PG&E CEO Peter Darbee, at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s Energy Summit at Stanford on Friday, told us that he was “concerned” about the plan unveiled last week by oil baron T. Boone Pickens to get the U.S. off oil. While reducing foreign oil consumption is the right thing to do, he said, the idea of replacing foreign oil with natural gas is a problematic one.
First of all, Darbee said, there isn’t that much domestic natural gas to go around, and the foreign natural gas providers are the same ones that currently provide us with oil. And from a national security perspective, converting our cars to natural gas wouldn’t change our energy-based security issues, he said; electric cars and hydrogen-based cars are a better alternative.
Darbee also said he’s becoming increasingly worried about the investment tax credit, which provides funds for up to 30 percent of the cost of a solar or wind system and is set to expire by the end of the year. As the Chronicle recently noted, PG&E has signed contracts with developers including several solar thermal companies that may put their projects on hold if the ITC is not extended. If the companies abandon their projects, PG&E would be left scrambling to meet the state renewable portfolio standard, which says the California utility must have 20 percent of its power from renewable energy by the end of 2010.