With Earth Day’s 40th celebration just days away, the Sacramento Metro Chamber proudly announces that 300 delegates travel for the Capitol-to-Capitol advocacy program is “green.”
Metro Chamber member Sacramento Municipal Utility District has once again provided carbon offsets for the official travel portion of each Cap-to-Cap delegate. This is the third year in a row that SMUD has sponsored reduction of the delegation’s carbon footprint.
“SMUD’s carbon offset program is retiring 295 tonnes of greenhouse gas offsets on behalf of our delegation,” said Metro Chamber President & CEO Matt Mahood. “For each delegate, that would be .93 tons of CO2 for a roundtrip flight Sacramento to Washington D.C. The Metro Chamber appreciates this gesture by SMUD.”
The carbon offsets are third-party verified and registered with the Climate Action Reserve.
“Our delegation is here in the nation’s capital working on priorities to reasonably address global warming issues,” Mahood said. “From a typical chamber’s perspective, we have taken a progressive policy position on climate change. Additionally, we have made adoption of clean technology and energy efficiency policies as an opportunity to create jobs and business growth in our region. Sacramento is uniquely positioned to lead the state in this new and emerging industry sector.”
Interestingly, both the Metro Chamber’s Cap-to-Cap and Earth Day were both founded in 1970, Mahood noted, but the chamber has a long history of working on environmental issues. “In the 1980s, we advocated for improving air quality. In 2003, we vigorously advocated to get SMOG Check II implemented in the Bay Area to improve our air quality—that was a Cap-to-Cap success.”
The Metro Chamber delegation is in D.C. until April 21; and the 300 participants will hold nearly 250 meetings with elected and administration officials. Of those meetings, 23 are dedicated to appointments advocating for the Sacramento region’s clean energy and green technology priorities. A few of the key projects throughout the region are:
• Zero-emission power plant research in Rancho Cordova
• Solar-powered processing at Sacramento county wastewater treatment plant
• Increased biogas production from wastewater treatment to generate electric power
• Roseville-based processing station to turn restaurant waste into electric power
Monday, the delegation will meet with U.S. Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu, former chief of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.
Dr. Chu is charged with helping implement President Obama’s ambitious agenda to invest in clean and renewable energy, end reliance on foreign oil, address the global climate crisis and create millions of new jobs. To that end, he is expected to comment during his address to the Cap-to-Cap delegation on the Sacramento region’s bold strategy to be the Green Capital of California
A top Cap-to-Cap priority is supporting the Lawrence Berkeley Lab-led proposal to establish in Northern California a cluster of institutions and organizations developing and getting to market energy efficient building systems. These would include UC Davis, the Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance (SARTA), the Los Rios Community College District, PG&E, SMUD and Sacramento State University.
The Department of Energy has $127 million available for this proposal called the Energy Efficiency Building Systems Regional Innovation Cluster, E-RIC.
“Our region’s commitment to leadership in clean and green energy has provided us a strong foundation to be an active partner in the important E-RIC opportunity, which will be a game changer,” said Meg Arnold, SARTA CEO.
The Northern California proposal brings unmatched assets to the challenge of developing new energy efficiency technologies, commercializing them, and developing new business and jobs to bring new technologies to market, including:
• Applied Research: UC Davis’ Energy Efficiency Center has a core focus on building systems and is already testing new energy efficient technologies in real world applications.
• Policy Leadership: California leads the nation in establishing policy goals and regulatory standards to improve energy efficiency so much that California’s per capita energy use is about what it was 30 years ago, despite expansion of energy using technologies throughout homes and businesses
• Technology Transfer/Business Development: Northern California leads the world in venture capitalists who invest in new technologies, business development organizations such as SARTA which facilitate commercialization of innovation emerging out of research institutions and the Los Rios Community College Small Business Development Center which supports the viability of small businesses
• Jobs/Technical Training: Community colleges, Workforce Investment Boards, and apprentice-training programs have all created green job training programs which are already producing the workers needed in all aspects of energy efficient building, new construction and retrofits.
• Utilities: The major utilities in Northern California, PG&E, SMUD, and Roseville Electric are leaders in early adoption and deployment of efficiency measures and offer both investor-owned and municipal business models to demonstrate integration of energy efficiency in a variety of utility governance. Already, SMUD is partnering with Sacramento State University on one of the nation’s largest deployments of “smart grid” technology.
• Business climate: California’s leadership role in policy and standards has created a market for energy efficiency that is attracting new business investment from throughout the world from companies who want to be at the center of the policy action and who want to leverage the resulting market demand into tangible businesses and jobs.