NEXT MEETING: July 26, 2013

Contra Costa's Climate Action Plan

Patrick Roche of our county’s Climate Action Group will describe steps our County is proposing in its effort to curb the emission of greenhouse gasses (GHC). The Plan identifies specific measures on how the County can achieve a GHG reduction target of 15% below baseline levels by the year 2020. It also proposes policies and actions to improve public health and provide additional community benefits, and lays the groundwork for achieving long-term greenhouse reduction goals for 2020 and 2035.

For more information, see the County website page on its Climate Action Plan.

MEETING OF July 19th 2013


Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Our new lady President Liliane Koziol welcomed everyone to La Strada and started the meeting without the aid of the Rotary Bell. (Later this week, Liliane shared a few pictures of her official induction in Woodland, California, July 13th. She wasn’t alone.)

The pledge was lead by Lesa McIntosh, a new scribe, without the aid of a flag; and the invocation was given by Herb Cole. The thought for the day was offered by yours truly, Alan Blavins: “No matter how hard you push the envelope, it will still be stationery.”

Rotarians with Guests

David Keystone guest was Gerald Olivas.
Charlie Fender had 2 guests including our speaker, Bill Day. We apologize for missing the name of Charlie’s other guest.

Sunshine Report

A card was circulated for signing and wishing Michelle Itagaki a fast recovery from her recent hip surgery.


Nick Despota asked everyone to complete the Flywheel survey, aimed at determing which sections are most frequently read. To date, only 12 Richmond Rotary members have taken the survey. Not a very strong showing. Please take a few minutes now to give us information that will help us tailor the Flywheel to your interests, and modify the scribing duties in ways that ensure members will volunteer to perform this club service in the future. [I second that! -Alan Blavins]

If you haven’t taken the survey already, please do it now.

Alan Bear announced he is having a fund raising Poker Night August 16th at 6:00pm ($50 buy-in) all procides go towards John Nicol Scholarship Fund. Although 32 have signed up, there is still room for members wishing to go the A’s game and tailgate party on August 31st. Go A’s.

Josh Surowitz reminded everyone of  our “The Mixer with the Chamber of Commerce” on Thursday August 8th ,5-7 at the Richmond Golf & Country Club.
This is our biggest opportunity for meeting and greeting potential new members. We need a good showing from our club (bring lots of guests) Josh is expecting 30-50 or so from the Chamber and the club is providing food for 75-100 people. Mark your calendars!


Doris Mitchell is having a birthday on the 20th. No number was mentioned.
Herb Cole fessed to be a member for 21 years, and Nick Despota, far behind him, at 9 years
• Josh Surowitz celebrated their 9th wedding anniversary in Spain with all his family But couldn’t remember what they did. I’m sure his wife Emily could remind him.
• La Strada was thanked for providing food for the RotaCare Clinic staff.

Happy and Sad Dollars

David Brown had sad dollars for the passing of his Temple’s cantor. But had happy dollars for his new “winged Rotary pin”. He is now a fully paid up member of The Flying Rotary’s. He was also happy about his recent trip to Alaska.

Jim Young had happy dollars for being able, through Skype, to talk to peace minded Rotarians all across the world.

Norm’s Nonsense

Mama Stork, Papa Stork, and Baby Stork sat down to dinner and Mama said, “What did you do today, Papa?”
Papa said, “I was out making someone very happy.”
Mama said, “I was out making someone very happy, too. What were you doing, Baby?”
And Baby Stork said, “I was out scaring the crap out of college students.”


Electric Power Generation in California

Our speaker was Bill Day, president of Longveiw Energy Associates. He is an engineer and an expert on co-generation, and the retired manager of General Electric’s co-gen manufacturing division.

Bill began his talk by noting the sources of electric power in California. A few interesting facts:

Electric Power Generation in California

• California produces 70% of the electricity it uses

• The rest is imported from the US Southwest (20%) and Pacific Northwest (10%)

• Natural gas is the largest source of in-state power (45%)

Technical challenges & Economic Challenges

• 200,000 gigawatt-hours produced in-state

• 32,000 miles of transmission lines

Bill then went on to explain how gas and steam turbines create power for the grid using

California’s  Natural Gas source. Power is also produced in-state using all the sources available. These are: Wind, Solar, Small hydro, Large Hydro, Nuclear, Geothermal, Boimass and Coal.

The goal is to produce 13,600 MW from wind and solar by 2020. (we need a little help from mother nature for this to happen. Let’s hope she keeps shinning on us)

Challenges in Achieving 33% Renewables by 2020 

California’s Main Challenge Ensure adequate electricity supplies while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 33% by 2020. The loading order to meet electricity demand:

•  Meet the demand – i.e. no blackouts

•  Energy efficiency

•  Renewable resources

• Clean and efficient natural gas-fired power plants.

Bill then pointed out that California’s Push for Renewable Energy Will Raise Prices which will cause many problems for the state’s competitiveness. A new report released by the Pacific Research Institute finds that California’s 33 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS) will trigger a substantial rise in energy costs for the state by 2020. The report estimates that the mandate will cost California approximately $5 billion in 2020: $1 billion is transmission, $500 million is backup power and $3.5 billion is generating power through

Non-hydroelectric Renewable Resources

• The overall cost of the mandate will increase with consumption and it equates to an implicit tax of 27 percent

• Compared with the United States, which includes the high cost energy markets of Alaska and Hawaii, California energy costs are already 53 percent higher.

What can you do to meet coming higher electricity prices?

• Rooftop solar panels can be profitable, if you have enough south-facing roof without obstructions

• In 2011 Bill installed enough solar panels to reduce his external reliance on 50% of the kilowatt hours per month

• This reduced his energy bill by 70% each month.

• If electricity prices increase, he will save even more

Bill then gave an example on how others have succeeded:

• In April 2013, 52% of Germany’s electric power consumption was supplied from renewable sources

• They kept the grid stable by making more than 100% of their electric power in-country, including a lot of coal-fueled plants. They exported most of the coal-fueled power.


• 70% of our electric power is produced in-state

• Gas turbines are the largest source of in-state power production

• The gas turbine industry can now respond quickly and efficiently to rapid fluctuations in power demand

• CA’s challenges are to keep the grid stable and efficient, and coping with the high costs, of 33% renewables by 2020

• Watch out for higher electricity prices

Bill’s presentation was followed by a sprited flow of questions and answers on the properties of household solar panels. The talk was not all hot air. It is a subject that affects all of us.

- Alan Blavins, Rotating Scribe