Powers Engineering for Pacific Environment / by Bill Powers
[Press Release] Pacific Environment released a report today, “Bay Area Smart Energy 2020” (BASE 2020), which details how the San Francisco Bay Area can move to a locally-based, clean energy economy and leave fossil fuels behind. Currently available energy technologies, coupled with existing state policies, can transform the 9-county Bay Area electricity grid to achieve the following by 2020:
* A reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of over 60 percent from the electricity sector, or 12 million tons per year.
* 25 percent of Bay Area homes and businesses being “zero net energy,” creating the power they need on-site, leading to huge energy cost savings.
* Tens of thousands of new jobs building the energy grid of the future.
* Cleaner, healthier air in the Bay Area.
The report provides a “how-to” guide for how the region can maximize local resources to dramatically reduce fossil fuel dependence. It emphasizes roof-top solar and energy efficiency strategies, and recommends policies that can create the best incentives for residents and businesses to maximize energy production on their own site. It favors local energy projects owned by residents and businesses over those controlled by utilities.
BASE 2020 was published by Pacific Environment in part because of a state policy goal put forth by Governor Jerry Brown for a huge deployment of 12,000 Megawatts (MW) of “distributed,” renewable generation statewide. Brown sees these sorts of projects as an effective way to create local jobs, while meeting the state’s goal of at least 33 percent of its power coming from renewable sources by 2020.
BASE 2020 calls for nearly 4,000 MW of solar to be installed in the Bay Area, and describes how to inexpensively convert the grid to handle this influx of many new power sources. BASE 2020 also recommends better efficiency programs, as well as “clean energy payment” programs that will pay businesses and residents a fair rate for the excess power they produce.