PSCo Earth Day Sponsorship : LUSENET : ced organization : One Thread

Please provide your comment about Colorado Earth Day 2000 accepting corporate sponsorship from PSCo (New Century Energies). CED2k (Colorado Earth Day 2000) has received an initial offer of $10,000 from PSCO to fund a part of the CED2k campaign - namely, the Solar Schools Challenge. We are soliciting input from the entire CED2k Management Board and other concerned individuals. The first comment is a copy/paste from an email sent by Heidi VanGenderen on this issue. The CED2k Executive Committee would like to provide guidance on how to proceed with PSCo to the CED2k Program Director, Kelly Christopher, by this Friday. Please add your comment to this discussion forum for consideration

-- Anonymous, November 29, 1999


The following is from Heidi VanGenderen, Nov. 22, '99

"The truth of the Solar Schools Program is that Public Service Company of Colorado somewhat inadvertently put together an advisory committee that eventually was able to prevail in directing the Renewable Energy Trust's funding toward something just a little more productive than the automatic gate openers that PSCo originally agreed to use this funding for (that's not quite accurate -- somebody can correct me, but the initial uses were pretty absurd.)

Understand, also, that the Renewable Energy Trust which funds the Solar Schools Program is funded by the customers of Public Service Company. It is no money from the company itself; it comes from people who agree to pay extra by rounding up their bills or by contributing outright. As usual, PSCo was surprised at the response and quite amazed at the amount of money that accrued. Then, as I said, they had the wisdom to invite service from Pat McLearn and Rebecca Pritchard and others who helped direct the funding into the beginning of the Solar Schools Program. Thirty schools is a beginning; a small beginning.

We need to be very considered about how and how much we want Earth Day in Colorado to be associated with New Century Energies (soon to become something else when it merges yet again with Northern States Power--an even larger company than before). The potential for greenwashing is immense, and we must foil that somehow.

By suggesting the Solar Schools program as one of four primary programs of Earth Day Colorado, Kelly is proposing recognition of PSCo's "good works" and there are, most certainly, these good works afoot. Windsource and the Solar Schools Program are among these. But again -- ask Rudd what she's been doing from the non-profit sector to aid the "poor" million plus dollar marketing department of New Century Energies for the past couple of years in marketing wind power.

The energy efficiency programs of New Century Energies are non-existent. How will this utility meet the demands of the 6th fastest growing state in the nation for new power without significant investment in the efficiencies that make so much sense?

The clean energy programs of New Century Energies are not full-hearted, intentional programs that have been embraced by a progressive and visionary group of men. They are concessions to a world that will change in spite of them.

I ask the Management Board and all others to consider what this means. Part of what Earth Day can and should be about is our voices as consumers and as citizens. We know that bringing forward a hydrogen economy holds the greatest potential for sustaining life on earth -- it is nothing less important to all life than that. It is our responsibility to demand that this happen.

How can we most effectively make our voices heard in this hugely important call for Clean Energy Now?

Do we promote the renewable energy programs of PSCo so effectively that we take over the future of their business, in spite of those who run it? That is certainly one strategy, but one that will take a concerted, strategic and sustained effort.

Do we organize an effort to take over the majority stockholders position in this prosperous, multi-million dollar company and redirect its investment strategies? Another great idea, but another avenue that takes time, focus, sustained effort, and resources.

Do we ask PSCo to outline their energy efficiency programs as one of the primary means of meeting new power demands in our fast-growing area?

Let's brainstorm this question -- how we can use the platform of attention coming our way next April to focus the spotlight on PSCo in ways that extend (politely, but effectively?!) beyond congrat

-- Anonymous, November 29, 1999

Heidi raises some extremely strong points and I very much respect her opinions. However, for me this question raises other issues such as the status of the Business Challenge. Has it been explained to PSCo that their company would have to make a significant contribution in terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy if they are to become a corporate sponsor? And has the Business Challenge been finalized? How many criteria must be met? (my recollection is that the last draft was quite vague about levels that need to be achieved for each item) I don't LIKE the idea of taking money from the polluters either BUT if they are willing to take the same steps toward efficiency that we'd expect from any other company, I believe we should consider accepting their sponsorship. My opinion is that the Business Challenge should truly be a challenge. This way, if a PSCo or other similar company signs on -- we will have a significant and newsworthy message to take to the media and other companies as an example of how things are changing (and how Earth Day can be a catalyst). This may mean we need to strengthen the Business Challenge. It also is possible that PSCo will back down if the Challenge is truly a challenge.

