. The Public Utilities Department has been progressively involved with acquiring energy from “green” or renewable resources since 2003. We currently get enough energy from these resources to provide 10% of the energy required by our retail customers. We have contracts for future projects that, by 2014, will provide 28% of energy we supply to our retail customers.
In addition to these projects, Anaheim has been actively engaged in providing incentives for customers for a variety of energy efficiency and demand-side management programs, as well as for installation of thermal energy storage and solar panels, to reduce dependency on conventional energy sources. Energy efficiency programs will reduce the City’s energy consumption by 10% over the next several years, and the thermal energy storage and solar programs have generated enough participation to reduce energy needs during peak periods by 5%. Anaheim also offers a program which allows customers who would like to voluntarily pay the small premium for green to make themselves 100 percent green right now.
Anaheim is committed to minimizing its impact on the environment in economically sensible ways. In 2006, our City Council approved a resolution that focused on increasing our renewable energy use, reducing power plant and fleet vehicle emissions, increasing green building opportunities, increasing energy and water efficiency opportunities, and providing community education on environmental issues.
Finally, it should be noted that a majority of Anaheim’s interest in coal resources are based on a long-term contractual basis, which will terminate in 2027. Anaheim will not renew its interest in the contract at that point in time.
To learn more about how Anaheim is managing its energy portfolio, please contact Steve Sciortino at 714.765.5177.