Santa Cruz Looking For New Solar Clean Air Opportunities. Yeah, baby, yeah! California Take Note To What All “City Leaders” Should be Doing!

SANTA CRUZ California Solar News – Boola Boola we say to the Santa Cruz city leaders who are working through incredible road blocks to find ways to create local jobs, such as solar, while helping us breath easier. Reducing emissions goes hand in had with creating local renewable energy jobs in many forms such as solar. Helping to put solar panels on 5,000 homes in Santa Cruz is laudable and the city leaders of Santa Cruz deserve our thanks and help.  Read More – (But first… PS, Don’t forget to vote NO on Proposition 23 and send big out of state oil packing.)

Silicon Valley Mercury News
Santa Cruz’s climate action plan up for review Tuesday: Report says local jobs, solar technology would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent. By J.M. BROWN — Santa Cruz Sentinel

City leaders want to help 5,000 homes go solar, cut citywide water use 10 percent and reduce in-town vehicle trips 30 percent, all within a decade. Now, residents, business owners and city officials get to weigh in on how to realize those goals.

After nearly three years of study and planning, the city’s climate change action coordinator (cool solar guy), Ross Clark, will present findings Tuesday that tally the city’s greenhouse gas emissions and provide a road map for how to cut the community’s emissions 30 percent from levels seen in the mid-1990s. The report was published Thursday on the city’s website.

By 2020, the city wants to reduce annual emissions about 69,000 metric tons. A metric ton of greenhouse gas emissions equals about 3,100 kilowatt hours, which is how much electricity is used to power a medium- to large-sized home every month.

While the report lays out ways energy can be saved through innovations in transportation, land use, construction design, water conservation and solar installation, Clark also spells out everyday steps consumers can take to reduce emissions, such as shopping at local stores and farmers markets and taking kids to school by bicycle or walking. The report calls for the creation of more local, high-paying  jobs through solar and other energy forms and higher-density housing growth designed to support public transportation and reduce over-the-hill commuting.

“I want to help people understand how to make personal choices,” Clark said.

Council approved climate change principles in June 2007 and hired Clark several months later to put the plan in motion. After the council’s workshop on the action plan Tuesday, city commissions and the public will have opportunities during the next several months to weigh in on the plan.

Clark studied PG&E records, city fuel logs and regional transportation reports that gauge vehicle miles traveled to arrive at estimates of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. The city wants to reduce its own vehicle emissions by gradually replacing its fleet and increasing the use of biodiesel fuel when possible.

Clark said the city outpaces others towns on the Central Coast in terms of municipal energy use because it provides some services, including water, that others contract out. But he said residential and commercial in Santa Cruz are among the lowest because of a high level of consumer consciousness.

By 2012, the city wants to double the number of solar homes, about 500 currently, that are outfitted with a solar energy device, and raise the number to 5,000 solar homes by 2020. Big hurdles include ironing out federal financing and convincing property owners that an investment in solar technology will pay off through reduced energy bills.

Santa Cruz intends to expand its Green Building Program, which offers incentives for green construction, including the use of sustainable woods and low-emission paint. Within a decade, the city hopes to increase energy-efficient commercial spaces by 30 percent.

Mayor Mike Rotkin said the plan is designed to draw more solar and renewable energy green-minded residents and businesses. “We’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do, and because it will have a positive economic effect,” Rotkin said. “The only growing sector of the economy is the green sector. We are confident that solar and other forms of renewable energy is our future.”

Also Tuesday, the council will hold a public hearing on a final reading of the new rental inspection ordinance that requires owners of rental properties to register with the city and, in some cases, submit to inspections.

Rick Longinotti, a member of Transition Santa Cruz, a group focused on reducing reliance on oil, said the city’s effort to address climate change are laudable but the trick is getting people to change habits. With transportation emissions increasing in recent years, “getting it to go down is a big challenge,” he said.

Admin Footnote: Solar means local jobs which put money in local communities. Solar and renewable energy in all its forms matters California.