Pasadena and other municipalities are at an important inflection point. The decisions we make now will write our future for the next several decades.
By Carl Selkin
The Pasadena 100 Coalition and the Pasadena Building Electrification Coalition, consisting of a wide array of area groups and individuals, address critical choices rapidly to move Pasadena to 100% carbon free electricity. The current extreme drought, the saturation of the atmosphere with greenhouse gasses, and the increasing virulence of heatwaves, hurricanes and wildfires converge on one cause: our reliance on cheap, plentiful carbon-based energy. The deferred bill for this addiction to coal, oil, and gas is now past due.
There is still time to slow the catastrophes now baking into our future, and the choices before us can save dollars and resources as we save lives and improve the quality of all our lives. Indeed, the way we power our future determines our success in extending and expanding what we value about the quality of life in Pasadena.
The solution is close to home
The solution is close to home, and it relies not on an either/or choice but on a both/and solution:
- Large-scale centralized carbon-free power generation coupled with reliable energy from local solar installations, including residential rooftops, massive warehouse roofs, solar canopies on parking lots, and other structures on already built-up areas.
- Large scale energy storage projects planned or under development in conjunction with local battery farms and residential batteries to light our nights.
Studies by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory demonstrate that this approach is both cost-effective and the flexible solution we need.
Local action is essential for success in fighting global warming. Pasadena and other localities can lead the way as California prepares for the future. Pasadena Water and Power should be urged to continue taking steps toward a local generation and distributed energy model. The building electrification ordinance expected to appear on the July 11 Pasadena City Council agenda will benefit from your support. Public voices should advocate to expand this requirement for most new construction. Not only large projects and renovations, but new single-family homes and ADUs should be 100% powered by electricity.
Pasadena staff and management deserve our support and encouragement so there are no short circuits. It is essential that we write letters, raise our voices and show up at the July 11 City Council meeting. We must oppose efforts to reduce incentives for rooftop solar panels, and we must promote innovative ideas like parking lot solar canopies for energy generation and conservation. Act now to let Pasadena leadership and staff know that we have their backs as we pioneer new directions toward a survivable and sustainable future.
For more information about what you can do, email me (click here to email Carl directly).
Carl Selkin, a long-time Pasadena resident, is co-chair of the Social Justice Committee of Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center, which participates in the Pasadena 100 and Building Electrification coalitions.
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