By mid-2011, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will make key decisions about how to produce energy for the next 10 years. Among them, the CPUC will face a critical decision point—will all major renewable projects be located in distant desert locations, dependent on controversial power lines, or will we instead prioritize the flat surfaces found on rooftops, vacant lots, and parking lots in our cities and suburbs?
Having already successfully fought Liquefied Natural Gas development by coordinating Ratepayers for Affordable, Clean Energy (RACE) and further promoting the use of clean energy by founding the Local Clean Energy Alliance in the San Francisco Bay Area, Rory Cox is uniquely qualified to lead this charge. Under his guidance, the RACE Coalition grew to over 30 conservation and energy advocate groups, whose work resulted in the successful blocking of seven different Liquefied Natural Gas projects in Mexico, California and Oregon.
Through his TogetherGreen Fellowship, Rory’s plan is to persuade the CPUC and other decision-makers to think strategically about the environmental and conservation impacts of energy planning. Specifically, Rory is rolling out the “Put it My Backyard” campaign to get cities, counties and businesses to support distributed renewables. With this support, and with high-level energy and economic analysis, his goal is to persuade the CPUC to support localized renewables in the 10 year plan. Rory will also publish “Bay Area Smart Energy 2020,” a roadmap he will create for how the nine-county Bay Area can reduce greenhouse gas emission through the development of locally-sited solar projects and investments in energy efficiency. This plan not only reduces the need for transmission lines, pipelines and fossil fuel power plants, but it also creates jobs for people in urban and suburban communities. Rory will then share this plan with government and business leaders in the Bay Area to help build long-term support for local clean energy projects.
Rory’s overreaching goals include reducing the Bay Area’s greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector by 50 percent (or 18.5 million tons per year) by 2020. While that may seem ambitious, we think Rory is up to the challenge.