Meetings: Climate Action Now holds public meetings to highlight special events regarding climate change issues. All are welcome.
Link to our new facebook page!
Go to WasteNot Page for what to recycle and what not to recycle information
Rise Gold is trying to get the Idaho-Maryland Mine operating again. Many community impacts!
Go to Education -Health and Climate Change page for what you can do to reduce health impacts of CC
Renewable Energy and Energy Resilience for Nevada County
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently released the most comprehensive climate change report ever on the state of Earth's climate and how human activities affect it. Here are some of the key findings noted:
Earth has warmed nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the Industrial Revolution began
All global warming is due to human activities
Sea-level rise and glacier melt are now virtually irreversible
Escape from human-caused climate change is no longer possible
Climate change is now affecting every continent, region and ocean on Earth
Carbon dioxide levels today are higher and rising faster than at any time in at least the past two million years
Extreme weather events are more frequent as a result of the climate crisis
The report states that to stabilize the climate, carbon emissions must reach net zero much sooner than 2050. Near term goals should cut carbon emissions by a minimum of 50% by 2030. This can be accomplished only by dethroning oil, coal, and gas as the central energy sources powering the global economy
California and Clean, Renewable Energy
California’s Senate Bill 100 expanded California’s clean electricity goals to 60% renewable electricity by 2030 and 100% renewable and carbon neutrality by 2045. To achieve carbon neutrality, an organization must purchase carbon offsets that result in carbon reductions. This offsets fossil fuels, but does not eliminate them.
The California Energy Commission (CEC) on August 11 adopted energy efficiency standards to reduce GHG emissions for newly constructed and renovated buildings that stakeholders say are the country's first statewide building code that strongly incentivizes all-electric construction.
California Power Mix
The main source of electricity in Nevada County is from PG&E, whose source is less than 50% renewable. So how does the County transition to 100% renewable electricity?
Energy Action Plans
Nevada City, Grass Valley and Nevada County all have adopted Energy Action Plans that call for citizen voluntary actions to meet their goals, with only the California Building Standards forcing mandatory actions. These plans stress dollar savings from reduced electricity and gas use in addition to reducing GHG emissions. The focus is on rooftop solar, building retrofitting and new homes meeting state standards. Working groups help by designing information for the general public of available aids to help met goals.
Unfortunately there is little help available to determine if the goals will have been met. And the plans, if successful, are still a long way from meeting the U.S. and California climate timelines.
There are hurdles to meeting these goals:
All buildings are not situated to be able to use solar.
Many building units are leased and don’t pay for electricity separately
New CPUC rate requirements being considered would make it too costly to purchase new solar panels. A proposed fixed charge per month of up to $85 would offset any rate advantage that solar has.
Building retrofitting for energy efficiency is very important but can be too costly for most families and businesses.
New building code requires homes to be electric-ready, with dedicated 240-volt outlets but as of now, natural gas is still allowed.
A solar farm to offset city electricity use has been proposed for Nevada City Old Airport site, but without a buyer of the energy and the problem of PG&E connection costs for the solar farm has stalled this option.
So how do we overcome these participation hurdles to reach renewable energy goals? I feel the best option is to join a Community Choice Aggregation.
Community Choice Aggregation
A community alternative to engage all its citizens is to form or join a Community Choice Aggregation or CCA. In 2021 182 cities and counties in California are members of 23 CCAs.
So what are Community Choice Aggregations?
They are local, not-for-profit, public agencies in California, that allow cities, counties, and some special districts, to sum up the buying power of individual customers within their areas in order to secure energy supply for its customers. These contracts can include local solar or wind farms and hydropower to reach renewable goals of their communities.
Why are CCA’s So Desirable?
Operation decisions are made by local elected officials
As non-profits, CCAs offer stable, cheaper electricity rates
Revenues stay at home and support local economies
Rapid switch to cleaner power supply and significant GHG reductions
A captive market where all customers in the area are automatically enrolled in the CCA.
Customers do have an individual opt-out provision.
