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Marin Clean Energy was part of the focus of the Business Journal's Impact Marin Conference 2010. Download presentations from the event.

MARIN COUNTY --  Supporters and opponents of the controversial Marin Energy Authority Community Choice Aggregation, or CCA, proposal will face off at the fourth-annual Impact Marin conference sponsored by the Business Journal March 11.

Dawn Weisz, principal planner for the Marin County Community Development Committee, will speak in support of the Marin Energy Authority not-for-profit public agency heading up implementation of a system that will permit cities and the county to purchase electricity for residents and businesses.

Former Assemblymember and PG&E consultant Joe Nation will be representing the Common Sense Coalition, an organization formed in opposition to this plan.

The Marin Energy Authority is proposed to be the agency providing the renewable energy alternative through the Marin Clean Energy program.

The authority was created in December 2008 to address climate change by attempting to reduce energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. Also, the authority intends to address issues relating to securing energy supply, price stability and energy efficiencies.

According to the MEA Web site, it is the intent of MEA to promote the development of a wide range of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency programs including, but not limited to, solar and wind energy production at competitive rates for customers.

“It allows electric consumers to choose non-polluting renewable energy, lower Marin's greenhouse gas emissions, reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels, foster development of local green power generation and clean technologies, and protect our homes and businesses from uncertain fuel prices,” according to the site.

Mr. Nation said proponents have not adequately addressed the program's risks.

“I think this is a very risky business. It is complex and complicated,” he said.

He argues that the program should be an “opt-in” program, not an "opt-out" to give residents more control over their energy bill.

He also said that the environmental benefits may not be as large as suggested.

California Assembly Bill 117, passed in 2002, gave cities and counties the authority to procure electricity on behalf of customers within their jurisdictions.

Under this plan, PG&E would deliver the electricity to customers and would continue to read the electric meters and issue monthly bills to customers.

Unlike traditional utility service, the source of the electric supply and the price paid by customers for the generation services procured by the CCA program would be determined locally. Customers would have the choice of being automatically enrolled in the Marin Clean Energy program or remaining with PG&E.

In addition to the clean energy discussion, the conference will include a panel that will address the ongoing public fiscal crisis, the current economic environment and business strategies to meet today's challenges.

The panel will consist of Russ Colombo, president and CEO of Bank of Marin; Steve Jannicelli, senior manager of business consulting of Moss Adams; and Marin County Administrator Matthew Hymel .

The event will be held Thursday, March 11 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in San Rafael. Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the program runs from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Tickets are $39 per person or $390 for a table of 10 and include continental breakfast.

To register, contact Linda Perkins at 707-521-5264 or events@busjrnl.com or visit www.NorthBayBusinessJournal.com.

Registration closes March 5.