San Diego and the Plan for 100% Renewable Energy
As we move further into the 21st century, it has become increasingly important for renewable sources of energy to become more widely used. Fossil fuels and crude oil are non-renewable, and with the growing population and the need for energy, supplies will continue to dwindle. Currently, the United States relies on heavily on coal, oil, and natural gas for energy use. All of these non-renewable sources have become so heavily drawn upon, they are making a drastic impact on the environment. Renewable energy sources like wind and solar can be constantly replenished and used as a responsible source of energy. Here in San Diego, the city has pledged to utilize a 100% renewable energy mix by the year 2035.
This climate change plan was passed with a unanimous vote, and mirrors other plans set forth by other California cities like San Francisco and Santa Cruz. San Diego is actually the first city to have made a renewable energy plan legally binding. The plan was set forth by the City Council in 2015, and looks to be a stimulus to a new market. The plan aims to slice the 13 million-centric carbon imprint in half that San Diego emits every year. It has been projected that moving to renewable energy sources would cut about 1.6 million tons of carbon emissions. Other aspects being changed include adjusting traffic lights to reduce the amount of time vehicles are idling, as well as replacing up to 90-percent of the city’s car fleet with zero-emission electric vehicles.
The plan mirrors several other cities have set forth plans of their own, including New York and San Francisco. As proposed, the plan states that the city would transfer control of energy control from San Diego Gas & Electric, to the city on a more local community scale. Called community choice aggregation, this program has been implemented by local cities in Northern California. Currently, San Diego Gas & Electric purchases all of San Diego’s energy, then distributes it to all of their customers. With the new changes, this purchasing power would be given to the city of San Diego, which would give them greater control over where the city’s energy comes from, how much it will cost, and how much renewable energy is being used.
So how does this affect the people of San Diego? Well, the environmental impact alone will be significant in the long run. Coal and air plants emit large amount of pollution that gets into the air and water, which are known to cause breathing problems, neurological damage, cancer, heart attacks, and a wide range of other serious problems. The pollution pumped into our environment has an affect on all people, and is estimated to cost an average of $74.6 billion every year in health costs. While renewable energy sources still emit some air pollutants, it is significantly less than non-renewable sources. In addition, the economic impact moving to renewable energy will create countless jobs. San Diego is second in when it comes to jobs available in renewable energy, coming in behind Los Angeles.