- The San Diego City Council unanimously approved a Climate Action Plan that commits the eighth largest U.S. city to 100% renewables and a 50% reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 2035. This makes it one of the first major U.S. cities with a legally binding pledge.
- Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the Council’s Democratic majority convinced the city’s conservative business leaders the plan would grow jobs and the economy with measures like shifting 50% of the city fleet to electric vehicles by 2020 and recycling 98% of sewage and wastewater methane.
- The city’s renewables mandate significantly exceeds California's 50% renewables by 2050 mandate and matches mandates in place in San Francisco, San Jose, and Las Vegas. Burlington, Vermont and Aspen, Colorado have already reached 100% renewables operation.
“It’s not a partisan issue,” Mayor Faulconer said. “It’s the right thing to do.”
To get to 100%, the San Diego Climate Action Plan puts community choice aggregation (CCA) in place. With CCA, a nonprofit elected board, supported by energy experts, will take over resource procurement from San Diego Gas and Electric, the city’s electricity provider.
The Action Plan lists six key supporting measures. They include a citywide CCA Feasibility Study that would set implementation timelines and project potential costs. The city would also need to begin implementing a net zero energy consumption plan with techniques for the construction and operation of green buildings.
The city would need to implement specific supports for California’s Green Tariff Shared Renewables Program and set up and fund policies, programs, ordinances, and permitting for growing new onsite PV solar and energy storage systems.
The first U.S. municipality to get to 100% renewables was Greensburg, Kansas, in 2010, but that was only possible because it was wiped out by a tornado and rebuilt. Price declines in renewable resources and energy storage, paired with building efficiency and zero net energy efforts, can help more cities and states reach 100% renewable resources in coming years, according to a recent report from SolarCity and Clean Edge.