PUBLIC SECTOR CLIMATE TASK FORCE
What are we doing?
Formed in May 2007, the Joint Venture Public Sector Climate Task Force includes representatives from every city, town and county in Silicon Valley, plus several special districts and other public agencies. The group also includes advisory members from local organizations working on sustainability and energy conservation and several affiliate members from for-profit companies in relevant sectors.
To develop effective collaborative solutions for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from public agency operations and to provide a neutral forum for city and county government agencies and special districts to learn from each other and from others about climate protection programs.
Goals of the Public Sector Climate Task Force are to:
- Accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by public agencies.
- Use demand aggregation to conserve scarce public resources.
- Encourage and support the growth of the clean technology industry.
- Provide leadership for the region and the world.
Under its action plan, the task force seeks to:
- Conduct inventories of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Develop a vision for the region and set goals.
- Identify and analyze specific opportunities to reduce emissions.
- Form procurement pools to obtain the best prices on new technologies.
- Identify and evaluate financing options.
- Pilot solutions and share experiences.
- Measure progress toward our goals.
Why are we doing it?
The residents of Silicon Valley are worried about the impact of climate change. They are taking action at home, and they expect public institutions to do the same. Why? Because public sector leaders manage office buildings, community centers, waste and water treatment plants, streetlights, data centers, acres of landscaping, and fleets of vehicles - all of which add up to a large carbon footprint.
There are many tools and technologies for reducing emissions, but they tend to be expensive: solar panels, hybrid cars, bio-diesel trucks and buses, and waste handling and methane capture equipment all require substantial long-term capital investment. But because local government faces serious fiscal constraints, resources are not available for everyone to mount projects of this nature. For that reason, Joint Venture is working with Silicon Valley's local governments to develop collective approaches that pool demand, concentrate labor, and save money.
The collective approach also creates a more stable demand and stimulates local markets, becoming a powerful tool for local economic development.
The Task Force includes representatives from every city, town and county in Silicon Valley, plus several special districts and other public agencies. The group also includes members from local organizations and companies in related sectors. It is co-chaired by Erin Cooke, City of Cupertino, and Brian Moura, City of San Carlos.
What are the latest developments?
- We have completed Phase One of a multi-agency procurement of solar power for local public agencies using Power Purchase Agreement financing. The project, encompassing public agencies in 2 counties with dozens of installation sites, is the nation’s largest public sector renewable energy procurement collaborative.
- Phase One of the project will generate more than 14 MW of power at peak capacity, the equivalent of planting 2,800 acres of trees, providing enough power for 2,700 average-sized homes. In total, these sites will more than double the entire solar installed capacity for nonresidential systems.
- The project is generating $70 million in local economic activity and more than 300 jobs, and has won several local, state, and national awards.
- In November the Joint Venture board voted to launch Phase Two of the Renewable Energy Procurement Project, which extends its footprint to the East Bay counties of Alameda and Contra Costa.
- Over a dozen cities and counties on the Task Force are working with Joint Venture in a partnership funded by PG&E to complete government operations emissions inventory updates.
What are the next steps?
- We are holding bi-monthly meetings of sustainability staff members in 44 cities/counties and other public agencies, plus several key advisory and affiliate members, to share best practices related to sustainability work and embark on collaborative projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from public agency operations.
- We are working with the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County on the rollout of RICAPS, their Regionally Integrated Climate Action Planning Suite, a CAP template and set of associated tools.
- Six jurisdictions in Santa Clara County, under the County's leadership, are developing Energy Efficiency Climate Action Plans with the support of PG&E and assistance from Joint Venture.
Where do I find out more?