High Gear Bulletin


Wednesday, May 29, 2024

High Gear Editor: Lisa Goldman

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Past President Marilyn Orr called the meeting to order at 12:26. She announced that President Cary Koh is playing golf in Bandon, Oregon today. We missed you, Cary!
Lisa Goldman led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Raul Pulido led the invocation. He mentioned that he attended the Hillsborough Memorial Day parade and enjoyed it. Raul is currently reading The Art of War by Sun Zhu. The book emphasizes the critical importance of knowing oneself and one’s enemy. The ancient Greeks also emphasized the importance of self-awareness for personal growth, strategic thinking, and success.
Sunshine Report:  Past President Marilyn let us know that former Burlingame Rotarian Rosalie McCloud passed away on Tuesday, May 28, in Southern California as a result of a heart attack. Rosalie was a member of Burlingame Rotary twice and moved to Southern California several years ago.
Guests of the club and visiting Rotarians:  Hillsborough Councilmember Leslie Ragsdale (guest of Christine Krolik), Burlingame Sustainability Program Manager Sigalle Michael (guest of Lisa Goldman), and CALL Primrose Executive Director Terri Boesch (guest of Jennifer Pence).
Announcements:  Past President Marilyn announced that next week’s meeting will be a joint meeting with the Lions Club on Thursday at Lions Hall. Please RSVP!
The Board is discussing changing the name of the club to Rotary Club of Burlingame/Hillsborough. The Board will poll the entire membership to see how people feel about the change. Discuss amongst yourselves, and don’t forget to respond to the poll!
Last Thursday, Jay Miller, President Cary Koh, Mark Heffernan, and Past President Marilyn attended the awards night at BHS to honor recipients of the various Rotary scholarships. The Club gives out College Incentive Scholarships, 4-year College Merit Scholarships, and Community College (MAD) scholarships.
On Memorial Day, a number of Rotarians rode in the circa 1952 vintage Recology Truck during the Hillsborough Memorial Day parade. Thanks for representing the Club!
Jennifer Pence announced that the Community Service Program committee recommended that three different nonprofits, including CALL Primrose, receive Club donations. CALL Primrose Executive Director Terri Boesch thanked the Club and talked about the organization.
She noted that what CALL Primrose does is not easy, but it’s simple. They feed people. They have been around for 41 years, starting as a telephone information/referral service. They became a drop-in location in 1984 and a 501(c)3 in 2014.
CALL Primrose serves anyone living in the area between Brisbane and San Carlos, including those two cities. Prior Rotary funding helped the organization buy refrigerators to better serve clients. The highest percentage of people served are in Burlingame and San Mateo. Clients can choose what they take home, empowering clients and cutting back on food waste. The organization relies 100% on grants and donations to maintain operations. They receive several pallets of pre-ordered food items as well as fresh produce from Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, which is having to cut back. Grocery stores also help provide food.
According to Terri, one in three people in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties doesn’t know where their next meal is coming from. 17% of San Mateo County children live in a food insecure household, while 36% of children qualify for free or reduced lunch. In 2019, CALL Primrose served about 34,000 people. Now, they serve about 74,000 people a year. The need continues to grow, so the organization really appreciates the Burlingame Rotary’s support. In response to a question about whether the organization screens their clients, Terri noted that they don’t ask people to provide documentation about their income. Clients self-report their income and household size. Call Primrose would rather give away food to people that don’t need it than make the barrier to entry too high for people who really need the help. Go to https://www.callprimrose.org/ to subscribe to the newsletter and make a donation!
Program:  Jennifer Pence introduced today’s speaker, Rafael Reyes with Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE). Rafael is responsible for strategy and implementation of PCE’s programs, aimed at increasing decarbonization of the service area. Rafael’s career includes 20 years in clean energy policies and programs as well as 15 years in high-tech project management, system architecture, and business consulting. Rafael was born in Peru, is fluent in Spanish, and has a Master’s degree in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and a dual computer science/anthropology undergraduate degree with honors from UC Santa Cruz.
Rafael began his presentation by acknowledging PCE Board Chair/Burlingame Rotarian/Burlingame Mayor Donna Colson. (Donna wears a lot of hats!)
PCE is San Mateo County’s not-for-profit locally led electricity provider. Its mission is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by expanding access to low carbon energy. The organization manages a portfolio of energy sources that provide energy to the service territory. They also have programs that offer rebates and other incentives. Board meetings are open to the public.
