The city of San Jose, California has joined fellow bay area communities in a move to pool funds from residents in order to source energy from green utilities. In a May 16 vote by city council members, the Northern California municipality approved the program, as part of Community Choice Aggregation bylaws, becoming the largest urban area in the nation to enact such a measure.
The vote was unanimous and signals promising shifts to increase clean energy initiatives across the state. The Community Choice programs allow communities the opportunity to seek out alternatives from major state sponsored utilities and purchase clean power using local revenues rather than tax subsidies. According to Mayor Sam Liccardo, San Jose is expected “to purchase power from at least one alternative provider for ‘100 percent greenhouse gas free’ energy in the first two years.”
Marin County, home to San Jose residents, pioneered its groundbreaking clean energy program in 2010 through Marin County Energy, taking advantage of Community Choice Aggregation bylaws passed in 2002 by the California Assembly. Fellow programs have initiated in Sonoma County, San Francisco, and San Mateo County, with Silicon Valley Clean Energy launching a program as of this year.
The Center for Climate Protection (CCP) has expressed excitement for this recent development, leading Deputy Director Barry Vesser to proclaim, “This is the largest city in California to adopt the program, and it’s going to change the energy landscape for the state as other counties come along.”
San Jose currently produces 22.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. Through Community Choice programs, Marin County Energy reports 122,102 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions have been eliminated since its origin. With Alameda County, Davis and Yolo County, and Los Angeles County exploring their own clean energy programs, according to a UCLA School of Public Affairs report, this move is uplifting for the green energy movement.
CCP believes 60% of the California energy market to be served by Community Choice programs by 2020. With programs designed to allow residents to choose between purchasing their electricity from green energy sources besides their local utility, or opt out of the community program, Community Choice Aggregation measures are expected to work with utilities to best serve customers.
Local Marin County utility PG&E released a statement voicing favor for customer choice, reading “We respect the energy choices that are available to our customers, and will continue to cooperate with local governments as they consider pursuing (or) developing a CCA program.”
Emilygrene Corp. hopes to continuously track options that allow our clients to work together with utilities and progress green energy as an affordable, beneficial option readily available to all. “Greener Together” is part of our Community Outreach Initiative to provide vital information and motivation to join us in pursuing a clean energy future. As additional states and California counties develop Community Choice programs, we are all able to work more closely together to build new clean energy infrastructure.
No longer is “going green” simply a trend for those in the know. The green energy movement is a fully fledged transition away from fossil fuels and coal powered energy toward energy sources that use our planet to its fullest potential. Our work – together – to continue educating, to continue building, to continue progressing new technology will have results. We are clean, green, and strong together.