SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and two city council members discussed plans to convert all City of Sacramento buildings to run on renewable energy.
Speaking at Sacramento City Hall, Steinberg noted that the city government has been tracking its emissions since 2005 and that the city had made progress in the 17 years since.
“Total city energy use has dropped 34%,” Steinberg said. “Natural gas use has dropped 41%… Overall our city (greenhouse gas) emissions have fallen by 28% over the same period of time.”
According to Steinberg, 63% of the energy the city government uses is “carbon-free.”
Steinberg said the price of the switch to renewable energy was within reach.
“For a million dollars a year —a million dollars a year— we can substitute out all that natural gas, all that nonrenewable energy and we can get to 100% renewable supply from SMUD for everything that the city does,” Steinberg said. “… We can find a million dollars. We can find a million dollars to ensure that we are 100% renewable for city-owned-and-operated buildings and that is what we must do.”
Councilmember Katie Valenzuela expanded on the plan for renewable energy beyond just city buildings and laid out how the city intends to create jobs by prioritizing retrofitting homes.
“An idea that we have been kicking around as a city for a while, that would frankly make us the leader in the state is how do we focus on whole-home retrofits in existing communities,” Valenzuela said. How do we start with the communities that are being hit first and worst by heat waves, by the need for air conditioning, by the need for heating, by the need for better air filtration and weatherization? And provide meaningful good jobs, go in and retrofit those buildings, make them ready for the future climate.
Council member Mai Ving spoke to the importance of prioritizing minority groups with the plan.
“We’re going to do everything that we can to reach our climate goals but we have to make sure that we don’t leave communities behind,” said Ving. “… We have to make sure that our low-income communities, our limited English proficient communities understand what is happening and that they have the resources they need to ensure that they also don’t get left behind.”
The conference came after Governor Gavin Newsom earlier this month called on the state legislature to fast-track a pathway to 100% clean energy, achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, or carbon neutrality, by 2045, and require a new rule implementing a 3,200 ft buffer zone between oil wells and homes, schools, and parks.