Santa Clara Approves 33% Renewables Mandate

By Published On: November 21, 2008

The Santa Clara City Council unanimously set for its municipal utility a one-third renewable energy mandate for 2020 a day after the governor announced he was pushing a measure to increase the level of alternative power resources from 20 percent to 33 percent across the state. “This affirmation allows us to get ahead of the curve and secure market opportunities when they arise,” stated John Roukema, director of the city’s power agency--Silicon Valley Power. He noted that the cost of renewable power likely will rise given the governor’s push to increase the statewide alternative power mandate. Renewable resources currently make up 28.5 percent of the city power agency’s portfolio. The energy is predominantly from geothermal power, with additional juice from wind and small hydropower. The challenge for Silicon Valley Power has been to keep increasing its renewable level as demand rises. According to Larry Owens, muni spokesperson, growth has been between 1.5 percent and 3 percent a year. Much of the higher demand has been offset by energy efficiency at large customers, most notably at data centers, he said. Electricity at these energy gobblers has been curbed by circulating outside air to cool the centers instead of air conditioned air. The city vote was taken November 18.

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