Silicon Valley Clean Energy, a not-for-profit organization that offers renewable and carbon-free energy, is starting their new phase of action to further fight climate change.
Called the Decarbonization Roadmap, this plan aims to offer affordable, carbon-free power to residents, build energy-efficient buildings, electrify public transportation, successfully integrate new environmentally-friendly technologies into the electric grid, promote green innovation within local incubators and startups and educate the community on the steps they can take to reduce their carbon emissions.
The company’s board of directors approved over $6 million in funding for these projects over the next two years.
With this roadmap, Silicon Valley Clean Energy hopes to meet the goal of cutting carbon emissions within participating municipalities in half by 2030. Member jurisdictions include Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Saratoga, Sunnyvale and the unincorporated parts of Santa Clara County.
Along with providing the public with clean energy, the company is focused on installing more electric vehicle charging stations, investing in electric building design incentives and promoting high-efficiency electric water heaters, just to name a few of their ongoing projects.
The team has also been engaging local high schools through their Bike to the Future scholarship, where teams of students can win $16,000 by designing and showcasing their own electric bike.
Since their launch in April 2017, Silicon Valley Clean Energy has seen nearly a 97 percent participation rate throughout the 13 municipalities and around a 1.1-billion-pound reduction in area-wide carbon emissions.
By April, customers are estimated to save around $20 million in energy costs, which Silicon Valley Clean Energy hopes will be reinvested back into the local economy.
Residents in this area have been served by the same energy provider, PG&E, for over a hundred years, causing some people to be wary of this change. However, “very few people opted out because we have a cleaner, cheaper product,” said Pamela Leonard, Silicon Valley Clean Energy’s communication manager.
Recent reports from the UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland, show an increase in the world’s carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels following a three-year-long plateau. As of 2018, total global carbon emissions were estimated to rise by 2.7 percent, according to the annual “Carbon Budget” by the Global Carbon Project. In the United States alone, some scientists suspect there was a 2.5 percent emissions increase last year.
This news is discouraging for environmental activists, but Leonard urges residents and local businesses to keep working to reduce their carbon footprint.
“Every little thing matters,” said Leonard. “Hopefully, what we are doing here can be replicated in other areas.”
Silicon Valley Clean Energy takes additional steps to reduce local carbon emissions, by Helen Santoro, The Mercury News, January 18, 2019.