December 5, 2010
California, Letters

Define green energy

Marin Independent Journal, 5 December 2010

Who is greener, Marin Clean Energy or PG&E?

According to the Marin Energy Authority, its Marin Clean Energy program is purchasing 25 percent “California-certified Renewable Energy,” as compared to PG&E’s 14 percent. Marin Clean Energy claims to be greener than PG&E. I believe its claim if the criterion is “California-certified Renewable Energy.”

Newsweek, however, rates PG&E as the greenest public utility in the United States and one of the greenest companies in the nation. I believe Newsweek too.

How is it possible for two reliable sources to disagree?

It is all in the definition of what is “California -certified Renewable Energy.” The definition includes the usual renewable energy sources of wind and solar as well as small hydro-electric facilities and some other smaller sources of power.

It does not include large hydro-electric facilities or nuclear power.

One has to assume that distinction is political. Logically, if small hydro is “green,” then large hydro is also “green.” If all hydro were considered in the mix, I believe PG&E would be a lot greener than MEA.

Newsweek’s analysis had to have included nuclear. Nuclear is not carbon based and is even renewable, except in the U.S.

In France and most of Europe nuclear fuel rods are reprocessed and a large part of them is saved and reused.

The question remains, who is greener?

If you decide based on logic, then PG&E delivers more “green” than Marin Clean Energy. If you decide logic means nothing, then Marin Clean Energy is greener.

John R Pitcairn, Ross

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