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.
The 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 Kim Springer, County of San Mateo, and Elaine Marshall, City of Sunnyvale.
What are the latest developments?
- We have completed two phases of a collaborative renewable energy procurement project for local public agencies, partnering with the County of Santa Clara on Phase One (the Silicon Valley Collaborative Renewable Energy Procurement, SV-REP), and with the County of Alameda and the Contra Costa Economic Partnership on Phase Two (the Regional Renewable Energy Procurement, R-REP).
- SV-REP has installed more than 11 MW of power at peak capacity on city halls, fire stations, libraries, and other public facilities. This is the environmental equivalent of planting 2,200 acres of trees, or providing enough power for 2,100 average-sized homes. The project generated nearly $50 million in local economic activity and 120 jobs, and has won several local, state, and national awards.
- R-REP, encompassing public agencies across four counties with more than 50 installation sites, is the largest multi-agency collaborative procurement of renewable energy in the country. The project included Alameda County and 18 other local public agencies, and could result in solar installations with up to 31 MW of total power generation potential.
What are the next steps?
- We hold quarterly 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.
- We support our regional partners in developing programs to track greenhouse gas emissions and embark on collaborative projects to address climate change impacts.
- Currently expanding our programmatic focus to include resilience and mitigation activities.
Where do I find out more?
- Kara Gross, , 408-204-1464