Twenty-seven years.

That’s how long California has left to start getting all its electricity from carbon-free sources. The deadline year is 2045. Governor Jerry Brown made this so on September 10, when he signed SB 100 into law.

As of right now, if you walk into a public building run by Santa Clara County, you can be ensured it’s powered by 100% renewable energy. This status is owed to the work of Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE), a community-owned agency with 13 member communities in Santa Clara County. Across the 13 communities, all municipal accounts get their electricity from wind and solar sources. This means libraries, parks, city halls, and the like.

The City of Milpitas, having just gone 100% renewable in its public structures, is now the newest member.

The agency’s desired endgame is to battle down climate change, a fight which has slowed on a national level but is being waged fiercely here in California

As a result of SVCE providing the region with carbon-free electricity, between 2015 and 2017, area emissions dropped by almost 17%. By 2021, they hope to see that number up at 30%…

SVCE’s renewable energy program isn’t only reaching people on a public level. For $3-$5 more per month (on average) than what they’re paying now, Milpitas residents can upgrade to something called GreenPrime (the same service the city government uses), for the sake of going 100% renewable in their homes.

In the meantime, back in June, Milpitas customers were automatically enrolled into GreenStart, SVCE’s default product, which has made our city’s residences 50% renewable, unless we choose to opt out.

But, according to SVCE Communications Manager Pamela Leonard, “Very few people opted out. 97% of Milpitas residents and businesses are in our program.”

On the flip-side, a low percentage (approximately 2%, by Leonard’s estimate) of Milpitas residents have opted in to GreenPrime for 100% renewable energy. As it stands, almost all our city’s households are at 50% renewable, while all our public buildings are at 100%.

Leonard went on to say, “What we’re finding, especially being in Silicon Valley, is that there are so many new technologies and so many new ways that people are able to manage their energy use. People are switching to newer technologies that are allowing them to take advantage of having more renewable energy on the grid. The way that utilities have operated historically is really, really changing right now. And we’re definitely a part of that.”

Twenty-seven years to go.

It’s starting now.


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Eric Shapiro
Eric Shapiro is a writer and filmmaker. He is the author of six critically acclaimed fiction books, among them the novella "It's Only Temporary" (2005), which appeared on Nightmare Magazine's list of the Top 100 Horror Books, and numerous short stories published in anthologies alongside work by H.P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Chuck Palahniuk, and many others. His nonfiction articles have been published on The Daily Dot, Ravishly, and The Good Men Project. His first feature film, "Rule of 3" (2010), won awards at the Fantasia International Film Festival and Shriekfest, and had its U.S. premiere at Fantastic Fest. His second feature film, "Living Things" (2014), was endorsed by PETA (People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals) and distributed by Cinema Libre Studio. In 2015, he won the 19th Annual Fade In Award for Thriller Screenplays. He was a founding partner of Ghostwriters Central, a writing and editing firm which received positive notices from The Wall Street Journal, Consumers Digest, and the TV program "Intelligence For Your Life." Eric has edited works published on The Huffington Post and Forbes, as well as two Bram Stoker Award-nominated novels.

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