Backlash Against Fossil Fuel Electricity Turning Into Movement

The exposure of massive overcapacity built into California’s electric plants, approved by a corrupt Public Utilities Commission (PUC) at ratepayers’ expense, is driving a new backlash against natural gas powered electricity plants in Oxnard, as well as possibly Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos, and LA Department of Water and Power plants too.
 
Natural gas is a fossil fuel and the need for these plants is worse than dubious.  Unfortunately, the owners of the Oxnard, Huntington Beach and Los Alamitos projects are big Jerry Brown donors who have benefited wildly from his tight control of the PUC. The Commission might as well be called the Brown Utilities Commission given that his appointees, including three of his closest aides, dominate the five member PUC.  
 
NRG, a six-figure Brown buddy, got PUC approval for the Puente plant in Oxnard. But with an Los Angeles Times investigation exposing the massive overbuild, the California Energy Commission has yet to finalize its environmental permit. The California Independent Systems Operator (CAISO) has agreed to look at alternatives to the fossil fuel electric power at Puente.  That follows massive opposition in Oxnard against the plant, and the closure of an independently operated Central Valley plant, Las Palomas, because there is no market for electricity other than the utilities' corporate welfare the PUC hands out.
 
Brown’s PUC and CEC have granted approval for Alamitos and Huntington Beach fossil fuel powered electricity even as the state debates a 100% renewable standard in the face of an existing glut of electricity. But the CEC approved even more capacity than the PUC at Alamitos and Huntington Beach, so more filings before the PUC are likely in the works.
 
The feeding binge benefits AES, which has donated $20,000 to the Oakland Military Institute, one of Brown's favorite pet projects, since Brown was elected in 2010. The three major investor-owned utilities that AES services are major Brown donors, forking over more than $6 million to Brown's campaigns, causes, and initiatives, and to the California Democratic Party since Brown ran for Governor. Donations were often made within days or weeks of winning favors.
 
 
Reconsideration of Oxnard shows that change is possible. But Alamitos and Huntington Beach stand as examples of how Brown’s dirty hands continue to pad the profits of donors peddling the fool’s gold of fossil fuel powered electricity in a state that’s vowed to swear it off even as the Governor traverses the globe in pursuit of climate change relief.
 
The hypocrisy of a Governor and his close aides who oversupply and overcharge Californians for fossil fuel powered electricity is largely lost on a media drumbeat extolling Brown’s environmental foil for Donald Trump. But NRG and AES are smiling all the way to the bank and Californians will pay for the misteps for decades if the fossil fuel powered glut isn’t cut.

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