Environmental Victory in California: Marin County Chooses 100% Renewable Energy

Environmental Victory in California: Marin County Chooses 100% Renewable Energy

This fall, Marin became the first county in the state to have 100% renewable electricity for all of its county, town, and city municipal accounts. Together, all 12 municipalities have eliminated an estimated 3,570 metric tons of pollution, or the EPA equivalent of removing 764 cars from the road in one year.

Belvedere was the first of Marin’s municipalities to opt up to Deep Green, MCE’s 100% renewable energy service, in 2010. This was closely followed by opt ups from Fairfax (2012), San Anselmo (2014), and Sausalito (2014). This year Corte Madera, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Novato, Ross, San Rafael, Tiburon, and the County of Marin joined the movement to purchase 100% pollution-free electricity for all public buildings, streetlights, and other civic accounts.

“Not only does this contribute more renewable energy to California’s electrical grid, but half of the Deep Green premium collected goes towards building local solar projects in our service area, like MCE Solar One, a 60-acre solar project in Richmond that’s nearing completion,” said Dawn Weisz, CEO of MCE. “Marin is making a significant contribution to the state’s requirement of 100% renewable energy use by 2045. The county has shown that on a local level, we can not only help achieve California’s goal ahead of schedule, we can demonstrate the urgency of acting on climate change now.”

Municipal adoption of 100% renewable electricity was a catalyst for inspiring local residents and businesses to opt up as well. In Marin County, enrollments in Deep Green have increased 62% in just 10 months, from 2.7% (2,378 accounts) in January, to over 4% (3,852 accounts) as of October 2017. Marin County homes, businesses, and municipal accounts make up over half of all Deep Green customers in MCE’s entire service area. As of September 2017, MCE has reached its goal of having 5% of its total electricity load enrolled in Deep Green, 7 years ahead of its original 2025 target.

Marin County’s Climate Action Plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 1990 levels – double the State’s reduction target – in 2020. Together, Marin County communities have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 15% compared to 2005 levels.

Many environmental groups and activists played key roles in providing information to the City and Town Councils, and the County Board of Supervisors, including Environmental Forum of Marin and 350Marin members, Sarah Loughran and Helene Marsh, as well as the Marin Conservation League, Citizen’s’ Climate Lobby (Marin Chapter), Resilient Neighborhoods, OFA Marin, Cool the Earth, Coalition for a Livable Marin, Marin School of Environmental Leadership, Strategic Energy Innovations, Sustainable Marin, Sierra Club (Marin Group), Sustainable San Rafael, Sustainable Novato, Sustainable Fairfax, Fairfax Climate Action Committee, Mainstreet Moms (West Marin), Mill Valley Community Action Network, and CA Interfaith Power and Light.

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