CCAs will have funds available for energy efficiency and innovative energy programs like energy storage and EV charging stations
Once established, CCAs become the default service provider of the power mix delivered to the customers in its area. In a CCA service territory, PG&E usually continues to own and maintain the transmission and distribution infrastructure, metering, and billing. CCA electric generation charges appear as a new section of customer bill replacing PG&E’s generation charge; all other PG&E charges remain the same.
Communities do not have to hold a referendum to start or join a CCA. Local elected officials authorize participation in a CCA by a simple majority vote on a local Ordinance or Resolution. Each community has representation on a Board of Directors that makes CCA decisions. The California Public Utility Commission certifies the CCA Plan and oversees the utility/CCA relationship.
Local sources of power for a CCA could include an old city airport solar farm, NID hydropower, and municipal solar power.
CCA alternatives for Nevada County and its cities to consider include:
Form a CCA that would include all citizens of western Nevada County.
It is estimated it would cost up to $3 million to form a CCA. It is thus highly unlikely the County and municipalities could form their own.
Join an existing CCA
Butte Choice Energy is currently being organized for Butte County and Chico.
Valley Clean Energy is the electric generation provider for Davis, Woodland, Winters and unincorporated Yolo County.
Pioneer Energy is a partnership between the cities of Placer County and Placer County. It currently does not have a goal for 100% renewable energy but must comply with State Renewable Portfolio Standards. Current power content is 33% renewable.
To meet the California goals it means that we must join a CCA that has a goal of 100% clean, renewable energy.
Join a CCA that could be offered by NID and its hydropower division.
NID could set up a CCA that would cover all of its current water customers and other county residents using its hydropower as a base power option. As current contracts with PG&E expire, more NID hydropower would become part of the portfolio. PG&E would still own transmission and distribution lines.
Or Remain with PG&E
PG&E would still be responsible for the power supply and meeting the RPS standards, such as 60% renewable by 2030.
Next Steps for Nevada County include:
Form a citizen CCA committee
Committee to meet with NID to determine their interest in forming a CCA
Committee and municipal representatives to meet with existing CCAs to determine feasibility of joining them
Set up CCA workshops and public meetings to get public input
Make a decision on CCA participation
Participating in a CCA would solve the problem of all community members being able to participate in saving money while helping reach 100% renewable energy for the community.
But what about energy resilience needed to respond to PG&E shutoffs and other emergencies?
Energy resilience is ensuring a citizen or business or community to have a reliable, regular supply of energy and contingency measures in place in the event of a power failure.
Resilience issues include power surges, weather, natural disasters, accidents and equipment failure. Many people have turned to diesel or gas generators for backup, but this add to carbon emissions.
With future goals for electric cars, all-electric new houses, and retrofitted homes with electricity replacing gas appliances and heating, the California Energy Grid will have to supply more power. This can come from new, large Utility generation plants alone or supplemented by distributed energy resources (DER).
A distributed energy resource (DER) is a small-scale unit of power generation that operates locally and is connected to a larger power grid at the distribution level.
DERs include solar panels, backup storage, micro and macro grids, electric vehicles and automatic controllable loads, such as HVAC systems and electric water heaters.
Interestingly, energy efficiency from retrofitting is considered a DER because it reduces the need for energy from a distant source.
Making full use of distributed energy resources will lower the costs needed to meet the California goal of carbon neutrality by 2045.
These DER’s help to be a resilient supply of energy, but what can be done for power outages?
The Value of Storage
Energy storage technologies have the capacity to benefit each segment of the power system:
Keep critical equipment online during power disruptions
Reduce utility bills and generate revenue
Reliable backup power during severe weather and other blackouts
Reduce utility bills and generate revenue
Solar plus Storage
Energy resilience has been the primary driver for residential solar + storage projects, as nearly all solar systems shutdown when a grid outage occurs.
Time of day demand related utility charges have been a driving force for storage adoption among commercial properties. While solar can intermittently reduce demand for electricity from the power grid during the day, only storage can reliably provide electricity during specific periods of peak energy demand.
