City signs agreement with renewable energy developer
Carson City signed a contract with a California developer Thursday giving the company exclusive rights to lure renewable energy providers to the region.
The program is billed as a “job creation program” and not meant to save the city money on energy costs, officials said. The contract agreement passed the Board of Supervisors unanimously, though some members said they had lingering concerns about the deal.
“I have a certain amount of trepidation, but I think the positives outweigh the negatives,” said Mayor Ray Masayko.
Princeton Development Corp., based in California, signed the agreement shortly after noon. The company was chosen through a bidding process by city staff to develop renewable energy projects in the Carson region.
Supervisors first considered the contract two weeks ago, but handed it back to staff to iron out details. Princeton Chairman Steve Taber said Masayko’s comments Thursday were “right on.”
“They made the right decision to clarify (the contract),” Taber said.
Princeton officials plan to open a Carson City office and set up a Web site to educate the public and possible investors about the region’s renewable energy possibilities.
The company also plans to start recruiting surrounding government agencies and private businesses to join the effort so the total power needs will grow, giving the company a marketable product to entice investors.
“This is a long-term program with the ability to bring manufacturers to the area,” Taber said.
Announcements will be made soon about the project, said Jeneane Harter, president of HiTech Communications who is working with Princeton.
Masayko said he wanted people to understand that he knew the contract would tie the city and its promise to buy renewable energy from Princeton projects for up to 10 years. The city is bound by the contract to buy renewable energy from one of the company’s projects or compensate Princeton for development costs if the city chooses to buy power from a similar project from a renewable power company.
If the city does not choose to approve of any projects delivered by Princeton, it can opt to stay with Sierra Pacific Power Co. and not be obligated to pay the private company back for any of its costs.
City officials said they do not expect to save money on energy costs and may end up paying more for energy with the understanding that the industry will bring jobs and manufacturing to the city. The higher costs, some consider, would be considered a subsidy.
“This is a way to subsidize job creation with the cost we pay for energy,” Masayko said.
Supervisor Richard Staub said he was also cautious about the agreement.
“I support it with some trepidation in hopes it all comes out to the benefit of the folks in Carson City,” Staub said.
Princeton Development has experience in similar energy development projects in California.