This week the city council in Palo Alto, California voted in favor of sourcing all the town’s energy needs from clean, renewable sources. Effective immediately, the city will use 100% carbon-free electricity. And best of all, the move towards 100% clean energy won’t cost Palo Alto residents much; The town estimates that the switch will add just $3 per year to the average homeowner’s energy bill.
Palo Alto owns all of its own utilities, which makes it easy for the town to control where its energy is coming from. And it’s one of only a handful of cities across the world that can claim to run on 100% renewable energy. The city currently gets 50% of its power from hydro-electric dams. In addition to hydro energy, the town buys wind and solar energy, and it also uses methane gas that is captured from landfills. If, for some reason, all of the city’s energy needs can’t be filled with renewable sources, the town says that it will use renewable energy certificates to purchase non-renewable power.
“Palo Alto has been a leader in reducing its carbon emissions,“ Mayor Greg Scharff told the Palo Alto Patch, “but when we realized we could achieve a carbon neutral electric supply right now, we were compelled to take action. Climate change is one of the critical challenges of our generation and we hope our actions will inspire others to follow suit.”