San Diego: America’s First 100% Renewable City

Posted April 15, 2016 by Zoe Fishman

There are plenty of reasons why we love hosting Energy Storage North America in San Diego. The sun is always shining, we’re steps away from pristine beaches, and the burritos are delicious and plentiful. But there’s another reason why San Diego is one of our favorite cities and a fitting location for ESNA: San Diego is the largest American municipality to make a legally binding pledge to use 100% renewable energy.
While cities from New York to San Francisco have committed to using more solar and wind power, San Diego is the only city that has passed a legal ordinance. In addition to committing to getting to 100% renewables, the city has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2035. This transition to renewable energy is projected to reduce San Diego’s carbon production by a massive 1.6 million metric tons.
Support for the 100% renewable energy initiative came from a number of different avenues, including San Diego’s Chamber of Commerce, a good example of environmental and business groups working together towards common goals.

Getting to 100%

San Diego already gets over 30% of its energy from renewable energy, and SDG&E is on track to deliver on a 50% renewable target by 2030. However, that still leaves a long way to go to 100% by 2025. The city has announced a few initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including converting 100% of trash trucks to natural gas, recycling 98% of methane from wastewater treatment by 2035, and changing traffic lights to reduce cars idling.
Much of San Diego’s renewable energy will come from solar power -- after all, the city gets over 260 days of sunshine per year. Energy storage will by necessity play a key role in helping to integrate all of the new solar energy on the grid. Today, San Diego is home to over 40 energy storage systems, but more behind the meter and centralized storage will be required to meet the city’s ambitious goals.
To see storage in action across greater San Diego, sign up for a site tour at Energy Storage North America 2016. Tours are available at a range of public and private facilities, from UC San Diego’s microgrid demonstration facility to Mike Hess Brewery intelligent storage system (and beer tasting!). Tours will take place the morning of Tuesday, October 4. Learn more and sign up for site tours here.

Image Source: SolarPro