- Target: 100% renewable electricity
- Status: In progress
- RES: Solar energy.
- Implementation: Yolo County is located about 90 miles north-east of San Francisco. The city of Davis, Yolo’s largest, was the first city in the USA to formally legislate the creation of bicycle lanes throughout city streets. Yolo was also ahead when it created its 1982 Energy Plan. One result of the Plan was the construction of a gas-to-energy facility in 1985. Located at the Yolo Co. landfill, the plant generates 20,000 kWh/year of electricity while capturing 90% of methane emissions. Continuing to set trends in sustainable development and planning, Yolo Co. became one of the 12 charter members of the 2007 Cool Counties Initiative (CCI), a nation-wide pledge to an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. It adopted the ‘2030 General Plan’, containing more than 350 specific policies benchmarking exactly how Yolo Co. residents and businesses can reduce GHG emissions and energy usage. Yolo County is now America’s first grid-positive PV solar producing county.
Beginning in the early 2000s, a plan to bolster the financial security in Yolo Co. was put in place. Utilizing a combination of state/federal subsidies and other innovative financing tools, Yolo Co. was able to procure US$23 million in financing and constructed three utility scale photovoltaic (PV) sites with no upfront capital expenditure. Yolo Co. now produces 152% of its electricity needs via 6.8 MW of PV electrical production, creating a long-term revenue stream for Yolo Co.’s once shrinking county budget. Starting with a US$1.4 million per year electric bill, Yolo Co. is now estimated to generate an annual income of over US$500,000 from the sale of electricity to Pacific Gas & Electric, CA’s largest electrical generator. Over the next 35 years, Yolo Co.’s projected revenue for the three PV sites is over US$60 million.
Yolo Co. Office of Education has also established a sustainability academy, Project SOLAR or Sustaining Our Local Alternative Energy Resources. This program helps to educate K-12 students on the impacts of sustainability on the individual and the community. Project SOLAR offers several sustainability based educational programs; operating a summer energy academy for high school students at a local community college, integrating courses about energy and sustainability into existing educational curriculums and training courses for educators to help spread sustainability based curriculums throughout California.
- Population: 215,802 (2016)
- Area: 1,015 sq mi (2,630 km2)(land)
- Link: https://valleycleanenergy.org