Batteries can be charged from the grid to provide hours or even days of backup power, depending on the size of the battery system relative to the electrical loads being supported by it.
One solution for backup storage for PG&E outages is lithium ion battery power stations. Their sole use is to power devices and appliances during shutoffs. No gas, no fumes, just plug and play. Recharge from portable solar panel or car battery
Rise Gold Mine
I would be remiss not to mention the impact of the proposed Rise Mine.
The February 2020 Rise Gold mining air quality report stated that the electricity consumption would be approximately 50,000 megawatt-hours per year.
This projected yearly mine electricity usage is greater than the yearly amount of Nevada County electricity for non-residential use.
The mine output of 50,000 mWh would equal the electricity use of 5,575 households.
When you look at the estimated jobs created by mining, literally ANY OTHER INDUSTRY OUT OF 19 OTHERS WOULD BE BETTER…for either total direct jobs, total indirect jobs, or total locally induced ‘downstream’ jobs.
The Rise Gold electricity use would make the Nevada County Energy Action Plan’s electricity savings objectives impossible to meet as well as double current non-residential emissions.
Finally, the Project will not help with water efficiency, or reduce water use for the county. It instead increases county water use substantially, counter to the EAP goal of reducing water use countywide and encouraging smart efficient use of precious water resources.
Each of you can help meet the climate challenge:
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer to work on the energy action plans or pursuing Community Choice Aggregation.
Go to www.MineWatchNC.org to find out how you can help Stop the Mine.
Go to https://www.mynevadacounty.com/3055/Energy-Efficiency for energy efficiency information.
Go to Education Page to check your climate footprint!
Go to Social Action Page for info on Centennial Dam project.
Go to the Energy Sub-Pages to see information about what individuals, businesses and cities can do to reduce their energy usage and switch to renewable resources.
NC-CAN - A Focus On Youth Actions
More than 15,000 people in Nevada County fall under the age of 14. Another 15,000 are 15-30. “Many of these youth do more than tweet or rally to participate in a good cause. They tether their skills to tangible outcomes and study solutions to local and global challenges,” according to the Nevada County Climate Action Now (NC-CAN) Education Committee conveners, who believe that “the attitudes, actions and initiatives of these youth help them emerge as potential change makers of the future.”
Go to the Education Climate Change Agents Page for report on the 2019 camp.
April 2017 climate march in Nevada City
Summer camp forestry walk and talk
Current NC-CAN Actions
Citizen's Climate Lobby
Bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act reintroduced in House WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 24, 2019 – A group of lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives has reintroduced the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, the groundbreaking bipartisan climate solution to price carbon, give revenue to households and bring greenhouse gas emissions down 90 percent by 2050.
Sponsored by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL), Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), and Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), the bill will create over 2 million new jobs, lower health care costs and promote energy innovation.
“Polling shows that more and more Americans are making the connection between climate change and disasters that claim lives and property,” said Mark Reynolds, executive director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. “As public pressure increases for Congress to take action, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act provides a solution that is both effective and family friendly.
This policy puts a fee on fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. It starts low, at $15 per ton, and grows $10 per ton each year. The money collected from the carbon fee is allocated in equal shares every month to the American people to spend as they see fit. Click here to learn how this climate change legislation works and access the official legislative text of the bill.
The Energy Innovation Act is gaining support among Republicans because of its emphasis on a market-based, revenue-neutral approach. Expert economists who served Presidents Ford, Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43, including Alan Greenspan, Gregory Mankiw, and Ben Bernanke, recently signed a letter in the Wall Street Journal calling for a national carbon fee and dividend policy.
“Climate change is an urgent threat that demands urgent bipartisan action. With this legislation, we are making clear to our colleagues that bipartisanship is possible – even necessary – to address climate change in this Congress,” said Congressman Deutch. “Our plan, to put a price on carbon and return the net revenue back to the American people, offers our Democratic and Republican colleagues an effective approach to significantly reduce carbon emissions without shifting the burden to the American people.
