NEWS RELEASE: Palo Alto Leading the Charge on CLEAN Programs

March 6, 2012

NEWS RELEASE: Palo Alto Leading the Charge on CLEAN Programs

Silicon Valley leaders approve CLEAN Program to increase local production of cost-effective renewable energy

PALO ALTO, CA – On March 5th, the City Council of Palo Alto, California unanimously approved a Clean Local Energy Accessible Now (CLEAN) Program. The adoption of a CLEAN Program in Palo Alto, a center of clean tech innovation in the heart of Silicon Valley, signals that forward-thinking leaders view CLEAN Programs as an ideal policy for expanding production of cost-effective, clean local energy, while boosting the local economy and increasing energy independence.

The City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) will purchase locally-produced solar energy at a fixed rate of 14 cents per kilowatt-hour for 20 years. In the pilot stage during the remainder of 2012, the CLEAN Program is designed to add 4 megawatts of solar energy to the local grid from medium and large commercial-scale projects. CPAU expects to expand the program size starting in 2013 and may include other types of renewable energy and expand the range of eligible project sizes. More details about Palo Alto CLEAN are available here.

“Palo Alto CLEAN will expand clean local energy production while only increasing the average utility bill by a penny per month,” explained Yiaway Yeh, Mayor of Palo Alto. “The program is a major step towards meeting our goal of supplying 33% of our electricity with renewable energy by 2015 without significant rate increases.”

“Palo Alto CLEAN is another effort by the City of Palo Alto to establish itself as the greenest city in America, while always maintaining a business sensibility. Palo Alto CLEAN will promote the growth of a strong clean energy economy by reducing the time, risks, paperwork, and other costs of selling renewable energy from commercial rooftops and parking lots,” said James Keene, Palo Alto’s City Manager.

“A CLEAN Program is an important step towards greater energy self-reliance. In the long term, generating more clean local energy will allow the City of Palo Alto to provide power for essential services during widespread grid failures,” explained Pat Burt, Palo Alto City Council Member. “Most of all, this program helps show that cities can have clean energy, low rates and a strong economy, all at the same time.”

“Palo Alto has been a leader in renewable energy and energy efficiency, both of which have saved money for our residents and businesses over time,” said Jon Foster, Chair of the Palo Alto Utilities Advisory Commission. “Implementing a CLEAN Program is an excellent way to reduce Palo Alto’s use of fossil fuels in a cost-effective way.”

CLEAN Programs (also known as feed-in tariffs) have been implemented at the local, state, and national level around the world. CLEAN Programs have been proven to be the most effective policy mechanism for driving cost-effective renewable energy deployments, while at the same time strengthening local economies and creating more energy independent communities. The Clean Coalition, a nonprofit organization, recently released the Local CLEAN Program Guide, a free best practices guide designed to help communities evaluate, design, and implement CLEAN Programs.

Craig Lewis, the Executive Director of the Clean Coalition, commented, “Palo Alto CLEAN is a win-win for the entire Palo Alto community. The program is cost-effective, environmentally sustainable, and creates local jobs and investment opportunities for local businesses; and CLEAN Programs start delivering results almost immediately. We expect that Palo Alto’s well-designed program will serve as a widely followed model across the country.”

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John Bernhardt
(703) 963-8750

Posted in California Student Sustainability Coalition Magazine.