Scrolling through Instagram, one’s feed is flooded with the doom of the climate crisis: haunting pictures of a turtle with a straw up its nose, mountains of plastic floating through the ocean, and videos of ice caps melting and forcefully dropping into the seas.
The impending climate crisis is a looming threat for many young people, like Presentation High School junior Zoe Miller.
“I want a future. I don’t just want to live till I’m 30. I want to live a full life,” said Miller.
Many, like Zoe, want to take action to guarantee the future of the planet, and they want to know that their city is not being a bystander to climate change.
Using carbon-free or totally renewable energy through San Jose Clean Energy is a simple act that San Jose residents can take to reduce carbon emissions, and it can make an impact in the fight against climate change.
San Jose Clean Energy is a community choice energy program, meaning that once it was created through Climate Smart San Jose, it became the default electricity provider for San Jose residences and businesses. This gave San Jose citizens the opportunity to take climate action in their own homes, probably without even realizing it.
Along with other cities in Northern California, San Jose implemented this clean energy program as part of the Climate Smart San Jose plan that was approved in February 2018. The city wants to offer electricity that is produced without any greenhouse gas emissions by 2021, in order to reach the target outlined in the Paris Agreement to fight climate change.
GreenSource is the baseline plan that all San Jose residences and businesses, excluding those with rooftop solar, were automatically enrolled in back in February at a rate 1% below PG&E rates.
On its way to reaching that 2021 goal, GreenSource provides energy that is 80% emission-free, with the other 20% made up of unspecified sources, according to Kate Ziemba, senior public information officer for San Jose Clean Energy. The 80% emission-free part of the service is 45% renewable emission-free energy, and 35% hydropower energy that is not renewable but is emission-free.
For those who want to take a step further, San Jose Clean Energy offers the TotalGreen plan. This plan delivers 100% renewable emission-free energy made up of sources like wind and solar, for on average about $3 to $5 more a month, according to the energy provider.
San Jose Clean Energy has already been successful in getting the San Jose community to participate in the fight against climate change, with 98.7% of residences and businesses using some form of the clean energy offered.
Aside from the 1% price reduction from PG&E’s rate to GreenSource, and the overall health benefits, limiting GHG emissions could help make a real impact in the climate crisis.
Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity use in San Jose were expected initially to decrease by 18% as a result of the implementation of clean electricity, according to the provider.
“Making your electricity supply greenhouse-gas-free is one of the easiest and most effective things a city can do to reduce carbon emissions,” Ziemba said.
Local environmental organizations have also noticed the impact that SJCE programs will have in the larger scheme of fighting climate change.
“San Jose’s Climate Smart and Clean Energy is a bold vision to reduce San Jose’s greenhouse gas emissions and the city’s leadership and Climate Smart plan truly serves as a model for cities around the state,” said Andrea Mackenzie, general manager for the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority.
In a quiet shift, 99% of San Jose residences and businesses have switched to mostly clean energy, by Zoey Towner, The Mercury News, June 19, 2019.