A contract with a consultant to help develop Pasadena Water and Power’s future energy strategy was approved Monday, but not before two Councilmembers aired environmental worries and voted against the proposal.
Five Councilmembers voted in favor of a $427,200 contract with Alliance for Cooperative Energy Services (ACES) LLC for modeling and consulting services for the development of the PWP 2023 Integrated Resource Plan, but Councilmembers Jessica Rivas and Steve Madison voted against the contract.
“My concern, [which] a lot of folks shared tonight as well, is that the process for this contract did not lead us to a firm with a really strong track record or someone who is a leader in energy,” Rivas said.
“I think this needs to be an essential part of all our PWP contracts and if we want Pasadena to be a leader in clean energy, let’s partner with other leaders in clean energy.”
Madison also echoed the concern of the community and counclmember Rivas.
“I can’t support this,” Madison said. “Carnegie laboratories is already here, JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) is already here , Caltech (California Institute of Technology) is already here. We have the foremost minds on the planet that are working around the clock to address climate change and climate issues and yet we do things like this, we hire a firm that seems like we’re a small town in the middle of Oklahoma.”
“I am just concerned that we are not appreciating the urgency we need to bring to the climate change issue.”
Rivas and Madison made their remarks after members of the public questioned the decision to choose ACES LLC as the recipient of the contract despite allegations the firm lacks experience modeling for renewables.
“They don’t even have the experience for modeling for renewables that we should really be demanding,” said Pasadena resident Colin Bogart. “I would rather see us choose a company that has a really strong amazing strong powerful track record modeling for what we need to do — which is to chart a course for complete renewable sources.”
As per PWP report, the IRP serves as a blueprint for the City’s utility to deliver reliable, environmentally responsible electricity services at competitive rates over a 25-year planning period.
Its purpose is to establish a long-term plan for PWP’s portfolio of energy supply resources, with the goal of finding a balance among system reliability, fiscal responsibility and environmental stewardship, specifically addressing climate change concerns.
According to PWP, six firms sent in proposals for the services — three for modeling services and three for consulting services and ACES LLC got the highest score for each of the scopes of work.
PWP Interim General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger at the Municipal Services Committee meeting last week said the ACES LLC had previously prepared IRP for public utilities in the past, including Pasadena’s 2021 IRP update, the IRP for Core Electric Cooperative in Sedalia Colorado and the IRP for Sunflower Electric Cooperative in Hays, Kansas, among other public utilities.
Kightlinger clarified that ACES LLC is only being hired because of its “technical expertise in modeling, number crunching and crafting the proposals” and the city will still be the one to make a decision related to PWP’s portfolio of energy supply resources.
“At the end of the day, the policy choices will be presented to the MSC and to the council. And that’s where the policy decision will be made,” Kightlinger said.
As City report said the PWP has already formed a Stakeholder Technical Advisory Group, representing a cross-section of the Pasadena community, to provide input on the scope of the IRP.
The PWP is set to hold public meetings and conduct outreach to gather additional stakeholder input for the IRP as final recommendations are being developed for consideration by the City Council.