solar.jpgState Sen. Leland Yee has introduced clean-energy legislation that could save taxpayers millions of dollars, his chief of staff said today.

The bill would require public agencies to use a competitive bidding process for energy-related projects, Yee spokesman Adam Keigwin said.

Yee said the legislation would lead to more solar projects and more jobs, Keigwin said.
“This is a boon for environmental protection,” he said.

Current state law exempts energy projects from the competitive bidding requirements that other construction projects follow.

“Without a competitive bidding process we can never ensure that the public is getting the best value,” Yee said in a statement.

A competitive bidding process would open the market to smaller contractors and minority- and women-owned companies, he said.

It would give everyone a fair shot, and public agencies could make the best decision for the taxpayers, Keigwin said.

Keigwin cited last year’s no-bid contract between Oakland’s Peralta Community College District and Chevron Energy Solutions, which came about after Chevron donated thousands of dollars to the district’s foundation.

Using a competing company could have saved the district $1.5 million, and they could have used more efficient solar panels, he said.

The new legislation would ensure that there are no deals being made behind closed doors, Keigwin said.

“I would hope no business would be fearful of an open, transparent, and competitive bidding process,” he said.

Erika Heidecker, Bay City News

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