-- Anonymous, November 30, 1999

If Public Service meets the criteria established for corporate sponsors, then I do not see how you can exclude them. What I am wondering is what do you want to accomplish through Earth Day? If the point is to reach out and try to bring about change, then that is not going to happen with a "my way or the highway" attitude. If you want to exclude and criticize because a group does not fit every criteria on an agenda (which may be an unrealistic agenda at that) then I do not see how change will come.

Also, you might want to consider what the money will be used for and the cost/benefits of receiving the income and using it and not having it at all. It is important to remember that WindSource is a program of PSCo. It is not realistic to think that current energy supply should be 100% renewables. That is not to say that we don't need more, but be realistic in what you think can come about.

-- Anonymous, December 02, 1999

We should worry more about their intent and direction than what they have or have not done. I would suggest that 2-3 of us meet with Steve Daney at PSCO and just lay it out on the table. What I would like to hear from him is their plans for the future in general. If the vector is pointing in the right direction, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

-- Anonymous, December 03, 1999

I agree with Kevin. If Public Service meets the criteria we all voted on, then we should accept their sponsorship.

-- Anonymous, December 03, 1999

I am very concerned with this issue. I used PSC as an example since the beginning. I know the group knows where I stand on this. CoPIRG can not in any way be a part of an Earth Day that is allowing any polluting company to get good public relations for doing absolutely nothing. This will turn on it's ugly head and will become such a green washing campaign. I think we all need to think very hard on the issues of what this campaign is all about. We are supposed to be a part of the National Earth Day Network campaign. The Earth Day 2000 Clean Energy Agenda outlines common-sense ways to mobilize American ingenuity and resoureces for a rapid transition to renewable energy sources. Adopting it will eliminate waste, phase out fossil fuels and nuclear power, and help the United States lead the world into a sustainable energy future. CLean Air: Clean up our power plants by setting progressively tighter limits on all power plant pollution - including carbon dioxide, the major cause of global warming. Close the loophole that allows old coal-fired plants to pollute much more than newer plants.

Now with the consideration of PSC. They will not except this. If they do and are advocates of closing a 25 year old loophole that allows them to continue to pollute with their coal burning power plants we will have made history. I would love to see this. The contributions are supposed to be made and the companys and organizations can not dictate where these funds go. THis is what I remember Kelly stating at one of the meetings. I think we are walking a tight rope here and advise not to accepting monies from PSC. Thank you, Rex

-- Anonymous, December 03, 1999

Heidi has indeed challenged us all. I have very mixed feelings on this issue. I think we need to find the right response and certainly that should not be based on whether or not we get money from Public Service. We can survive without them, if we must. The right response is really what Jennifer said. The business challenge must be real and meaningful and also tailored to the company that takes the challenge. We must avoid leting Public Service use this as an endorsement for their support of Earth Day principles of New Energy for A New Era, unless they mean it. Our responsibility must be to our principles. We should examine our business challenge closely and see if it needs to be strengthened and what portions must be endorsed by Public Service to allow us to accept their funding offer. Or we should limit their support to just the solar program and clearly let them know that they will not be considered a sponsor of Colorado Earth Day.

I am not an advocate of exclusion. We will not be successful unless we find the right response to Public Service and find some way to encourage them to join with us. I know they can't phase out their coal burning plants next year, but are they committed to a path of renewable energy sources to replace these polluting and irreplaceable resources. This is what we need to determine. I like Steve Hauser idea. If we can make a real difference in the future direction of Public Service policies, we need to do so. In fact that is our obligation and our challenge!

-- Anonymous, December 05, 1999

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