Promote "beneficial Electrification"

Now that so many of us have access to 100% carbon free electricity, our next big carbon reductions will come from shifting our energy use from fossil fuels to this new clean electricity. We refer to this shift as Beneficial Electrification.

Happily, two emerging technologies -- Electric Vehicles and Heat Pumps -- make this transition easier every year. Deep decarbonization of our lifestyles are now in reach through three easy steps: 

  1. Stop wasting time at gas stations and doing smog checks by getting off gasoline and charging your new EV at home or work with green electricity;
  2. Next time your natural gas water heater dies, consider a new heat pump water heater, which can now be three times as energy efficient as older electric or natural gas water heaters.
  3. Considering adding air conditioning? Or perhaps your old natural gas furnace is on it's last legs? Solve both problems and go green when you switch to a heat pump space heater (most of which also provide cooling).

We are encouraging clean energy providers and other local agencies to help promote this shift.

See our draft two page white paper on this topic!


"7 RECOMMENDATIONS" for Mountain View

We are promoting seven steps we believe to be critical to insure that Mountain View achieves it's climate change goals.

Specifically:

  1. Set annual GHG emission budgets through 2050 that meet or beat AB 32 (2006) and SB 32 (2016) mandates. We recommend that the budgets follow a “constant percent” reduction path, not a “constant amount” path.
  2. Prioritize high impact GHG reduction programs. Estimate the “cost per metric ton of CO2e” for every proposed GHG reduction program and do the most cost-effective programs first.
  3. Insure that the emissions budget is balanced every year. Measure the community’s GHG emissions annually and publish a comparison of actual emissions to the emissions budget as early in the following year as possible.
  4. Following #3, in years when emissions are lower than the budgeted level, “bank” the difference to offset emissions in future years. In years when emissions exceed the budgeted level and previously banked credits are not available, purchase and retire certified unbundled Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to balance the emissions budget.
  5. Eliminate the GHG impact of large new developments. Starting in 2018, require occupants of large new non-residential and mixed-use buildings to purchase 100% GHG-free electricity in perpetuity for the portion of their usage that exceeds what is generated on-site or at a dedicated off-site renewable energy facility.  PG&E, SVCE, and direct access electricity suppliers will all offer 100% GHG-free electricity in the Bay Area by 2018.
  6. Starting in 2020, require developers of large new non-residential and mixed-use buildings to submit an estimate of the non-residential portion of the building’s lifetime GHG emissions, using a standard third-party-developed methodology that includes the GHG impacts of vehicle travel to and from the development, before receiving construction permits.
  7. Starting in 2022, require developers of large new non-residential buildings to purchase and retire enough certified RECs to offset the non-residential portion of the building’s estimated lifetime GHG emissions prior to receiving an occupancy permit.

We will be promoting these steps to our city council and other key stakeholders. Let us know what you think, and if you can help.


Silicon Valley Carbon Free Leaderboard

We'd like to recognize best practices across the region. Some initial examples of leadership:

  • Most aggressive GHG reduction targets: In 2016 Palo Alto's city council approved a target of 80% reduction from their 1990 base year by 2030. Read more about their plan here. We need more leadership like this.
  • Promoting clean electricity: Sunnyvale, Mountain View & Cupertino provided the leadership and resources that made SVCE possible for over 500,000 residents in Santa Clara County. See details here. Great job! What's next??
  • Reporting annual GHG Inventories: Los Altos Hills has been updating their community and municipal GHG inventories annually since 2008. "You can't manage what you don't measure."
  • Fuel switching roadmap: While not in Silicon Valley, our kudos to the group in Sonoma County who published this White Paper detailing how to move to a carbon neutral society.

What other regions are leading the charge on climate change?  What area has the best policies to promote EVs? Or switching homes off natural gas toward clean electricity? Or reducing the fastest-growing category of building energy use (plug loads)? And regarding all these efforts... are the results being measured, or just estimated?

By highlighting those with effective policies we hope to encourage more widespread adoption by others.

More details to come.


make our electricity 100% carbon free

Done!

Carbon Free Mountain View played a key role promoting the CCE concept and making sure all key parties understood the benefits of SVCE.  But clean electricity is just the first (albeit critical) step. There's lots more to be done to meet the state's climate goals.