The city council of Palo Alto, Calif., has adopted a Carbon Neutral Plan that commits the city to pursuing only carbon-neutral electric resources, such as solar power.
Palo Alto owns all its own utilities, including the electric utility that was founded back in 1900. According to the city, this local control is enabling it to make this decision regarding the source of its electrical power.
The city has in place many contracts for renewable resources in its electric portfolio, including electricity from wind farms, solar arrays and renewable gas captured from landfills. In addition to these renewable resources, about 50% of the city's electric supply portfolio comes from non-carbon-emitting hydro-electric generation.
The city's recent decision to make all its power purchases carbon-neutral will involve continued promotion of energy efficiency, taking advantage of existing carbon-free resources, contracting for new short- and long-term new renewable resources and, if needed, balancing any small percentage of non-renewable power purchased with renewable energy certificates.
The economic impact of being 100% carbon-neutral is estimated to be under $3 annually on the average Palo Altan's electric bill, the city adds.