Marin County goes 100% green energy
Government entities in the North Bay are leading the state with 100 percent renewable electric power.
In October, Marin County was the first in the state to enroll all of its county and city accounts in Marin Clean Energy’s 100 percent renewable electricity program, the company said.
Marin Clean Energy supplies customers with 50 percent to 100 percent renewable energy as an alternative to PG&E.
Called Deep Green, the program now supplies non-polluting wind and solar power for public buildings, streetlights and other civic accounts in the county.
The city and county of Napa also adopted the Deep Green Program in 2017.
The city of Sonoma, and the Sonoma County Water Agency have also transitioned to Sonoma Clean Power’s 100 percent renewable energy program, called Evergreen.
Belvedere was the first of Marin’s municipalities to choose Deep Green in 2010, followed by Fairfax in 2012, and San Anselmo and Sausalito in 2014.
This year Corte Madera, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Novato, Ross, San Rafael, Tiburon, and the County of Marin joined the movement toward 100 percent renewable energy.
The green push gained momentum from there, said J.R. Killigrew, community-development manager.
“Within four to five months the remaining municipalities took similar actions,” he said.
Those actions have also been a catalyst, inspiring local residents and businesses to adopt the program, Killigrew said.
In Marin County, enrollments in Deep Green have increased 62 percent in 10 months, from 2.7 percent in January to more than 4 percent as of October 2017.
Environmental groups and activists provided information to city and town councils, and the County Board of Supervisors, including Environmental Forum of Marin, the Marin Conservation League, Citizen’s’ Climate Lobby (Marin Chapter), Sierra Club (Marin Group), Sustainable San Rafael, Sustainable Novato, Sustainable Fairfax and many others.
“We’re trying to set an example by providing advocacy for what the community wants. All in all it’s helping Marin County to think holistically about climate change,” Killigrew said. “There’s been a wonderful collaboration with community groups to set the county apart.”
Marin County homes, businesses and municipal accounts make up more than half of all Deep Green customers. As of September 2017, MCE reached its goal of having 5 percent of its total electricity load enrolled in the 100 percent renewable program, seven years ahead of its original 2025 target.
“Not only does this contribute more renewable energy to California’s electrical grid, but half of the Deep Green premium collected goes toward building local solar projects in our service area, such as MCE Solar One, a 49-acre solar project in Richmond,” said Dawn Weisz, CEO of MCE. The county has shown that on a local level, we can not only help achieve California’s goal ahead of schedule, we can demonstrate the urgency of acting on climate change now.”
The Richmond project went online the third week of December and will provide 10.5 megawatts of power, enough for 3,000 homes each year.
By 2020, Marin County’s Climate Action Plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent below 1990 levels.
Collectively, Marin County communities have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent since 2005.
Marin County has eliminated an estimated 3,570 metric tons of pollution, or the Environmental Protection Agency equivalent of removing 764 cars from the road in one year, according to MCE.