By Al Sattler, Alternate Chapter Representative
Photo courtesy of Riley Goldfarb
California’s 2020 wildfire season was the worst in recorded history. We can expect more of this: extreme weather events, droughts and fires due to the rapid rate of global warming. The United Nations IPCC’s latest report says we need to transition off of fossil fuels as soon as possible or face a globally disrupted climate. Redondo Beach has taken a step in the right direction.
The Clean Power Alliance (CPA) allows local governments to promote green energy by purchasing and selling electricity to residents as an alternative to traditional utilities. It currently provides power for 32 cities and counties in Southern California. Fifteen of these communities have 100% renewables as the default level, including Culver City, Manhattan Beach, Rolling Hills Estates, Ventura, and Ventura County.
Recently the Redondo Beach City Council considered
setting the default rate for CPA customers to 100% renewable energy. Upgrading to 100% renewable electricity is one of the easiest and most effective mechanisms to reduce a community’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The rate has been 50% renewables. By choosing 100% green energy, Redondo Beach’s electricity-based GHG emissions would be reduced by an estimated 93,000 metric tons of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking 20,000 cars off the road.
Although Redondo Beach customers would be assigned the 100% green power rate by default, they could opt to remain at 50%, or even drop down to 40%. Although going from 50% to 100% increases a power bill by about 3%, a recent Public Policy Institute of California survey showed, “Majorities support action on climate change even if it brings increased costs.”
Currently in California, about 33% of the power on thegrid is from renewable sources. The state’s goal is 100% clean energy by 2045. The 100% renewables default choice gives an opportunity to achieve that goal 23 years ahead of schedule.
Representatives from the Sierra Club and the Surfrider Foundation urged the council to adopt the 100% renewable default, but the most dramatic speech was by Rylee Goldfarb, a Redondo Beach high school junior whose environmental activism was featured in the March Foggy View. Here is a condensed version of her speech:
“[As] a Redondo resident, environmentalist and soon-to-be voter, I see [the importance of] this default switch to lower emissions here in Redondo Beach [and] stop the AES Power Station from using fossil fuels. Manhattan Beach made the switch to 100% Green Power as well as 14 other cities. And just earlier today, L.A. County and Beverly Hills unanimously voted to go to 100%. This is the most important action you, as our city council, can take to reduce emissions and make significant progress on climate action.
“I created two petitions for Redondo Beach [residents] to show their support for…100% Green Power. Within days, I [got] 655 signatures, [the majority] from Redondo students, as we are very passionate about…climate change. We are soon to be your voters and we all strongly encourage you to support measures to protect our environment. …[P]lease vote YES for Redondo to switch to 100% Green Power so that we can lead the way to a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable future for my generation”
The City Council voted in favor 4-0-1.