Around Town | March 9, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - March 9, 2012

Around Town

A 'CLEAN' SLATE ... Palo Alto officials were buzzing with excitement Monday about the city's latest green-energy initiative — a new program that allows local companies to install solar panels and then sell energy to the city's Utilities Department. Councilman Pat Burt called the program a fulfillment of the community's desire for energy that is both very clean and competitive when it comes to rates. Utilities Advisory Commission Chair Jonathan Foster agreed, calling the program "the right thing" at "the right time" for Palo Alto. Councilman Larry Klein also said he was "very enthusiastic" about the program, despite his prior misgivings about its name. Initiatives of this sort are common in Europe, where they go by the clunky, vague and (to the layman) generally meaningless title of "feed-in tariff" programs. In an impressive feat of reverse engineering and a robust debate at the utilities commission, the city's program was christened "Palo Alto CLEAN," which stands for "Clean Local Energy Accessible Now." The advisory commission had actually preferred the name "PaloAltoGreen Local Energy Program," but the council ultimately went with CLEAN. Klein said the acronym that the city adopted isn't perfect but is much easier to explain to people than "feed-in tariff." "I'm hoping by doing this we can abolish references to 'feed-in tariff' because no one understands what it means," Klein said.

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