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Letter: "Napa Pipe is Bad for Students"

Napa Valley College student Alex Shantz urges the college board of trustees not to support the plan to develop Napa Pipe for homes and businesses. The board meets Wednesday night.

As a young adult and Napa Valley College student, I have several concerns with the Napa Pipe project and the idea of the board of trustees supporting it.

As former president of the Associated Students of Napa Valley College, I played a part in developing the college’s 2011 to 2014 strategic plan. The current Napa Pipe project could have potential ramifications for the college’s strategic plan and its mission.

My concerns with Napa Pipe as it relates to Napa Valley College are as follows:

• Traffic is already a huge issue on the Napa-Vallejo Highway. Napa Pipe could severely increase traffic on the highway, which would significantly impact students driving from Vallejo and American Canyon to Napa Valley College.

• I understand there has been discussion between Napa Pipe developers and college representatives concerning opportunities for training, partnerships, and classes on-site. However, I do not recall seeing these aspects of the project included in the Napa Pipe proposal as it appeared before the Napa County Planning Commission.

Because of this, and because Napa Pipe is such a controversial issue, it seems inappropriate for Napa Valley College to support Napa Pipe before it’s even been approved by the Napa County Board of Supervisors.

• Rezoning Napa Pipe from industrial to residential will eliminate future possibilities for industrial jobs. California community colleges are being required to severely restrict their purposes. One of their purposes is to train and prepare students for the workforce.

Napa Valley College could better carry out its mission to enhance workforce development by partnering with companies or public agencies using Napa Pipe for industrial purposes.

For example, Napa Pipe could be used as a renewable energy production and distribution center. This could create educational opportunities through partnerships with Napa Valley College to prepare students for careers in green technologies.

Such an idea would support the college’s 2011 to 2014 strategic plan, which calls for the college to “provide programs that prepare students for careers in emerging industries and occupations including green technology applications” (2.2).

In conclusion, I urge the Napa Valley College board of trustees to reject the resolution to support the Napa Pipe project.

Napa Pipe is bad for students. It will increase traffic, eliminate future jobs, and limit opportunities for the college to carry out its mission and strategic plan.

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Timothy Lal December 14, 2012 at 07:24 AM
It would support itself like any power plant would, selling energy to residents and business in the local area. If we invested in the new oxidized copper panels that would be less expensive and less wasteful than using silicon based panels and from what I read also generate more energy and also be more durable. I believe that if the energy was sold at half the cost of fossil fuel energy the project would still be able to pay for itself in years to come. If the panels were raised farther above ground than what annual flooding would occur than I think that any potential detriment could be avoided. USS your idea of having an industry at the location has merit especially if the territory was covered with panels that would serve a dual purpose. The amount the panels would produce would cover the energy needs of the facility and then some, excess sold to the surrounding locals. Most of the initial starting costs would be through tax payer subsidies like any project that is pushed through coupled with the land owners investment. (which seems like a crooked practice as the land owner typically gets to reap the benefits of profits yet the taxpayer has to put in an investment into someone else's thing, but whatever. I need to learn a lot more about how that works there might be some things I am not understanding on that) We receive a large amount of sunlight throughout the year and it would be great if we got a majority of our energy supplied through a renewable source
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau December 14, 2012 at 07:58 AM
Timothy, one major flaw why your idea will not work: There is no energy grid to transport the power from the source to the consumer. Everything is owned by PG&E and the P.U.C. will not allow any community to build a secondary grid. I have tried to fight PG&E and I would rather take on the Chinese army than ever do that again.
Catherine George December 14, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau ~ What is there to prevent use of the existing grid which carries our electricity now? Why couldn't that be used?
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau December 14, 2012 at 05:12 PM
It is the property of PG&E, and they are not going to let any competition use their grid without extensive terms and expensive cost. If you have solar on your roof and it produces more electricity than you use, PG&E doesn't pay you for providing extra, they just take it and still charge you for using their meter.
Catherine George December 14, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Thanks - but actually, PG&E does pay you for the electricity you produce on your roof. PG&E gives you credits for that electricity; http://www.pge.com/myhome/saveenergymoney/solarenergy/nembilling/ In any case, my point is that there is an existing grid. No need to build another one, if the existing one can handle the capacity. I'm sure we could find out from checking into other solar projects to see how PG&E handles this sort of thing.

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