Nevada City Energy Planning
In 2008, Nevada City installed 48 photovoltaic panels that generate 9 kilowatts of electricity on the roof of City Hall. The city then had three solar systems - others are at the city pool at Pioneer Park and the maintenance yard that together generate about 23 kilowatts of electricity. That’s about 30 percent of the power the city requires, saving about $6,900 yearly. The city systems will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 18,000 pounds each year. This equates to planting about 1,500 trees each year or not driving an average sedan 65,000 miles. A rebate from PG&E of $43,473 helped finance the photovoltaic panels.
In 2015 Nevada City approved the Nevada City Energy Action Plan (EAP), a roadmap for expanding energy-efficiency and renewable-energy efforts in the City.
Click here for the full plan.
2017 Nevada City Resolution
NOW, THEREFORE, the City Council of Nevada City does hereby resolve as follows:
Renewable Energy Goals:
100% Renewable Electricity by 2030 - Implement the City’s Energy Action Plan for electricity efficiency to reduce its use 28% by 2020. Ensure the transition to 100% renewable energy for its community electricity supply from PG&E and independent providers by 2030.
100% Renewable Energy by 2050 - Phase-out fossil fuels in all sectors including electrification of transportation and heating systems. Support Federal and State programs for major investments in clean and renewable energy, storage and grid infrastructure to ensure reliability and affordability.
Progress on these transitions will be published at least every other year starting in 2018.
The EAP builds upon energy-efficiency efforts begun in 2010 and work conducted by Sierra Business Council (SBC) from 2010-2014. The document focuses on three energy use sectors within the community – residential, non-residential and municipal. The Plan only evaluates energy consumed by buildings and municipal operations; other energy consuming sectors such as transportation, solid waste, etc. are not addressed but could be at a future date. Nevada City owns/operates the City Hall, the City Yard, the Fire Station and Fire House, public parks, museums, water delivery, a water treatment plant, a wastewater treatment plant, streetlights and park lighting.
The two primary energy sources consumed by the three community sectors are electricity and natural gas which is distributed by PG&E. To date the City’s energy efficiency efforts are saving over 4.3 million kWhs of electricity and 32 thousand therms of natural gas annually. The inventory and forecast work conducted by SBC identified areas where significant opportunities exist for additional energy savings. The EAP specifies the actions needed to achieve increased energy savings for residents, businesses and the local municipal government.
The Plan goals address five key areas:
- Energy efficiency in existing structures
- Energy performance in new construction
- Expansion of renewable energy options
- Energy efficiency in municipal operations
- Water conservation which reduces energy needed to transport and treat water
The strategies focus on voluntary measures that can be taken by residents, businesses and the local government. Key components include developing and disseminating information on existing rebate and incentive programs; public outreach via the City’s website and printed materials; training for staff, contractors and developers; and partnerships with PG&E and local and regional organizations. Energy reduction performance indicators and targets are established for each group of strategies. If all the actions are implemented, the EAP would reduce electrical energy used in 2020 by 28% and natural gas use by 10% helping to reach the California RPS of 33% renewables by 2020.
American Solar Transformation Initiative (ASTI) provides no-cost planning assistance to local governments in California to develop a Solar Roadmap for their communities.The ASTI team has worked in close coordination with the City to develop a customized, interactive solar roadmap containing guidance on how to transform the local solar market. Each recommendation in the roadmap is supported with relevant reports, case studies, examples, and templates to support local and regional implementation efforts.
Reaching Nevada City’s goal of 28% less electricity by 2020 and 100% renewable electricity by 2030
2020 - The Energy Action Plan lays out all of the strategies and associated numbers for reaching its 28% reduction, so it is required to analyze the current status of these numbers and then calculate what remains to be done.
2030- 100% renewable electricity
Option 1 - PG&E has a company-wide projected goal of 50% renewables by 2020 and 60% by 2030 as set by the state. If Nevada City is to reach 100% renewable electricity by 2030, it has to account for the other 40%. This will come from individual solar panels, city allocated NID hydroelectric power, and any solar farms or wind farms not owned by PG&E.
Option 2 - Form a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA). Then all electricity would be purchased by the CCA with its goal of purchasing 100% renewables by 2030. So it would include local production of electricity from solar panels and solar farms, and local hydroelectric power purchases from NID, and in addition 100% renewable electricity obtained from independent providers. For those residents that either opt to stay with PG&E and don’t use their 100% Solar Choice program or opt for less than 100% from the CCA, additional renewable electricity will have to be fed to the transmission lines.
Click for CCA explanation.
2050 -100% renewable energy by 2050
Natural gas from PG&E used for heating and cooking will be replaced in homes and buildings by zero emission electric heating systems or use of biogas, biomethane, or any gas that is produced by a process using electricity from an eligible renewable energy resource. It will require a state and national investment in grants to retail electric suppliers; retail natural gas suppliers; States; and Indian tribes. Funds may be used to replace any fossil fuel heating system with a zero-emission heating system.
Water Energy Conservation
There is significant energy used in the transportation and treatment of water. As California approaches its 5th year of drought, reducing water waste helps us conserve the limited water we have, as well as save the energy needed to deliver it.