PCE provides electricity from clean energy sources at lower rates than those of PG&E. PG&E owns the power lines and delivers the power that PCE generates. PG&E sends the consolidated bill. Customers get one bill that shows generation services (PCE) and delivery and transmission services (PG&E). PCE is trying to keep electricity affordable. The recent increases folks have seen on their bills are due to increases in delivery charges from PG&E; PCE generation rates have remained flat.
Club members had a number of questions for Rafael:
      Will there be a resuscitation of nuclear      energy?
Nuclear energy is still in use in California and is greenhouse gas free. There are concerns about managing the waste. There’s a lot of research being done around small nuclear reactors that are probably safer. From a cost standpoint, nuclear is very expensive.
Future smart homes need more power than what they have now. PG&E’s distribution costs are so high. Can we get disconnected from PG&E?
For the past 10-15 years, US energy use has basically been flat, even though the economy has been growing. That means that there’s been enormous success at being efficient with energy use. That is starting to change with an uptick in demand—data centers for AI, streaming services, electrification of vehicles and homes, etc. Today, our energy system (with fossil fuels) wastes 2/3 of what it generates through heat. Across the board, we are wasting most of what we generate. Renewables are way more efficient. Disconnecting from the distribution grid may be possible over time, but even with solar, you are using the distribution system. There’s a lot that can be done on the policy level to better regulate rates.
Electricity bills are complicated. What percentage of electricity are we getting from PCE vs. PG&E?
The PG&E bill is complicated and a source of unending pain for everyone. It’s difficult to reform how the bill is structured. 98% of customers in San Mateo County are on PCE service. You aren’t receiving electrons generated by PG&E unless you opted out of PCE service.  Delivery rates are going up for a variety of reasons, including wildfire response. 
Is there a new kind of wire that delivery systems can use that’s twice as efficient?
Rafael has read recent articles about work at Lawrence Berkeley Lab. It’s possible to put transmission wires that will conduct more electricity on the same poles. PCE is looking at what they can do to improve homes and decarbonize more within existing capacity.
What is the background of the PCE staff?
The team includes program people with expertise in electric vehicles and solar storage. There is also a marketing team and account services staff who manage accounts and respond to customer inquiries.
The grid is incredibly vulnerable. What’s being done to modernize and harden it?
Cybersecurity is a very real issue. Efforts are underway around security protocols.
Net Energy Metering (NEM) is a large point of contention for solar owners. NEM is the process by which solar panel owners get compensated for solar power they are generating.
Under NEM 2.0 (the old system), if you’re not using all of the solar power you’re generating, the excess goes to the grid, and you get credit for the excess. You are compensated at the retail rate. Under the new system, NEM 3.0, compensation is now at a much lower wholesale rate. The reason for this new CPUC rule is that the state is getting too much power in the middle of the day and not enough at other times. NEM 3.0 is supposed to incentivize adding storage so that you don’t use as much energy when you’re not generating power. The Legislature may make changes to NEM 3.0, and the costs of battery storage should go down at some point in the future.
Donna Colson thanked Rafael and his team. She noted that PCE has built up a reserve account that is being used to reinvest in the community. Burlingame is getting $540,000 to help decarbonize our community. CALL Primrose clients got rebate checks at Christmas. PCE is focused on equity in addition to electrification.
Past President Marilyn closed out the meeting after thanking Rafael and presenting him with a certificate noting that Burlingame Rotary is donating polio doses in his name.
Jun 12, 2024 12:15 PM
What's New in San Mateo County?
What's New in San Mateo County?

As County Executive Officer, Mike Callagy oversees the efficient running of daily County operations and carries out policies established by the Board of Supervisors. Mike joined the County in 2013 as a Deputy County Manager and was named Assistant County Manager in April 2016. In November 2018, he assumed the role of County Manager after being appointed by the Board of Supervisors. In this role, Mike has made ending homelessness a key priority and has deemed 2022 “The Year of Working Together to End Homelessness.”  
Mike has more than 37 years of public sector service experience. Before joining the County, Mike spent 29 years with the San Mateo Police Department where he ran day-to-day operations as the deputy police chief until his retirement. He is a licensed attorney in the state of California and in addition to his law degree from Santa Clara University, holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master’s in public administration from the College of Notre Dame and a Master’s in homeland defense and security from the Naval Postgraduate School.
A San Mateo County native, he lives in Foster City with his family.

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View entire list
Member Birthdays
Mike Kimball
June 2
Peter Comaroto
June 7
Jennifer Pence
June 18
Mike Heffernan
June 25
Joe La Mariana
Terri Baldocchi
June 30