News & Updates
Browse news stories on local climate and energy action in California, or updates relevant to California local governments.
U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) on November 4 approved the Genesis Solar Energy Project, a 250-megawatt facility in California that will use parabolic trough solar thermal technology to produce clean energy. The project, the seventh on U.S. public lands, is expected to power 75,000–187,500 homes and generate 1,085 jobs at peak construction, along with 50 permanent positions. Proposed by Genesis Solar LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, the facility will be located on nearly 1,950 acres of public land near Riverside County, California. The project's parabolic trough technology uses rows of parabolic mirrors that focus solar energy on collector tubes. The tubes carry heated oil to a boiler, which sends live steam to a traditional steam turbine generator, which produces electricity. DOI's decision authorized the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to offer Genesis Solar a right-of-way grant to use the public lands for 30 years if all rents and other conditions are met. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's payments in lieu of tax credits for specified energy program, Genesis Solar can apply for payments of up to 30% of the eligible costs of the project, about $300 million. See the DOI press release and the Genesis fact sheet.
California voters gave AB 32 and clean energy a strong vote of confidence last Tuesday by resoundingly rejecting Proposition 23. Close to 4.5 million people voted against Proposition 23 – more than voted for or against any other item on the ballot. No on 23 got more votes than the winning candidates for governor or US Senate or Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court (who was unopposed). Even counties that voted for Republican candidates voted against Proposition 23, including Butte County, home to the initiative’s author, Assemblyman Dan Logue from Chico. Proposition 23’s defeat was an undeniable victory for environmental and public health advocates and clean energy proponents.
However, the lesser-known and poorly understood Proposition 26 squeaked by under the radar. The measure’s vague language and broad sweep have led many to ask: how will it impact AB 32?
New National Model Energy Code Will Boost the Energy Efficiency of Home and Commercial Building Construction by Historic 30% Levels
Energy Efficient Codes Coalition
For Immediate Release
Nov. 1, 2010
Energy Consuming Public the Beneficiary as Governmental Officials Substantially Improve International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)
CHARLOTTE, NC, November 1, 2010 – “The votes that will have the most profound impact on national energy and environmental policy this year were not held in Washington or a state capital, but by governmental officials assembled by the International Code Council (ICC) in Charlotte, NC,” said William Fay, Executive Director of the broad-based Energy Efficient Codes Coalition (EECC).
The ICC votes to improve the efficiency of the next edition of America’s model energy code governing home and commercial building construction, additions and renovations will most likely achieve the 30% boost sought by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of State Energy Officials, governors, lawmakers and EECC. "This 30% increase in building efficiency, coming just days before the elections, is a winning outcome for all Americans,” said Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy. "It's clear by their overwhelming votes that building officials across the U.S. recognize that we can lock in significant energy savings for generations to come by making efficiency improvements at construction or renovation, when they’re cheapest and easiest."
“Reducing wasted energy from the nation’s largest single user – our homes and commercial buildings, which consume nearly half of our energy – was the byword of the nearly 500 state and local government representatives who spent five days of rigorous hearings to evaluate and pass judgment on hundreds of proposals to improve (or weaken) the IECC’s residential and commercial chapters,” Fay added. “The ICC is to be congratulated for the tremendous efforts of its members to finish this code and achieve substantial energy efficiency.”
An Integrated, “Whole Building” Approach to Improving Efficiency in Homes and Commercial Building Construction
Comprehensive proposals offered by the US Department of Energy, working with many other stakeholders, addressed all aspects of residential and commercial building construction, laying a strong foundation for residential efficiency gains and leading commercial building efficiency improvements. To meet the 30% goal in the residential code, voting delegates added a number of improvements to DOE’s foundation from EECC’s comprehensive package, “The 30% Solution 2012” and other stakeholder proposals. The resulting residential improvements will:
· Ensure that new homes are better sealed to reduce heating and cooling losses,
· Improve the efficiency of windows and skylights,
· Increase insulation in ceilings, walls, and foundations,
· Reduce wasted energy from leaky heating and cooling ducts,
· Improve hot-water distribution systems to reduce wasted energy and water in piping, and
· Boost lighting efficiency.
