The Albany Climate Action Committee (CAC) met twice in February and March to discuss a range of issues including an update on East Bay Community Energy, potential recommendation of The Climate Center’s Climate Safe California Campaign, and the committee’s 2021-23 work plan.
CAC Sustainability Coordinator Elizabeth (Lizzie) Carrade described East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) as “our community choice aggregation that provides clean electricity to Alameda county residents.” Albany has been a part of EBCE since 2016.
In 2018, Albany City Council voted for all EBCE accounts to move to Brilliant 100, a clean energy alternative to PG&E at the same price point. However, in 2020 EBCE determined that although more environmentally conscious, Brilliant 100 wasn’t a good financial option for the city.
Following the CAC recommendation to the City Council, the EBCE Board voted to maintain Brilliant 100 with a subsidy until December 21, 2021. In the meantime Albany must designate a new default plan to replace Brilliant 100.
The remaining options are Bright Choice, an inexpensive 80% carbon-free plan, and Renewable 100, a 100% renewable but more expensive energy plan compared to PG&E.
“EBCE Renewable 100 is 100% solar and wind powered and is the best environmentally. Renewable 100 is more expensive than Brilliant 100 and PG&E. This is a small premium to pay for a large environmental gain,” LWVBAE Climate team leader Eric Arens said.
In the February 17th meeting, Ellie Cohen, a climate commissioner from San Anselmo, presented The Climate Center’s Climate Safe California Campaign for Albany City Council to potentially endorse.
The plan’s objective is to get greenhouse gasses 80% below 1990 levels by 2030, an acceleration of Governor Schwarzenegger’s 2005 Executive Order to reach the same goal by 2050. To reach this goal the center proposes actions such as accelerating the phase-out of fossil fuel use, investing in clean energy storage, and funding climate action by leveraging private sector money.
Arens said he believes that this new timeline (2050 to 2030) is possible, and offered what he thought would be necessary in order for it to be achieved.
“Moving the goal for 2050 to 2030 is possible, but most cars and most heating and cooling equipment in buildings would have to be replaced by electric equipment. Cars and heating and cooling equipment have life spans of 10 to 15 years. If 2030 were the deadline, a lot of machinery would have to be replaced before it breaks down.”
Following the presentation, the Albany CAC agreed to recommend that Albany City Council endorse the plan. If the Council is to endorse the Climate Safe California plan, it will do so along with 900 organizations.
The committee also discussed their new website, carbonfreealbany.org, which is a user-friendly online resource working to bring Albany to carbon neutrality by December 2021.
Finally, the respective meetings were used to begin outlining the Climate Action Committee work plan, an opportunity for the committee to make a list of priorities to present to the City Council in late spring.
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