Green, Greener, Greenest
Santa Clara leads the way in environmental best practices
In July 2007, the City Council approved an implementation plan and timeline for the City of Santa Clara Principles & Priorities for 2007-09. Near the top of the list was an affirmation of the City's commitment to reduce greenhouse gases and to further develop sustainable renewable energy and green power resources.
This action is the latest in a long-term effort to adopt environmental best practices throughout the City that have ranged from planting more trees to establishing one of the nation's first solar utilities in 1975, and introducing the Bay Area's first recycled water program nearly twenty years ago. Santa Clara has won many awards for its environmental-friendly initiatives, but the more significant accomplishment is the reduced impact on scarce natural resources and the protection of the environment for future generations.
Specific action items goals adopted by the City Council include:
- Reduce CO2 emissions from City Hall buildings by 10% by 2010, hold fleet vehicle fuel use steady through 2010, and increase the number of high efficiency City vehicles. Currently 69% of the City's fleet of non-public safety vehicles are alternative fuel/hybrid vehicles.
- Continue to encourage recycling by residents and businesses, and expand recycling at City facilities and Citywide special events. Recently, Santa Clara added curbside residential battery collection to its recycling program.
- Seek additional ways to expand renewable energy, such as the installation of a photovoltaic system over a City-owned public parking area at the Great America Train Station that will providing renewable energy directly into the electric system. One goal is to increase participation in the Santa Clara Green Power to 10% by December 31, 2007. Currently 8% of the municipal electric utility's customers have signed on.
- Maintain Santa Clara's status as a Tree City USA, a distinction it has earned for more 20 consecutive years.
A significant 'clean energy' milestone was achieved earlier this year with the opening of the Big Horn Wind Power Project in the state of Washington, a wind farm that is able to generate 200 megawatts of electricity. It is sold to M-S-R Public Power Agency, a joint powers authority of three municipal utilities, including the City of Santa Clara's Electric Utility/Silicon Valley Power. The addition of power from Big Horn means that 30% of Silicon Valley Power's energy portfolio is from eligible renewable sources, with more than 50% coming from carbon free resources, much better than the State of California renewable percentage. The City of Santa Clara is committed to the reduction of greenhouse gases, and supports the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency.
The City of Santa Clara appreciates the support of its residents and the business community by their participation in programs that support environmental best practices. The City of Santa Clara has created a partial list of programs that exhibit the community's commitment toward environmental best practices. For more information, contact the City Manager's Office at 615-2210.