The U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed Willie Phillips as the fifth member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the evening of Nov. 16. There are now three Democratic commissioners. FERC Chair Rich Glick applauded the confirmation, stating the five-member commission “functions best when it has a full complement of Commissioners.” Phillips has served as the D.C. Public Service Commission Chair. Kelly Sheehan, Sierra Club senior director of Energy Campaigns, stated that Phillips “must push the agency to address climate and environmental justice impacts of fracked gas pipelines and export terminals, and accelerate the transition to clean, affordable electricity.” She pointed to spiking natural gas and gasoline prices and more weather extremes.
The City of San Jose aims to be carbon neutral by the end of this decade. “Our vote today is important for our city, for the planet and more importantly, for our children,” Councilmember Pam Foley said during the special city council meeting, SiliconValley.com reported. In 2019, the city emitted 5.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, with the transportation sector producing half and buildings 34% of the emissions.
Peninsula Clean Energy signed a second 15-year agreement for a solar and battery storage project with Arica Solar, LLC. It is 100 megawatts of solar and 50 MW/200 MW hours of four-hour lithium-ion battery storage expected to be online around April 1, 2024. The project will be developed and owned by Clearway Energy Group. The construction will use a project labor agreement with area unions.
An innovative California program, Transformative Climate Communities, could be a national model for climate action, a report from The Greenlining Institute finds. Unlike most government programs, TCC puts communities in charge, giving them the power and resources to fight climate change and build stronger, healthier, more economically resilient communities. “Redlining and environmental racism left communities of color like South Stockton with the worst pollution, the least green space and the fewest resources to cope with climate disasters,” said Michael Tubbs, special adviser to Gov. Newsom. He said local people “know what we need and can lead us to solutions.”