Legacy of Leading: Palo Alto has a deep history of pioneering new and ambitious approaches to sustainability.
Utility Efforts: By 2012, Palo Alto had reduced the GHG emissions in its electric portfolio through energy efficiency, encouragement of solar photovoltaic panel installations, and adoption of an accelerated Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), as shown in the chart at left.
Carbon Neutral Electricity: As a community, we knew we could do more. In 2013 Palo Alto's City Council adopted the Carbon Neutral Plan that led to 100% carbon neutral electricity through power purchases from carbon free renewable and hydroelectric sources.
Ambitious Climate Targets: The City Council approved the Sustainability and Climate Action Plan (S/CAP), including its main goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2030, which is 20 years earlier than the State of California's goal.
Carbon Neutral Natural Gas: In 2016, the City Council approved the Carbon Neutral Natural Gas Portfolio Plan. This allows the City to provide 100% carbon neutral natural gas as a default to all customers starting July 1, 2017. We calculate annually the amount of GHG emissions associated with natural gas consumption in Palo Alto and purchase offsets to remove an equivalent amount of carbon from the atmosphere.
Electricity from Solar Soars: In 2017, several new large solar contracts came online, and the percentage of Palo Alto's electricity sourced from solar resources increased significantly, from 3% in 2015 to 33% in 2017.
2018 AND BEYOND
Palo Alto's Next Steps: Palo Alto's sustainability efforts will be guided by our Sustainability and Climate Action Plan and the Sustainability Implementation Plans.
Utility as Partner: At the City of Palo Alto Utilities, efficiency is our number one recommendation to minimize the environmental impacts of energy use. We are also working to go beyond gas by facilitating the switch to electric vehicles and high-efficiency electric appliances. Learn more about What's Next.