Palo Alto, California, USA

Palo Alto, California, USA

  • Target: 100% renewable electricity supply
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Large scale solar
  • Implementation: In July 2013, Palo Alto voted to make the city’s electricity supply 100% renewable as part of the city’s commitment to carbon neutrality.  As a precursor to this decision, the local Department of Utilities first offered a 100% renewable electricity plan.  The 100% renewable power option was to be entirely supplied by solar RECs (renewable energy certificates).  In 2015, the state of California adopted a new Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), requiring that all utilities in the state should supply 50% of their retail electric sales from eligible renewable resources by 2030.  Those enrolled in the renewable power option have been mostly residential customers (95%), and the rest being commercial customers. Currently, Palo Alto is powered by several large-scale solar projects. The City Council has a Carbon Neutral Electric Resource Plan which commits Palo Alto to using carbon neutral electric resources.  The Plan is designed to be transparent, credible, sustainable, inspirational and replicable. In keeping with the City’s efforts to combat climate change, the plan effectively eliminates all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the City’s electric portfolio. The Plan's strategy was two-fold. First, between 2013 and 2016, the City would purchase short-term renewable resources and/or renewable energy certificates (RECs) to supplement existing and committed long-term renewable and hydroelectric resources, which account for 65% to 83% of the portfolio. And second, beyond 2016, long-term renewable resources will provide about a 50% RPS level within the existing 0.5 ₵/kWh annual RPS rate limit. Since about 50% of the electric supply portfolio is already sourced from carbon-free hydroelectric resources, the additional cost of achieving carbon neutrality between 2017 and 2020 is calculated to be very small.
  • Population: 67,024 (2016)
  • Area: 25.77 sq mi (66.75 km2)
  • Link: https://www.cityofpaloalto.org/gov/depts/utl/residents/resources/pcm/default.asp
Palo Alto, California, USA

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