Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 18, 2010

SunCal and solar power

Unfortunately, given that Tuesday’s meeting was seven hours long.

Yes, seven. hours. long.

Something was wonky with the system of uploading it to the internet so the video feed was not online when I wrote this and by the time it went up I didn’t have a spare seven hours to listen to it.

Fortunately, Michele Ellson loaded up on just enough caffeine to stay up long enough to hear the update from SunCal about their plans for Alameda Point and what they intend to do moving forward.   The big takeaways from Michele’s report was that :

  • SunCal intends to file something by the deadline to “correct” the deficiencies that the City claims are in their Optional Entitlement Agreement
  • SunCal is poised to call the City (and City Council’s ) bluff regarding the release of project financial documents, like the pro forma, which would give everyone an idea of how much it costs in cold hard cash to develop Alameda Point
  • SunCal has managed to get the labor unions on board with the project now, which was of great concern to some of the City Council members during the Measure B campaign, from Michele’s report:

Leaders of two local trade unions – which paid thousands of dollars to help defeat Measure B, SunCal’s development initiative for Alameda Point but which now have a signed project labor agreement with the developer – stayed past 2 a.m. today to ask the council to work with SunCal to try to make a development deal for the Point.

“SunCal has created a team to move forward, to do something at the base,” said Andrew Slipka, a representative for Alameda County’s carpenters union. “The game is not over yet.”

So it appears that as long as the SunCal submission on Monday is deemed to be acceptable by City staff — and given the attitude of key City staff in the past, I’m sure the application will be carefully combed over for any deficiencies to pounce on.

The most interesting item was the tidbit about who SunCal has brought on board as part of their development team.   The news that former Speaker of the  State Assembly Robert Hertzberg is actively being courted to be part of the development team is a biggie.  Both politically big (if you are a democrat and everyone knows that being a democrat is fairly standard if you want to win any seat in Alameda) and business wise big considering the projects that  Mr. Hertzberg is currently involved with.    He currently is co-founder of G24 Innovations which, according to Wikipedia:

…produces a new type of lightweight and flexible solar cell that generates power in low, ambient and even indoor conditions. G24i has won numerous awards in recent years: in January 2008, CNBC European Business chose the company as one of its “Top 100 Low-Carbon Pioneers and The Guardian (UK) named Hertzberg as one of the “50 People Who Could Save the Planet.” G24 is also the recipient of the “NESTA Rushlight Award” (for leading British achievement in the environmental field) as well as winning the World Bank’s “Award for Lighting Africa.

However, according to the Wikipedia article, the company is currently located in Wales, however, there are plans to expand to the United States and if Mr. Hertzberg is involved with the development teams, it wouldn’t be a far stretch to speculate that rather than expanding first to Silicon Valley, the company might consider expanding first to Alameda Point.

Seriously, as long as Alameda doesn’t muck it up somehow, if we could secure a company like G24 Innovations that would be a huge “anchor” that could draw companies doing similar work and it could potentially provide a diversity of jobs (white, blue, green collar) to Alameda and Alamedans.


  1. Wow Lauren — that is good news (if it comes to pass)… maybe I’ll actually work IN Alameda … someday! 🙂

    That said, EVERYBODY has a solar cell dream these days. It’s all about whomever hits the magic efficiency window of u=0.4. Whomever gets there first in volume will be the new GE.

    Comment by Dave S. — March 18, 2010 @ 7:39 am

  2. “(if you are a democrat and everyone knows that being a democrat is fairly standard if you want to win any seat in Alameda)”

    “Seriously, as long as Alameda doesn’t muck it up somehow,…”

    ….go together like a horse and carriage…

    Comment by Jack Richard — March 18, 2010 @ 8:45 am

  3. @2, earth to Jack: remember the mission accomplished years of 2000-2008?

    Comment by alameda — March 18, 2010 @ 11:03 am

  4. Earth to bubble. Now I suppose you’ll declare that the mission was accomplished by Obama.

    Comment by Jack Richard — March 18, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

  5. 8 years of Bush crap can’t be cleaned up in 1+ year … in any event, we’re veering off the main topic of this blog post. Let’s talk later once you’re back on earth 🙂

    Comment by alameda — March 18, 2010 @ 12:16 pm

  6. Lauren–

    You seem to have an inside track on some of this… you know who SunCal brought with them to the city council meeting?

    Their speaker said SunCal had a new “team” working on Alameda Point. Then he said SunCal is all for transparency, but could not discuss the financial arrangements of D.E.Shaw.

    Ann Marie Gallant asked him to introduce this new team and looked towards the men in suits in the audience.

    He went on to talk about other things, but ignored Ms. Gallant’s request for introductions.

    Do you know (or can you find out)who those men were?

    Comment by RM — March 18, 2010 @ 2:00 pm

  7. RM: Michele Ellson reported on the inclusion of Robert Hertzberg as a potential member of the development team. I just did the Googling to uncover what he’s been up to.

    I’ll ask for a list of names of the new development team though, I’ll post if I get an answer.

    Comment by Lauren Do — March 18, 2010 @ 2:17 pm

  8. Someone that was at the City Council meeting Tuesday night/Wednesday morning confirmed that Robert Hertzberg was in the audience with the SunCal contingent along with Pat Keliher.

    Comment by Lauren Do — March 18, 2010 @ 3:47 pm

  9. Why do we let public meetings go on into the night. They should end at 11pm. and if needed they should be continued. These a

    Comment by John Piziali — March 18, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

  10. sorry hit the wrong key.

    these are “PUBLIC” meetings and should be conducted when the public is awake and can hear them. If our public officials happen to be windbags and want to go on and on then they can come back the next day and continue.

    Comment by John Piziali — March 18, 2010 @ 5:07 pm

  11. #8 Gosh—I was there until 3 a.m. also, and heard the SunCal spokesman talk about Hertzberg. I know Keliher was there.

    I wonder why, after proclaiming SunCal is for transparency, the spokesman did not introduce the “new members of their team” who were present at the meeting.

    Comment by RM — March 18, 2010 @ 9:56 pm

  12. If the City Council had had the courage to place the AP density amendment on the ballot in 2007/8, instead of pushing its responsibilities onto a developer (which was clearly not as skilled at governance), perhaps we would not be facing such lengthy meetings.

    Maybe we would be looking forward to redeveloping Alameda Point in a green and sustainable way rather than bickering over SunCal’s compliance with an antiquated and counterproductive 1970s charter amendment.

    SunCal is not the only party responsible for Tuesday’s/Wednesday’s meeting running until 3 AM. And the City Council’s failure of leadership
    in changing the charter’s density caps is a huge contributor to the current debacle. (So is the Interim City Manager, in my opinion, but that may be another discussion…)

    It is very convenient to blame the evil, black-hatted developer for all of Alameda’s ills, but the real villains may be some of the ones we voted for–and the carpetbagger they hired.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — March 19, 2010 @ 1:11 am

  13. RM: I just watched the portion you referred to. The SunCal rep did introduce the new members: Robert Hertzberg and himself, Frank Faye.

    Those were the only “new” members that were in the audience so even though the ICM incorrectly thought that a “new” team meant a completely fresh new set of people, Frank Faye clarified that some of the old members of the development team would remain. As you were there, you will probably remember that Frank Faye the SunCal rep said that they were working to bring more folks on board.

    Comment by Lauren Do — March 19, 2010 @ 11:57 am

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