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City of St. Helena signs up for 100% renewable energy with Marin Clean Energy

Source: 
The Weekly Calistogan

The city of St. Helena is enrolling in a 100% renewable energy option with Marin Clean Energy.

City operations already use a Marin Clean Energy (MCE) portfolio of 60% renewable energy. The City Council agreed Nov. 26 to follow the lead of Napa County and the city of Napa by switching to the 100% renewable Deep Green program.

The switch will cost the city an additional $20,000 per year, a 4% increase over its current electricity costs. The cost will be split among the General Fund, Water Fund and Wastewater Fund.

MCE is a public, not-for-profit electricity provider that uses the PG&E grid to deliver energy from renewable sources, including solar and wind, at competitive rates.

The city's participation in Deep Green doesn't affect local residents and businesses, who can make their own decision to "opt up" to Deep Green by visiting mcecleanenergy.org or calling 1 (888) 632-3674.

St. Helena resident Henry Gundling urged the council to make the switch.

"I can't think of anything that the city could do that would be more impactful and more important than approving this," Gundling said. "It's a big deal."

The local group Napa Climate NOW also encouraged the council to switch to the Deep Green program.

"Doing so means we use our purchasing power to obtain electricity from wind and solar power, produced in California, without having to install wind or solar ourselves," the group's steering committee wrote in a letter to the council. "Better still, half of the Deep Green premium goes toward the Deep Green Renewable Development Fund, which helps fund the build out of local renewable energy projects."

MCE's Deep Green program is one of the elements being considered for the Napa County climate action plan.

In other action, the council:

- Approved a contract amendment of $78,650 with Dudek to complete the Hunter subdivision environmental impact report, bringing the total cost of the contract to $313,161.

The entire cost is paid by the applicant. The city also bills the applicant a 10% administration fee for contracting with and managing the consultant.

- Adopted a rental fee of $100 for residents and $125 for non-residents to use the Crane Park baseball fields for private, organized, commercial use.

The fee does not apply to individuals or groups who use the facilities recreationally. It only applies to groups who reserve the field for a specific date and time.

The actual cost for staffing and facility expenses is estimated at $150. The recommended fees are the same as for Picnic Area 4 at Crane Park.

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