Carlsbad makes progress with Climate Action Plan

Carlsbad makes progress with Climate Action Plan
Resident solar panel energy capacity is just below the 2035 target date of 25 megawatts, according to the city's CAP administrator. Courtesy photo

CARLSBAD — In its latest Climate Action Plan report, the city is closing in on a major goal.

Mike Grim, the city’s CAP administrator, presented the annual report to the City Council on Sept. 18. He said resident solar panel energy capacity is just below the 2035 target date of 25 megawatts. Residents in Carlsbad have installed thousands of panels, which totals 24,796 MW and is 17 years ahead of the goal.

Grim also highlighted the city’s efforts and its greenhouse gas forecast and targets. According to Grim, the city’s emission inventories is on a downward trend and projected to meet its 2020 goal of 535,763 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent with the target goal of 321,458 by 2035. Grim said the city is expected to be at about 532,175 by 2020, below its target goal. As for those inventories, electricity dropped by about 50,000 as of 2014.

According to figures from 2011, the distribution of emissions in the community came from three main sources — transportation, commercial and residential.

“A large portion of emissions comes from cars, transportation and buildings,” Grim said.

The CAP’s strategies, he added, focus on energy efficiency, renewable energy, transportation, water and public outreach. For example, heating, ventilation and air conditioning units and solar shades were installed at several large city facilities including the Senior Center and Faraday Center.

As for renewable energy, some targets are nearly met and with the recent decision from the state mandating all new home construction requiring solar panels beginning in 2020 (with some exceptions), the city is on the right path, Grim said. Additionally, residents are outfitting existing homes with solar panels, which has been the leading cause for the city nearly meeting its 2035 goal.

Also, the city installed about 10 electric vehicle charging stations, updated some of its fleet to maximize emission controls and has replaced several sewer pumps and a generator to deliver water and wastewater.

“We also completed a study of doing a driving distance analysis to try and find where in the city we might target for future EV charging,” Grim said.

Nonresident solar installations, though, are down, according to the analysis compiled by San Diego Gas & Electric. A total of seven MW is slightly below the CAP projections with a 2035 target of nearly 35 MW.

“We did get quite a bit of solar this reporting period and it wasn’t reflected in this report,” Grim said. “It doesn’t show two developments that were approved this year.”

Using the two projects approved this year, he said the number is more likely around 8.1 MW. The issue, though, is the solar panels and electricity must be connected and fully integrated into the grid, Grim said. Then SDG&E will incorporate those numbers into its report, which is relayed to the city.

The city also requires large commercial projects to install solar even without a city ordinance. Grim said there are several projects in the works and it will increase the solar output in the next year or two due to these steps taken by the city.

“We are anticipating a pretty sharp uptick in non-residential,” he added. “We are also anticipating in the increase in residential once the state law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.”

 

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