Commercial Gains Should Match Residential: Officials adopted the joint DOE/New Buildings Institute/ American Institute of Architects package for commercial buildings which, along with many of the features cited above, includes continuous air barriers; daylighting controls; increasing the number of climate zones where economizers are required; and a choice of three paths for designers and developers to increase efficiency: using renewable energy or installing more efficient HVAC equipment or lighting systems. It also requires the “commissioning” of new buildings, integrally linking efficiency building designs with lifelong building performance by applying a systematic approach to building quality assurance that monitors, identifies and makes corrections when energy savings aren’t living up to expectations. A number of additional IECC improvements supported by EECC and other stakeholders were adopted on top of the commercial package.
Rejecting Proposals That Weaken Efficiency
Government voting representatives also rejected several proposals to weaken the IECC. Key among them were proposals to reinstate a provision of the 2009 IECC’s that eliminated “tradeoffs,” under which builders installed less efficient insulation and windows in exchange for more efficient heating & cooling (HVAC) equipment that would have been installed anyway. “Efficiency shouldn’t be an either/or proposition,” Fay said. “We need to both improve building envelopes and install high-efficiency HVAC systems. It makes no sense to ‘trade away’ the long-lasting energy savings from tighter buildings.”
The delegates also voted almost unanimously to adopt a proposal offered by Virginia code officials to replace the weaker provisions of the energy chapter of the International Residential Code with a reference requiring that all residential buildings comply with the IECC. As a result, the IECC will be the sole source for energy efficiency provisions for residential and commercial buildings.
While All Americans Will Share the Energy Security and Environmental Benefits of More Efficient Buildings, Home/Building Owners and Occupants Top List of Beneficiaries
By reducing monthly energy bills, efficiency improvements generate positive cash flow that rapidly recoups the cost of these measures (efficiency buildings are also more comfortable for their occupants). Because of long building lives and the higher cost of retrofits, many of the efficiency improvements made today will benefit current and future home and building owners for generations to come.
The efficiency improvements adopted by the ICC incorporate readily available technologies. As one homebuilder testified, a 30 percent boost in new home efficiency is now a modest target, with a growing number of green builders across the nation delivering new homes well beyond that threshold. Because the inability to pay utility bills is the second leading cause of foreclosures and evictions, currently at record highs, low income housing advocates argue that the efficiency improvements will make it more likely that low income families will be able to afford to keep their homes. Finally, a study by U.S. DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that an average home that’s 30 percent more energy-efficient returns $511 a year in energy savings to homeowners after taking into account the small mortgage payment increase needed to pay for the efficiency improvements.
From the national economic perspective, efficient buildings will demonstrably reduce US energy consumption, which will help stabilize energy costs to businesses and manufacturers, defer the need for new power plant construction and, by reducing energy demand, improve national energy security.
“The ‘winners’ run the gamut from homeowners to businesses operating in areas of the country with high energy costs and insufficient energy supplies to manufacturers to cities trying to reduce their carbon footprint to a nation struggling to reduce energy imports,” Fay added.
State Adoption & Code Compliance. “The next goal will be for states and localities to adopt the 2012 IECC so that all new homebuyers and commercial buildings owners can begin to benefit from improved efficiency,” Fay added. “And because states have committed to show 90% compliance with the IECC by 2017, we want to work to support collaboration at all levels of government to ensure adequate training and other support for the code officials who must meet this ambitious compliance target.
Future Improvements in America’s Model Code. “A number of energy saving proposals offered by the EECC and other stakeholders received majority support but not the 2/3 majority needed for adoption,” Fay observed. “While this is unfortunate, we know that the governmental officials present in Charlotte used their best judgment to guide their vote on the 2012 code. But because states and local jurisdictions are free to consider these energy saving improvements individually, EECC will work with them, while refining the proposals for inclusion in the ICC’s next round of hearings to develop the 2015 IECC.”
The Energy Efficient Codes Coalition is a unique, broad-based alliance of longstanding energy efficiency advocates – from government, national energy efficiency groups, regional energy efficiency alliances, environmental groups, utilities, affordable housing advocates, architecture, academia/think tanks, energy consumers and businesses, and labor. Together, the coalition authored “The 30% Solution 2012” a comprehensive code change proposal that employs existing, “state-of-the-shelf” technologies to boost energy efficiency in the 2012 residential model energy code by up to 35% over the 2006 IECC baseline efficiency levels. The coalition also opposes proposals that either weaken energy efficiency or include industry- or product-specific special exemptions. The EECC is housed at the Alliance to Save Energy (a founding member). For more information, visit www.thirtypercentsolution.org.
