Letters to the Editor

Letter | ‘Green energy’ vote shows poor judgment on city’s part

Supporting green energy sounds like such a good idea, and if Mercer Island residents want to participate in the PSE’s “Green Power” program, they certainly can. It is voluntary. For the City Council, however, to spend our money on this program displays a serious lack of judgment and fiscal responsibility, even if the amount is only $6,000.

Here are some of the facts: In 2001 the legislature mandated this program. After 10 years it generates 1.4% of PSE’s sales and has a 2.8% customer participation rate. PSE has 3,000 megawatts of electrical generating capacity. Our electricity comes from the following sources: coal, 36 percent; hydro, 33 percent; natural gas, 29 percent; nuclear, 1 percent; other, 1 percent.

The interesting fact is that PSE currently has three wind facilities producing up to 773 megawatts of electricity. But, PSE sells the excess green energy generated by their wind facilities to other entities across the nation.

So, spending our tax dollars on a program that after 10 years produces little energy — and based on the participation rate is of little interest to the customer base — seems like a bad idea, to say nothing of the question, “Is it the proper role of our city government?”

If PSE wants to supply us with more green energy, they can just flip the switch.

I’m not questioning PSE. I’m sure what they are doing makes business sense. But I am questioning the City Council and Bruce Bassett, the mayor who says, “It is an important thing for us to do.” Between hydro and wind, we could be getting over 50 percent of our power from green energy. The Reporter is right: there are probably better uses for our money. The program terms and conditions say we can withdraw at any time, so let’s get out now.

Robert Harper


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