Here are summaries of eighteen posters presented by community members at the November 2014 Climate Ideas Expo:
Become our own power plant. 2025 goal: net zero Palo Alto. Solar on buildings and parking lots. Solar on all 100+ kw-scale properties. Expanded community solar, accessible to all utility customers. Electrification of all cars and appliances.
Cool City Challenge California. What might a Cool City look like with citizens living low-carbon and green lifestyles in resilient and livable neighborhoods? Behaviors that build up from one household to neighborhood blocks to whole neighborhoods leading to entrepreneurs and leaders responding to consumer shift.
Next Generation Caltrain. Ideas focused on improving CalTrain, including electrification, improved train car design for expanded capacity and faster loading/unloading, transit connections, and funding strategies.
Microgrid at Stanford Research Park. One idea was to complete a demonstration project of a microgrid project with on-site generation, dynamic energy consumption (demand response) and show how community energy scale system could work in Palo Alto. Calculations show more than 200 acres of parking and rooftop PV may be possible, combined with smart inverters directly tied in with energy storage.
Georgetown University Energy Prize. Palo Alto is a participant of the Georgetown University Energy Prize competing against 51 other communities for a $5 million prize to reduce electric and natural gas usage in the residential, multi-family, municipal and schools sectors.
Putting People First (Not Cars). The strategies include bus rapid transit for El Camino Real and Middlefield Road, painted and protected bike boulevards, prioritized and secure bike routes, bike share, LED lighting for bike lanes and transit and frequent local transit coordinated between VTA, shuttles, CalTrain, SamTrans and Marguerite, and a registration fee for gasoline vehicles to be used to support transit.
Revenue Neutral Carbon tax. To change local buying decisions and advance a replicable model for other cities, Palo Alto should enact a revenue-neutral carbon tax. The tax may be phased in over a period of time (e.g., 3-10 years) with pricing that represents a “true” cost of carbon (i.e., over $120/metric ton of CO2e)
Top Transportation Tactics from Fort Collins. Fort Collins CO is focusing on five key areas to reduce vehicle miles traveled by 30% by 2030 and increase electric vehicle adoption rates. Tactics are focused on off-street parking, on-street pricing, coordinated mass transit, fleet electrification, and an open transportation data and mobile transit application.
Carbon Neutral Electricity to Zero Natural Gas for Palo Alto. Replicate our carbon neutral electricity initiative for natural gas: Move from voluntary City of Palo Alto Utilities GreenGas Program to buy offsets or credits to immediately make the entire natural gas supply carbon neutral in Palo Alto. Then design and implement strategies for fuel switching, efficiency and policy drivers to move away from natural gas, and apply the offset investment to finance them.
Go CO2 Free Palo Alto. This is a game and interactive program for Palo Alto residents and businesses to learn about options to lower greenhouse gas reductions. The program includes a dashboard to plan and track individual and program level accomplishments.
Palo Alto’s Carbon Neutral Portfolio. City of Palo Alto Utilities presented information about the path to carbon neutral electricity. Renewable resources include wind and landfill, with solar projects coming online in 2015 and 2016.
Gasoline or Electric? A comparison of costs. This poster showed cost of operating a conventional gasoline vehicle in the range of 11-17 cents per mile, compared with electric vehicles costing 4-6 cents per mile using City of Palo Alto Utility rates.
Palo Alto Solar Projects. City of Palo Alto Utilities Local Solar Plan identifies a set of strategies and initiatives to continue promoting solar. The goal is to increase the penetration of local solar installations from 0.7% of the City’s total energy needs in 2013 to 4% by 2023. Utilities offers rebate programs and payment for electricity generated at customer sites. Upcoming programs include community solar, group-buy down and solar donation program.
Carbon Free Palo Alto. Concepts for carbon neutrality in 10 years or less include fuel switching, end of life program for water heaters (e.g., 24 hour hotline to get an electric replacement), electric vehicle programs (e.g., Drive-EV marketing campaign, EV chargers in every city garage), promoting heat pump technologies and reducing air travel.
Project Green Home. Low impact home designed and built by the Thesen family in Palo Alto to be “zero net energy” and produce as much energy as it consumes. Real life example of how a local home was able to achieve zero net energy.
Sustainable & High Value Transportation (Active Transportation). While electric vehicles are essentially zero emissions, it perpetuates car culture and sprawl. Walking, cycling and public transit needs to be key strategies to improve help, reduce congestion and promote social equity. Electric bikes, and intelligent active transportation systems (e.g., Stanford’s Capri program) are needed.
Mobility as a Service. Concept presented by the City of Helsinki (not present at the workshop) to combine all transportation into one flexible, all-inclusive service. Framework for providing mobility services at a package price per month to enable decreased car ownership, and increase public transportation.
Energy + Household with Zero Annual Energy Bills. A net zero energy household in Cupertino achieved with efficiency, home electrification, automobile electrification and renewable energy. The poster presents steps for others to achieve a net zero energy home.
Downtown Palo Alto Net Zero Energy (DPANZE). The DPANZE initiative is targeting 100 commercial buildings in downtown Palo Alto for net zero energy, and serve as a retrofit example for all of Palo Alto and beyond. In addition to energy efficiency and local renewables, DPANZE will also heavily promote fuel switching to electrify natural gas applications and petroleum-dependent vehicles.