Media Contact: William Fay 202-530-2214; firstname.lastname@example.org.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and other dignitaries gathered in the Mojave Desert this week to officially break ground on BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, the first large-scale solar thermal power plant to be built in the United States in nearly two decades.
BrightSource is one of a half-dozen big solar farms, with a combined electricity-generating capacity of 2,829 megawatts, licensed by the California Energy Commission over the past two months. By year’s end, California and federal regulators expect to approve additional projects that will produce a total of 4,143 megawatts. At peak output, that’s the equivalent of several nuclear power plants and more than seven times the solar capacity installed in the United States last year.
United Stated Department of Energy
November 3, 2010
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) today released the 2011 Fuel Economy Guide, providing consumers with information about estimated mileage and fuel costs for model year 2011 vehicles. Choosing the most fuel efficient vehicle in a class will save consumers money and reduce carbon pollution.
"Increasing fuel efficiency is important for our environment, our economy and our health - and it helps families save money at the pump," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. "This guide will help consumers make the right choice for the environment and for their wallets when buying a car."
"This year's Fuel Economy Guide will allow consumers to choose fuel efficient vehicles that will save them money at the pump, while helping to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and limiting carbon pollution," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "Fuel efficient vehicles help reduce driving costs for American families while continuing to deliver the highest standards of vehicle performance."
Fuel-efficient models come in all types, classes, and sizes. The 2011 Fuel Economy Guide can help consumers easily identify the most fuel efficient vehicles that meet their needs. Overall, the best fuel economy performers are hybrids, but the 2011 fuel economy leader list also includes fuel efficient clean diesels as well as gasoline models.
Each vehicle listing in the guide provides an estimated annual fuel cost. The estimate is calculated based on the vehicle's miles per gallon (mpg) rating and national estimates for annual mileage and fuel prices. The online version of the guide allows consumers to input their local gasoline prices and typical driving habits to receive a personalized fuel cost estimate.
For the first time, the guide includes medium-duty passenger vehicles, which are generally large sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and passenger vans. These vehicles were not previously subject to fuel economy measurement and labeling requirements.
EPA and DOE will provide additional fuel economy information online as more 2011 vehicles, including electric and plug-in hybrid cars, become available.
In addition to being available on the EPA/ DOE website and in automobile dealer showrooms, the Fuel Economy Guide is also readily accessible from many mobile devices (fueleconomy.gov/m).
More information, including a complete version of the guide is available at http://www.fueleconomy.gov.
View the 2011 fuel economy leaders within each class and the lowest fuel economy models: http://www.epa.gov/fueleconomy/basicinformation.htm.
After a long battle of words and millions of dollars spent on both sides, California voters defeated Proposition 23 in Tuesday’s election, which would have effectively put California’s climate law on hold.
Proposition 23 would have prevented California’s climate law AB 32 from being enacted until the state unemployment rate fell below 5.5 percent for four consecutive fiscal quarters, which is now hovering around 12 percent.
U.S. EPA: City and County of San Francisco Among Prestigious National Award Winners Advancing Emerging Green Power Markets
United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)
Release date: 10/20/2010
Contact Information: (News Media Only) Mary Simms, (415) 947-4270, email@example.com
SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership will tonight award 18 National Green Power Partners for their achievements in using green power, helping to grow the nation’s voluntary green power market and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Two California partners, the city of San Francisco and Santa Clara-based Intel Corporation, will be recognized at this year’s Renewable Energy Markets Conference, an annual event in the renewable energy industry.
“We applaud the leadership shown by San Francisco and Intel by ditching polluting power sources and switching to green power,” said Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Their responsible energy should be a model for all cities and corporations in the fight to solve climate change.”
The City of San Francisco is one of only two organizations nationwide to receive a Leadership Award for the on-site generation of green power. The award recognizes EPA Green Power Partners who distinguish themselves using on-site renewable energy applications, such as solar photovoltaic and wind energy projects. San Francisco is currently generating more than 25 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of solar and biogas power annually, which augments the 1.7 billion kilowatt hours of clean, greenhouse-gas free energy the city generates each year through the Hetch Hetchy Water and Power System.
“San Francisco’s commitment to clean energy is producing green jobs and real benefits for our City today,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. “The economic advantages of a green economy are very tangible and we can feel the effects of clean energy in the air we breath; with each solar panel, day-by-day, we’re fueling San Francisco’s transformation into a green economy powered by increasingly clean, renewable energy.”
