Coast News: Encinitas Adopts Climate Action Plan

January 25, 2018 – Coast News – Aaron Burgin reports – Encinitas will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 41 percent in 2030, pursuing energy independence from San Diego Gas & Electric Co. as the primary method to accomplish the reduction, according to the climate action plan unanimously adopted by the City Council last week. 

The council wholeheartedly endorsed the climate action plan, which details the city’s efforts to lower emissions and combat climate change. 

“This is a milestone moment for us,” Mayor Catherine Blakespear said. “Adopting this ambitious climate action plan is a reflection of Encinitas’ environmental commitment and we take that stewardship seriously.”

The cornerstone of the plan is a pledge to transition to 100 percent renewable energy, which it plans to accomplish by pursuing community choice energy, the process in which a jurisdiction forms an entity that buys power on the open market — as opposed to from a utility company — and chooses the source of power based on the community input.

Encinitas is exploring forming a CCE with Carlsbad, Oceanside and Del Mar after voting in July 2017 to draft a request for proposals for a joint technical study that would assess the feasibility of such a program. 

Forming a CCE would be the single largest emission reducer in the city’s plan. 

Some of the action plan’s other proposals range from requiring new homes and commercial buildings to have solar panels and solar-powered water heaters, to more extensive goals such as a requiring electric vehicle charging stations at new homes and commercial buildings, converting the city’s heavy-duty vehicle fleet to renewable diesel gas by 2020 and its passenger and light duty vehicles to zero-emission vehicles by 2030 and a citywide “zero waste” target. 

In all, the plan calls for the city to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 13 percent from 2012 levels by 2020 and by 41 percent a decade later. 

The plan calls for frequent check-ins to see if the city is meeting its goals, which are legally binding. The first monitoring report is scheduled for next year and a five-year update will take place in 2023.

“I think we are being aggressive and I think that is the way it should be, showing some leadership in this area,” Councilman Mark Muir said. 

Residents and environmental activists praised the city’s forward thinking plan, calling it “the gold standard.”

“We congratulate the city of Encinitas for adopting a gold-standard plan with Community Choice Energy. This CAP supports aggressive action to reduce the city’s carbon footprint while enhancing our quality of life,” said Sophie Wolfram, policy advocate with Climate Action Campaign.

San Diego County, according to Climate Action Campaign, has the highest number of commitments to 100-percent clean electricity of any county in the United States. San Diego, Solana Beach, Del Mar and Chula Vista have also made the commitment. 

Read the full article here.