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The Protect Our Communities Foundation defends communities and nature in San Diego County, Imperial County, and northern Baja California. We advance better energy and environmental solutions through advocacy and law.

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April 24, 2015 POC News Update

POC supports the Power with the Sun campaign for more rooftop solar and energy efficiency in San Diego. Rooftop solar and energy efficiency are two of the locally controlled, clean energy solutions that are needed in this region.

POC supports the creation of a Community Choice Aggregation utility in San Diego, as an alternative to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). Community Choice Aggregation would speed San Diego’s transition to renewable energy and bring San Diegans more control over the sources of their electricity.

POC has intervened at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to stop the approval of a Power Purchase Agreement for a 558 MW proposed natural gas power plant along the coastline in northern San Diego County. This fossil-fuel plant would be built on the site of an existing natural gas power plant that the local community has long wished to see retired in order to create new open space at its prime ocean-front location. POC has challenged the high cost and dubious need for this plant at the CPUC. There are better solutions, such as rooftop solar and energy efficiency.

SDG&E plans to replace more than 1,800 wooden power poles in and around the biologically sensitive Cleveland National Forest with significantly taller steel power poles and much heavier conductor (power line wire) capable of transmitting four times the electricity the lines currently carry. This would open up the region to more development of polluting fossil-fuel energy generation and inappropriately sited renewable energy projects in the San Diego backcountry. POC has intervened at the CPUC and is watchdogging this $450 million project. We propose replacing the wooden poles with same-sized steel poles and conductors, except in specific instances where using a taller pole would allow the project to stay further away from sensitive natural features, such as streams.

POC’s appeal of a U.S. district court Tule Wind I decision was filed in October 2014, to protect migratory birds at the project site.

In September 2014, POC sued the federal government in order to protect eagles and other migratory birds at the proposed Tule Wind project. In hopes that a lawsuit could be avoided, since January 2014, POC’s attorneys have sent three letters to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, asking that the agency withdraw its approval of phase II of Iberdrola’s Tule Wind project, in light of myriad legal violations, serious threat to legally protected golden eagles and other migratory birds, and the inadequate response to repeated concerns raised by government wildlife agencies. Read the letters here here and here. In August 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejected the project’s eagle take permit application as incomplete.

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