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San Diego Ranks Eighth Nationally in Clean Power Production

  |   Climate Action

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ranked the City of San Diego as the eighth largest green power user in the country in its annual list recognizing agencies for generating power from alternative energy sources, including solar, landfill gas, hydro-electric, and wastewater methane energy systems.


“We’re constantly looking for new ways to lead by example and use innovative technology to expand our use of renewable energy,” said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “We’re marching toward our goal of 100 percent renewable energy and this ranking reflects the significant progress San Diego is making to build a cleaner and more sustainable future for the next generation.”


The EPA’s “Top 30 On-Site Generation” list ranks San Diego eighth nationally, with more than 51 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power produced annually. The EPA estimates San Diego’s green power production is powering 28 percent of its total municipal electric power needs – the equivalent of electricity necessary to power 5,000 homes.


San Diego is among the best in the country among the 1,400 agencies surveyed within the EPA’s Green Power Partnership, a voluntary program that encourages organizations to use renewable energy production as a way to reduce environmental impacts.


“By making the choice to use clean, renewable energy, the City is more sustainable,” said Environmental Services Director Mario Sierra. “Using green power is a sound business decision and an important tool in reducing one’s carbon footprint in the fight against climate change.”


Green power is zero-emissions electricity that is generated from renewable resources like wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass, and low-impact hydro. Using green power helps build demand for the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and helps users reduce their carbon footprints.


Increasing the use of clean, renewable energy sources will help meet the ambitious goals in the City’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for using 100 percent renewable energy citywide and cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2035.


In recent years, the City has focused on increasing its use of renewable energy sources, as well as installing and retrofitting equipment that will reduce the total energy load required to supply energy and reach its renewable energy goals faster, including:


  • Expanding the gas collection system at the Miramar Landfill to generate additional electricity
  • Installing San Diego’s “Smart” Adaptive Control Street Lighting retrofit plan to install 14,000 energy efficient and smart street lights citywide;
  • Adding solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to 19 City facilities, creating approximately 4,100 kW of power;
  • Continuing the process of purchasing more renewable energy for municipal operations;
  • Utilizing Miramar Landfill gas-to-power at the North City Pure Water Small Power Facility by early 2022 with an estimated 15.4 megawatts (MW) of power generated annually;
  • Completing the North City Pure Water Solar PV project to generate an additional 680 kW of power annually; and
  • Generating 1.6 MW of power from Miramar Landfill’s methane gas at the City’s Metropolitan Bio-solids Center.


“We are coordinating our efforts with several departments to implement several green power projects that will benefit the City in many ways in addition to the energy savings,” said the City’s Environmental Services Department Deputy Director Jack Clark.


The City’s Environmental Services Department, in particular, is working toward achieving a legacy of energy efficiency. Measures include:


  • Capturing 80 percent of remaining landfill emissions by 2020 and 90 percent by 2035;
  • Presenting a Residential Energy Conservation and Disclosure Ordinance and a Municipal Energy Strategy and Implementation Plan to City Council;
  • Supporting Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing to facilitate residential and commercial property upgrades;
  • Expanding the Green Business program to increase energy efficiency education and resources to businesses within City of San Diego; and
  • Providing weatherization and other energy efficiency upgrades for low and moderate income households through Community Development Block Grant funding.


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