Texas? It's almost a non-starter right there.
The part that doesn't make sense to me is why the city needs to compete with private utility companies for the best talent. Private utility companies charge more (see "Power Play: The Fight to Control the World's Electricity"), in part because of that expensive talent. According to Seattle City Light's most recent financial disclosures (2013), their profits are steadily rising. We just need someone that won't screw that up.
I'm no fan of natural gas as a goal, and hopefully we're weaned off it in my lifetime. But because of its cheap cost, quick start-up time, and how quickly it can adjust power production, it can be used as a means to expand wind, solar, and other variable-output renewables. For example, the big private renewable energy company based in Portland has about 1500MW of wind energy in the Northwest and more in California. That's about 1.5-million homes and businesses worth of power. Since the grid has to stay within 1% of balanced, the variation in energy output from the wind must be balanced by other sources. The company also has a 606MW natural gas plant in Klamath Falls that it uses to balance out wind energy production. If they're worried about un-sold wind increasing one hour (say, a cold front is coming) then they'll have the gas plant running at full and then bring it down as the wind comes up. The opposite is true if they're worried about already-sold wind energy (i.e. they've made a commitment to deliver energy): they bring up the gas plant as the wind comes off. Dams are even better than gas plants at balancing the grid, but we currently have more wind energy in the NW than can be balanced by dams. Without the gas, we would have much less wind energy. The main alternative to gas is coal, which is much worse; because of all the (balanced!) wind we've put on the grid in the NW, we're able to decommission coal. And the 606MW gas plant only uses a small fraction of the 606MW on average. It's there so that we can use more renewables.
So...RE #3, my question is...was the gas power plant installed in Austin to balance the huge amount of Texas wind energy and to allow for future expansion of renewables, or does this guy just not believe in (or care about) climate change?
I had hopes for Gonzalez, but she is getting pretty fucking annoying. First of all she mentions her lawyer/farmer background every chance she gets. Secondly, she seems to bring up latinos at every turn. She represents the whole city, not just latinos. She would do well to remember that.
In theory, public utilities are responsible to their rate-payers, but that's not always the case.

Regarding the putative connection between public utility executive compensation and competence, it's worth nothing that the General Manager of Snohomish County PUD is paid at least $337,000 per year plus bonuses, has been in that position for 10 years, but is currently presided over a billing fiasco that is causing financial havoc for many customers ...…

...and ramming a extremely expensive, visually-blighting, salmon blocking, technically cockamamie hydro facility on the the beautiful Skykomish River.…

I was also not pleased to hear about City Light's callous lack of public involvement in recent tree cutting incident in Ballard. Beautiful large trees were also summarily cut down on City Light property in my neighborhood where presumably contaminated soil was not an issue. City Light's mulish resistance to doing anything with surplus property other than sell it off to the highest bidder for development is also troubling at a time when Seattle has an affordable housing crisis and tens of thousands of people are moving here without commensurate expansion of parks, would could be built on some of these vacated parcels.

If Weis is going to act like a bucking bronco and dis our Council, maybe he should go back to Texas.

Since the issue of natural gas was raised it is important to provide a context:

New study shows U.S. may be responsible for up to '60% of the global growth of atmospheric…

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that methane, which the IPCC says is 84 times as potent as carbon dioxide over a 20-year period, was responsible for about 10% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from human activities in 2013. But previous studies have also found far higher levels of methane emissions than the agency's estimates, including a 2015 study by Robert Howarth, Cornell’s David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology.

"Methane emissions make it a disastrous idea to consider shale gas as a bridge fuel, letting society continue to use fossil fuels over the next few decades," Howarth said at the time. "Rather, we must move as quickly as possible away from all fossil fuels—shale gas, conventional natural gas, coal and oil—and toward a truly sustainable energy future using 21st-century technologies and wind and solar power."

As expected, Obama's "bridge to renewable energy" (natural gas) turns out to be business as usual.
@7 The clickable ink to the article should read 'New study shows U.S. may be responsible for up to '60% of the global growth of atmospheric methane seen in the past decade'
@8: You're limited in the number of characters that you can make hot. Instead, you can edit the into headline into clickbait lefties love, such as America's farting warms planet.
I have not met the new Superintendent, so I have no opinion of him. But this concern about a gas plant is laughable. City Light owns seven dams, which supply roughly half the power for Seattle. The other half comes from the BPA, a federal agency which provides publicly owned utilities with especially attractive pricing via long-term contracts. It's the sort of complete misunderstanding of the industry that Sawant thrives ont. Why they let her have oversight of the utility again is a mystery.

As for the salary: Everyone thought Jorge Carrasco did a rotten job. But for what they were paying, Jorge Carrasco is what you get. City Light has a long tradition of lackluster CEO's, in large part because of the dumb salaries they paid their Superintendents.

Jorge cleared out last year. The Department cannot go without a leader, despite whatever the energy committee thinks. If Sawant had a concern about this, she should have intervened earlier, not went for grandstanding.

Mudbaby dear - it's not "mulish resistance" that makes the utility sell off that land - it's the law. May I direct you to RCW 35.94…

Here's the money quote...

"Lease or sale of land or property originally acquired for public utility purposes.
Whenever a city shall determine, by resolution of its legislative authority, that any lands, property, or equipment originally acquired for public utility purposes is surplus to the city's needs and is not required for providing continued public utility service, then such legislative authority by resolution and after a public hearing may cause such lands, property, or equipment to be leased, sold, or conveyed. Such resolution shall state the fair market value or the rent or consideration to be paid and such other terms and conditions for such disposition as the legislative authority deems to be in the best public interest."

So perhaps it's the "legislative authority" you should be grumbling about.

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