At the time the Energy Innovation Act was introduced late last year, media outlets across the country wrote news articles and editorials in support of the legislation:
The Hill: “The bill will likely be a major marker of where lawmakers from both parties can agree on tackling climate change.” The San Diego Union Tribune: “[This bill] merits careful consideration as a huge and decisive step toward a healthier planet. It’s time for all elected leaders to rise to the occasion and act.” The Florida Sun Sentinel: “We can do something to slow the acceleration of carbon emissions and keep the impact of climate change from growing worse. Deutch’s bipartisan bill is a good place to start.” The bill has also garnered endorsements from former Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean, actor Don Cheadle, Olympic Gold Medal skier Jessie Diggins, as well as mayors and local legislators in cities across the country. See support for Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.
Global Warming’s Terrifying New Chemistry
Our leaders thought fracking would save our climate. They were wrong. Very wrong.
By Bill McKibben
The political hurdles facing a carbon tax - and how to overcome them
Carol Kuzsora at Peoples's climate march
The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here
Update on Nevada County Renewable Energy plans
Currently major cities in Nevada County and the County itself are all in various stages of having completed Greenhouse Gas inventories.
Nevada City has an Energy Action Plan from 2015 and passed a resolution for 100% renewable energy.
Grass Valley has completed an Energy Action Plan, but at this time has no resolution for 100% renewable energy.
Nevada County has completed an Energy Action Plan for its facilities and all of the unincorporated areas of the County. It has no 100% renewable resolution.
Truckee will not be preparing an Energy Action Plan but has a GHG emissions inventory and will be updating its general plan with policies that will support its resolution for 100% renewable energy.
An earlier study was drafted to assess the potential for a midsized utility scale renewable energy project at the site of the Nevada City-owned Old Airport property with a specific focus on solar photovoltaic (PV) generation. Click here to read the proposal
Meeting the 1.5°C warming goal
Under the Paris climate agreement, nations set a goal of limiting warming to 3.6°F, or 2 °C, increase in global average temperatures, with ambitions of a stricter limit of 2.7°F, or 1.5°C of warming. The UN asked the IPCC to figure out what it would take to hit the 1.5°C target, and what’s in store for the world if we did pull it off.
Staying at or below 1.5°C requires slashing global greenhouse gas emissions 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050. Current level is 37 billion tons of CO2 each year.
We have just 12 years to make massive and unprecedented changes to global energy infrastructure to limit global warming to moderate levels, the United Nation’s climate science body said in a monumental new 2018 report released Sunday.
By 2030 the world must triple emission reductions to reach 2 degrees centigrade and reduce 5 times to reach 1.5 degrees centigrade.
In 2015 Obama said the United States would cut its emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025. Trump is pulling us out of the agreement in November 2020
In 2018 California passed SB100 which is to achieve a 50% renewable resources target by December 31, 2026, and to achieve a 60% target by December 31, 2030. This bill states that it is the policy of the state that eligible renewable energy resources and zero-carbon resources supply 100% of retail sales of electricity to California end-use customers and 100% of electricity procured to serve all state agencies by December 31, 2045. Governor Brown also announced an executive order directing California to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 and to be net greenhouse gas negative thereafter. The order will require California to undertake additional decarbonization efforts, such as capturing and sequestering carbon in soil and building materials.
In selecting a GHG reduction goal for 2030, the Energy Commission staff is recommending a stay-the-course, 46 million metric ton (MMT) target, the same target the Commission used before the passage of SB 100. That target and the accompanying Reference System Portfolio will put California far behind the curve in 2030 when electricity demand is expected to accelerate due to growth of electric vehicles and electrification of other sectors of the economy. The Reference System Portfolio is also seriously flawed because it fails to consider or model low cost hybrid resources, like solar paired with battery storage, as new candidate resources that should be procured. With the risk of catastrophic wildfires and other climate disasters increasing, California cannot afford delays in implementing SB 100. Vote Solar and many other parties to the Commission’s Integrated Resource Planning proceeding have called on the Commission to adopt a significantly lower 2030 target of 30 MMT, which was previously modeled by the Commission staff and, if adopted, will provide much more confidence that California can get to the zero carbon emissions goal by 2045.