Intel Corporation is one of only ten organizations nationwide to receive a Leadership Award for its green power purchase. The award recognizes EPA Green Power Partners who distinguish themselves through purchases of green power from a utility green-pricing program, a competitive green marketer, or a renewable energy certificate (REC) supplier. Intel Corporation is currently purchasing more than 1.4 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which is enough green power to meet more than 50 percent of the organization’s purchased electricity use. Intel Corporation is buying a utility green power product and RECs from Austin Energy, PNM, and Sterling Planet as well as producing energy through an on-site solar system.
“This is just one part of Intel’s energy management strategy to demonstrate leadership and support for renewable technologies. A portfolio of actions, including solar installations and conservation programs, drive our focus on reducing energy costs, increasing environmental awareness, and reducing our carbon footprint. It’s good for our shareholders, customers, employees and the environment,” said Marty Sedler, Director of Global Utilities and Infrastructure for Intel Corporation.
According to EPA, Intel Corporation’s current green power purchase of more than 1.4 billion kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of nearly 197,000 passenger vehicles per year, or is the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power nearly 125,000 average American homes annually.
The City of San Francisco’s current green power usage of more than 25 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of more than 3,000 passenger vehicles per year, or is the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power more than 2,000 average American homes annually.
EPA will recognize 18 national winners during the annual Green Power Leadership Awards Banquet in Portland, Ore, tonight. Awards are given in four categories: Partner of the Year; Green Power Purchasing; On-site Generation; and, new this year, Green Power Community of the Year.
The Green Power Partners of the Year are Kohl’s Department Stores, Motorola, TD Bank and Whole Foods Market.
The awards will be presented at the Renewable Energy Markets Conference, paramount annual gathering attended by leading renewable energy and green power stakeholders. EPA co-sponsors the Green Power Leadership Awards in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy and the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions.
EPA, through the Green Power Partnership, works with nearly 1,300 partner organizations to voluntarily purchase green power to reduce the environmental impacts of conventional electricity use. Green power is electricity generated from renewable resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, and low-impact hydro. Green power produces no net increase of greenhouse gas emissions.
The San Francisco Chronicle
The most controversial piece of California's efforts to battle climate change, a cap-and-trade program for large polluters, was unveiled Friday by the California Air Resources Board just days before the state's voters will decide whether to put the entire effort on hold.
The proposed cap-and-trade regulation, which is more than 3,000 pages long, would take effect beginning in 2012 and eliminate 273 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air by 2020, largely by forcing the state's biggest polluters to cut their emissions or pay for excessive emissions. It is a major piece of AB32, the climate change law that will be suspended if Proposition 23 passes on election day.
The San Francisco Chronicle
Envision a time when 1,000 charging stations for electric cars sprout at parking garages, shopping centers and other public spots across the Bay Area. Some taxis, rather than filling up with gas or waiting for a recharge, will simply swap their battery out at a changing station. Home chargers will be able to monitor utility rates while you sleep and recharge your electric car's battery at the lowest price.
That time, San Francisco environmental officials say, is one year away, thanks in part to almost $14 million in grants for regional electric vehicle projects that the Metropolitan Transportation Commission is expected to award at its meeting today.
Paired with matching funds from private businesses, nonprofits and state and local governments, the grants will pay for more than $30 million worth of projects designed to make driving electric cars convenient, practical and common, backer say.
Assembly Member Jared Huffman
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 12, 2010
CONTACT: Paige Brokaw
Clean Energy Financing Program gets a boost from Huffman bill
Sacramento, CA – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a key piece of legislation that will enhance the state’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program – AB 1873 by Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D – Marin).
PACE gives cities and counties the authority to enter into voluntary contractual assessments with local property owners to finance renewable energy installations, energy-efficiency and/or water-efficiency improvements on their properties, which are then paid back over time on the property owner’s property tax bill.
PACE has been successful in helping property owners become more energy and water efficient, as well as increase their property values. AB 1873 supports current PACE programs by authorizing specific state funds, including the California Public Employee Pension System (CalPERS), State Compensation Insurance Fund, and the Pooled Money Investment Board, to invest in local bonds to fund PACE, which will in turn reduce the cost of the loans made through contractual assessments to property owners and increase the rate of return for state investments.
“AB 1873 will help the state reduce energy demand, help home owners increase their property values, help the state invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and create jobs,” said Assemblymember Huffman.
