California's capitol buildings move to 100% renewable energy


California Governor Jerry Brown has been no slacker in pushing the state to transition to renewable energy. Less than a week after his ambitious 50% renewable portfolio standard passed through the California legislature, the state's Department of General Services (DGS) announced that it will purchase 100% of the electricity for state buildings in downtown Sacramento from renewables.

This will be accomplished through Sacramento municipal utility SMUD's Greenergy program. DGS will be the largest subscriber to Greenergy, which sources electricity from a mix of local hydro, biomass, wind and solar projects. SMUD's Stone Lakes solar project will be one of the sources that supplies the DGS contract.

All in all, DGS estimates that it will buy 108 gigawatt-hours of renewable energy over the three-year contract, equivalent to the electricity use of roughly 3,000 homes. This will put the agency as the largest green power user among local governments in California, second only to Illinois in state rankings, and among the top 50 national green power users.

Participation in the program will incur a cost of $216,000 annually, which will ultimately be borne by taxpayers. DGS says that the move is part of efforts by the state to meet Governor Brown's renewable energy and climate goals.

The leadership shown by California's state government includes not only embracing renewables in the electricity sector, but also electrifying transportation. A day after the DGS announcement, Envision Solar announced that it has delivered the first of its portable EV ARC electric vehicle (EV) chargers to the California Department of Transportation.

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