San Diego adopts legally binding Climate Action Plan with provision for 100% renewable electricity

100% Renewable Declaration by City of San Diego by Dr. Rob Wilder at The Pathways to 100% Renewable Energy Conference in San Francisco, April 16, 2013

City of San Diego Takes Next Key Step in Its Pledge to Go 100% Renewable Energy

San Diego – The City of San Diego voted today to approve the Mayor’s Opens external link in new windowClimate Action Plan, which establishes a legally binding goal to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2035. A cornerstone of the plan, among other measures, is a target to procure 100% renewable electricity community wide by 2035.

The commitment to 100% renewable electricity has a long history and has been the fruit of many groups, government officials, staff, labor organizations, business leaders, and concerned citizens. It’s public origin was the Opens external link in new windowPathways to 100% Renewable Energy Conference, which was a historic, first of its kind international forum on 100% renewable energy targets and solutions that took place in San Francisco in April 2013 and was organized by the Renewables 100 Policy Institute,. “We specifically asked the newly elected Mayor’s office,” recalled the organization’s Founding Director Diane Moss, “if they would come to the conference and pledge to be the next major city to go 100% renewable. To our delight, they agreed.”

But just as the catalysts at the non-profit and their local San Diego allies were working with the Mayor and his staff on how to implement this ambitious goal, political turmoil ensued, and since then, the City has been through changes in party leadership and more than one change in Mayoral leadership.

It is a testament to the City of San Diego, its people, and the common sense, economic and environmental arguments for 100% renewable targets that the 100% renewable electricity commitment has survived and sustained bipartisan support throughout all these changes.

The City’s ambitious Climate Action Plan additionally includes a number of other goals, including advancing electric vehicles and their infrastructure, increasing walking and biking as modes of transportation, promoting energy efficiency building retrofits, stopping landfill waste, and planting trees.

There is a long way to go in realizing this game changing vision, but the City has taken a major and important step today. While critical issues remain to be decided, such as whether or not San Diego will adopt a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program to enable its 100% renewable electricity target, and whether some provisions will survive a cost-benefit analysis required for each measure as part of the adopted plan, the City of San Diego has established itself as a frontrunner on overcoming obstacles to and embracing meaningful action on climate and clean energy.