There is a growing trend with cities in the US to switch and use renewable energy. While some cities pledge to do 20 – 30%, Bay Area cities like San Francisco, San Jose, San Rafael and Palo Alto all implemented a plan to go 100% renewable energy. Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco says, “We know that we are in a national city, popular city, but we also want to be a city that contributes to the challenges of climate changes and improves our world… If we can do that here, I suggest that we can do that anywhere.”
Each of these Bay Area cities have joined an organization called Go100Percent.org in a global effort to join other regions, cities, communities, businesses to prove that going 100% renewable energy can be a reality. Eliminating the dependance from green house gases, helps to eliminate the harmful affects this causes for our environment; the air we breathe, the water we drink and the beautiful surroundings we cherish.
Here is what our local cities are trying to achieve:
Goal: 100% Renewable power by 2030
Summary: In 2010, former Mayor Gavin Newsom, announced an initiative to go 100% renewable power by 2020, thanks to a grant from the Sidney Frank Foundation to develop a plan that supports the city’s goal to go carbon neutral. Currently Mayor Lee set up a Mayoral Task Force, headed by the San Francisco Environment Department to develop six strategies to get to 100% renewable:
1. Shrink the pie with increased energy efficiency by promoting energy audits through local and state programs, and integrating green building code energy requirements
2. Encourage local renewable energy, in order to reduce transmission needs, improves local energy security, and keeps the city’s energy dollars in the local economy.
3. Break down barriers for tenants, which make up more than 60% of SF citizens, and expand access to local renewables, in order to democratize the local renewable energy economy and support local economic development.
4. Provide 100% renewable power purchasing options by implementing a community choice aggregation program, such as CleanPowerSF.
5. Encourage private sector investment in renewable energy by expanding and reducing the cost of clean energy financing, by supporting crowd funding, and project aggregation group buys.
6. Expand access to local renewable energy to the community with CleanPowerSF. The city developed a program called CleanPowerSF, a community choice aggregation program. This helps to deliver clean energy to residents and businesses. Mayor Lee states, “”That participation means we’re actually paying our local public utilities commission to source my energy in the right way,” said Lee. “And then I’ll add to that by putting a solar array on to my rooftop, and hopefully contribute through the credit program, other solar array programs, where we’ll actually help build the industry by our own contribution.” To learn more about CleanPowerSF, click here.
Summary: The 100% renewable electricity plan is part of a 10 point “green vision,” which also includes 50% energy use reduction, 100,000 new trees, 100% wastewater recycling, zero emissions streetlights, 25,000 new clean tech jobs, and 100% of public vehicles running on alternative fuels.
Goal: 100% Renewable power by 2020
Summary: In 2010, Marin Clean Energy (MCE) launched California’s first Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program, which by law allows cities and counties to aggregate the buying power of individual customers to secure alternative energy supply contracts.
Goal: 100% Renewable power Achieved by 2013
Summary: On July 22, 2013, the City Council voted to make the city’s electricity supply 100% renewable effective immediately. The plan is for this to come from 50% hydropower, with the remainder coming from electricity purchased by the city, which is generated by wind farms, solar arrays, and renewable gas captured from landfills. If all Palo Alto’s electric needs cannot be supplied directly by these renewable sources, the city utilities will buy RECs to offset the non-renewable power it uses.
Progress like this is going to take time. Going 100% renewable energy is a goal we all must work together to achieve. First step is regulation through our government, but we all must do our part as a community, so we can provide a brighter, cleaner, green future ahead.
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