California 2017 GHG emissions by sector:
Electricity in state 9%
Electricity imported 6%
Building Energy Efficiency Standards goals
2013 ~ 30% more efficient than 2006 code
2016 ~ 28% more efficient than 2013 code
2019 ~ 7% more efficient than 2016 code
7% without PVs and 53% of entire house with PVs
2016 ~ 5% more efficient than 2013 code
2019 ~ 30% more efficient than 2016
Nevada County Energy Action Plans
Nevada City Energy Action Plan goal of 28% electricity reduction by 2020 and natural gas use by 10%. Ensure the transition to 100% renewable energy for its community electricity supply from PG&E and independent providers by 2030 and 100% Renewable Energy by 2050.
Grass Valley Energy Action Plan goal of 36% electricity reduction by 2035 and natural gas use by 29%.
Nevada County Energy Action Plan goal of 51% electricity reduction by 2035 and natural gas use by 30%.
The California Climate Center Goals for California
Climate-safe California Rapid Decarbonization Campaign.
California measured emissions in 1990 were 431 million metric tons (MMT)
California actual measured emissions in 2017 were 424 MMT
California goal is 40% below 1990 by 2030 (259 MMT)
The Campaign goal is 80% below 1990 by 2030 (86 MMT)
This also includes sequestration of 100 million metric tons per year though healthy soils and habitat restoration for a net of minus 14 metric tons per year.
Earth Day 2030: California Celebrates Reaching Net-Negative Emissions Nation & World Collaborating for Speed & Scale Climate Action
Today, Earth Day 2030, we celebrate the deep systemic changes we have collectively made for a healthy, equitable, and climate-safe future. We reflect back on an exceptional ten years of climate action. The decade began with a nightmare, COVID-19, which woke us up to the deadly consequences of ignoring science. We quickly realized that we must heed the warning of climate experts and take immediate, bold action to avert climate catastrophe. It took an exponentially growing body of diverse advocates putting pressure on policymakers to create bold change in line with the science. COVID-19 showed us how quickly and dramatically we could change government policies, unleash market forces, and create opportunities for everyone to participate in a climate-safe economy.
Today we look back on our many achievements, including:
California accelerated the phase-out of fossil fuel development, production, and use. Legislation enacted in the early 2020s is showing enormous benefits for health, the environment and the economy as the state halted all new investments in fossil fuel infrastructure and began rapidly phasing-out fossil fuel-powered cars, trucks, buses, trains, and equipment. We dramatically increased investments in public transportation, housing near jobs, and innovative programs that reduced toxic air pollution, especially for frontline communities. The state also enacted zero-emissions building codes and began phasing out methane gas. We are grateful to the workers whose livelihoods were dependent on fossil fuel industries for making this rapid transition to a 100% GHG-free, clean energy economy possible.
We are rapidly drawing down carbon from the atmosphere through sequestration on natural and working lands for net-negative emissions, making sequestration greater than emissions. Ranchers, farmers, and public resource managers were incentivized to implement climate-friendly habitat and soil protection and restoration programs on millions of acres from the Sierras to the sea. Farmers led the way in reducing emissions while supporting food and water security with climate-friendly, regenerative production.
Unavoidable damage from extreme climate events meant that California became heavily invested in community resilience and protecting the most vulnerable, lower-income communities. Legislation enacted in the early 2020s funded and supported California's counties and cities to develop and implement clean, local, decentralized, resilient energy and storage, building independent capacity to address climate and other emergencies. Major new state programs funded and supported local climate emergency response and preparedness measures, including early warning systems, resilience centers, and public education programs that are now benefitting all Californians.
California created new financing mechanisms, from frequent flyer fees and carbon taxes to private sector investments that generated the billions of dollars needed annually for speed and scale climate solutions.
Millions of people took action to bring about the changes in policy that accelerated our transition. On this Earth Day 2030, we commit to continuing our efforts to secure a healthy, vibrant, and equitable future for all.
Nevada County Climate Action Now