AB 1873, which was co-sponsored by Sonoma County and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), was a part of the Assembly’s package of job-creation bills passed during the 2010 Legislative Session to help keep Californians working. Making PACE programs more attractive, and encouraging local governments and property owners to use them, will expand job growth at a time we most need it.
“Assemblyman Huffman’s PACE bill has clear benefits for the environment and the California job market,” said Lauren Navarro, an attorney with Environmental Defense Fund. “AB 1873 can increase funding for local energy efficiency and clean energy improvements so households and small business owners can reap the rewards.”
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Valerie Brown added, “We truly appreciate Assembly Huffman’s work on this bill. The passage and signing of AB 1873 is an affirmation that innovative PACE programs, such as the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program, deserve support. They produce local jobs and enact our climate protection goals. Hopefully, Washington will recognize California and the North Bay are leading the way.”
The bill goes into effect January 1, 2011.
Capitol: State Capitol - P.O. Box 942849 -Sacramento, CA 94249-0006 - Tel: (916) 319-2006 - Fax: (916) 319-2106
District: 3501 Civic Center Drive, Room 412 - San Rafael, CA 94903 - Tel: (415) 479-4920 - Fax: (415) 479-2123
Washington, D.C. (October 13, 2010): Even as Congress failed to take major action on climate and energy legislation in 2010, states across the United States achieved major new strides in energy efficiency, according to the 2010 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard from the nonprofit and independent American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
>> View the Scorecard Rankings
Among the major state advances highlighted in the fourth edition of the ACEEE Scorecard are: a near doubling of state energy efficiency budgets from 2007 spending levels; the adoption or active consideration by over half the states of Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS) that establish long-term, fixed efficiency savings targets; and a one-year doubling of the number of states that have either adopted or have made significant progress toward the adoption of the latest energy-saving building codes for homes and commercial properties. (See details below.)
The key state-specific rankings in the 2010 ACEEE Scorecard are as follows:
* The four most-improved states – Utah (tied for #12, up 11 spots from 2009), Arizona (#18, up 11 spots), New Mexico (#22, up eight spots), and Alaska (#37, up eight spots) – climbed at least eight spots since the 2009 Scorecard. In general, the Southwest region demonstrated considerable progress from 2009 to 2010.
* California retained its #1 ranking for the fourth year in a row, outpacing all other states in its level of investment in energy efficiency across all sectors of its economy. The balance of the top 10 states: Massachusetts (#2, holding steady) ; Oregon (#3, up from #4); New York (#4, up from #5); Vermont (#5, up from #6); Washington (#6, up from #7); Rhode Island (#7, up from #9); Connecticut (tied for #8, down from #3); Minnesota (tied for #8, holding steady); and Maine (#10, holding steady).
* The 10 states with the most room for improvement in the Scorecard (which includes the District of Columbia) are: Louisiana (#42, down one spot); Missouri (tied for #43, down two spots); Oklahoma (tied for #43, down four spots); West Virginia (tied for #43, up two spots); Kansas (#46, down seven spots); Nebraska (#47, holding steady); Wyoming (#48, up three spots); Alabama (#49, down one spot); Mississippi (#50, down one spot); and North Dakota (#51, down two spots).
ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel said: “Even as Washington dawdles on climate and clean energy, states are moving ahead with considerable vigor on these vital matters, with energy efficiency initiatives leading the way. In particular, states are moving forward and advancing energy efficiency policies and programs in an effort to create jobs and stimulate their economies during a period of considerable economic uncertainty. While $11 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds was helpful in this process and there were setbacks in a few states, the overall story here is one of states getting done what Congress has so far failed to do.”
New Mexico Department of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary James Noel said: “New Mexico has taken a number of steps under the leadership of Governor Richardson to improve energy efficiency, including making sure new buildings are constructed to higher energy-saving standards and boosting utility energy-saving programs and services. These steps will save consumers energy and money and create good local jobs that can’t be outsourced.”
Join the Local Government Commission as it convenes an annual statewide conference on energy efficiency best practices over the next three years.
Date: Thursday, Oct. 14 (networking reception Oct. 13)
Time: 8:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Location: Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel
This conference is offered free of charge to all California local governments*.
A Full Day of Exciting Ideas and the Latest News
The daylong program will feature several topics of interest to local governments, including energy savings programs, funding for comprehensive energy projects, and best practices for reducing energy use and greenhouse gases in your community.
California Energy Commission and California Air Resources Board representatives will discuss state programs and regulations that affect local governments, including AB 32 and Proposition 23, the status of property assessed clean energy (PACE) and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funds, the changing market for local green building, and legislation to establish a cap-and-trade community benefits fund and to allow ARB to buy PACE bonds.
The conference features afternoon breakout sessions, focusing on best practices to implement local Climate Action Plans, create green jobs through energy efficiency programs, and put together residential retrofit programs in your community.
Wednesday, Oct. 13 Energy Champions Networking Reception
5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
A Networking reception for all Forum participants is scheduled for 5:00-6:30pm on Wednesday evening. This social event is a chance to get together and network with other local governments throughout California before the official Forum starts on Thursday morning. The reception is sponsored by Riverside Public Utilities and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Do you have an energy efficiency story to share with other local government forum participants?
Let us know about the good work you are doing. We’ll share them on the forum website. This will enable you to more easily connect with other folks at the event pursuing similar programs. Email your stories to Pat Stoner (pstoner 'AT' lgc 'DOT' org).
*This program is funded by California utility ratepayers and administered by Southern California Gas Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Pacific Gas & Electric Company and Southern California Edison, under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.
Contact Information: Stacy Kika Kika.firstname.lastname@example.org 202-564-0906 202-564-4355 Cathy Milbourn Milbourn.email@example.com 202-564-7849 202-564-4355
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 20, 2010
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is kicking off its national “Green Power Community Challenge,” a year-long campaign to encourage cities, towns, villages, and Native American tribes to use renewable energy and fight climate change. Purchases of green power help to prevent greenhouse gas emissions and also help accelerate the development of new renewable energy capacity across the United States.
To participate in the challenge, a local government must join EPA’s Green Power Partnership and use green power in amounts that meet the program’s purchase requirements. The local government must also conduct a campaign to encourage local businesses and residents to collectively buy or produce green power on-site in amounts that meet EPA requirements.
More than 30 cities and towns in Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin have become green power communities, and are collectively buying more than 900 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) from the electricity use of nearly 80,000 average American homes.
The campaign is designed to expand upon the successes of the program, aiming to double the total aggregate amount of green power used by EPA Green Power Communities. As part of the national campaign, communities will compete to see which one can use the most green power and which one can achieve the highest green power percentage of total electricity use. There will be a separate award for each category with national recognition and special attention from EPA. The winners will be announced in September 2011.
During the challenge, from Sept. 20, 2010, to Sept. 1, 2011, communities will be ranked for the two award categories on EPA’s website on a quarterly schedule; EPA will also provide technical assistance to help participants increase their green power usage.
Green power is generated from renewable resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, biogas, and low-impact hydropower. Green power resources produce electricity with an environmental profile superior to conventional power technologies, and produce no net increase of greenhouse gas emissions.
More information on EPA’s Green Power Community Challenge: http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/gpcchallenge
More information about EPA’s Green Power Communities:
Sign On San Diego
Recent public opinion research by The San Diego Foundation, a local nonprofit organization encouraging, supporting and facilitating meaningful dialogue on issues affecting our region’s communities, indicates strong support for regional leaders to plan for and address the impacts of climate change on our quality of life. This support by 72 percent of voters spreads across demographic lines, including conservative and liberal, young and old, new and longtime citizens. Additionally, 77 percent of voters believe actions taken now could lead to a stronger economy and more clean energy and clean technology jobs – something at the forefront of everyone’s mind – while sustaining our clean environment.
According to the research, voters believe addressing global warming would create real jobs for real people in San Diego County, including expanding renewable energy and technology. In fact, only 14 percent thought actions to address climate change would result in fewer jobs. That’s why organizations like CleanTECH San Diego, a nonprofit including leaders in business, finance, government and academia, is committed to accelerate the San Diego region as a world leader in clean technology.
The Washington Post
Montana and other states in the West could wind up being the unintended beneficiaries of an aggressive push to decrease fossil fuel use in California, industry representatives and others say.
The California Air Resources Board on Thursday adopted a new standard mandating that utilities in that state get 33 percent of their power from wind, solar, and other renewables by 2020. And although the agency says most of that wattage could come from new power sources planned within the state, experts and industry representatives say homegrown electricity will not be enough to satisfy the most populous state in the nation.
That could be a boon to wind developers in Montana and Wyoming; solar entrepreneurs in New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada; and other companies planning major transmission lines that would criss-cross the region. The regulation could allow California utilities to meet much of the new mandate through credits obtained by investments in renewables elsewhere.