YOLO SUN NEWS REPORT :
The Woodland City Council voted in July, 2008, to join the California Climate Action Registry, a non-profit organization created by the State of California as a voluntary greenhouse-gas emissions registry — which “provides leadership on climate change by developing and promoting credible and consistent greenhouse-gas reporting standards and tools for organizations to measure, monitor, obtain third party verification, and reduce their [ ] emissions consistently across industry sectors and geographical borders,” according to an associated staff report.
“Environmental Services staff compiled and submitted [plus verified] a baseline inventory of greenhouse gas emissions attributable to all 2007 municipal operations,” indicated City of Woodland Conservation Coordinator, Marshall Echols.
___ Woodland One of Only Eight ‘Climate Action Leader’ Cities ___
This subject was again on the City Council’s agenda for June 2, because the initial phase involved with Woodland’s membership has been completed, making it — one of only eight cities in California — to be designated: “Climate Action Leader.”
Echols presented this agenda item, within which the City Council received a formal certificate recognizing its status as an early “Leader” for the state in addressing global warming.
Any public or private entity in the state can join the Registry, and about 300 have done so — including Yolo County and the University of California, Davis.
The City of Davis hasn’t accomplished a 2007 baseline analysis, and is reportedly engaged in an effort to establish a — community-wide inventory — which involves attempting to obtain exhaustive, annual estimates of total community emissions (electricity, natural gas, propane and motor vehicle usage, industrial emissions, etc. — for all public and private activities within a jurisdiction).
City of Woodland Environmental Analyst, Roberta Childers, in an interview forecast that — “the state will want communities to” — eventually conduct such a comprehensive examination — but that presently such an intensive study inevitably involves a lot of various estimates and speculation.
While, Woodland’s municipal emissions (at least) are now understood with certainty, allowing specific strategies for their reduction to be currently employed with a known (quantifiable) result.
___ State Law Requires Emissions Reductions ___
California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Assembly Bill 32) requires statewide reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
“Next steps for the City of Woodland include formulating an energy conservation strategy and climate action plan [ ] through [ ] efforts of the City Council Energy Committee [CCEC]. The City will continue to calculate and report its emissions inventory on an annual basis. Each inventory will be compared with the baseline (2007) inventory to determine the effectiveness of City actions in reducing energy use and helping to meet the state’s reduction goal,” explains Echols in a staff report.
Childers indicated that there is a preliminary, “draft list of measures [ ] and criteria to rank measures [within relevant] categories,” that will soon begin to be considered by the CCEC (which meets monthly at city hall) related to establishing this municipal greenhouse-gas reduction strategy / plan.
___ Inventory Reveals Biggest Greenhouse-Gas Sources ___
The 2007 baseline inventory of municipal emissions indicates that by far the largest portion of greenhouse-gas emissions is related to enormous amounts of electricity used for pumping from the underground aquifer to provide the City’s water supply — at 39% — of all municipal electricity use — amounting to about 7.4 million kwh with a $950,000 bill from PG&E.
The other large consumer of electricity within city operations is the Wastewater Treatment Plant, at 28% (5.3 million kwh, $660,000). City Hall uses 8%, the Police Station uses 5% and the Community-Senior Center uses 4%, with other facilities using less, such as the Library at 1%.
Electricity and natural gas usage is considered to be: “Indirect Emissions,” meaning that they are not locally produced, but are caused elsewhere by local energy use. Generating electricity results in emissions occurring somewhere.
“Direct Emissions” by the municipality are almost exclusively created from its gasoline and diesel use (22% of total greenhouse-gas emissions).
About half of such fuel is used by the Public Works Department, with the remainder split between the Police Department (53% of gasoline use) and Fire Department (42% of diesel use).
___ Basic Greenhouse-Gas Emissions Factor: Water ___
Water is — for a third time — at the center of creating “indirect” municipal emissions.
Pumping Woodland’s water supply from underground (39%) — then treating municipal outflow (28%) — far surpasses other municipal consumers of electricity.
Natural gas use in municipal operations is dominated by that used to fuel boilers heating the two municipal swimming pools — at 54% (44,400 therms) — dwarfing all other consumers.
The Police and Fire Departments — combined — represent only 26% of city natural gas consumption, with the Community-Senior Center next in use, at 9%.
Closure of Hiddelson Pool (for budgetary reasons) will significantly affect “indirect” emission figures for 2009 — perhaps reducing by a quarter municipal use of natural gas.
___ Electricity Use Largest Element of Municipal Emissions ___
Green-house gas emissions (almost exclusively carbon dioxide: CO2) for which Woodland’s municipal operations are responsible, are predominantly — “indirect” sources — related to electricity consumption: 67% of total emissions are so attributable.
“Direct” sources of emissions — namely gasoline and diesel-fuel use — are the next largest portion of municipal energy consumption, at 22%.
Natural gas use, an “indirect” source, is in third place with 8%.
Municipal emissions for 2007 — overall — were 1,665 metric tons of CO2 in “direct” emissions and 3,976 metric tons of CO2 in “indirect” emissions, for a total of 5,643 metric tons.
According to city staff, unincorporated Yolo County (with a population of 29,000, compared to its four cities: Woodland, Davis, West Sacramento and Winters, with combined population of 180,000) — is responsible for 3,752 metric tons of CO2 in “direct” emissions and 2,128 metric tons of CO2 in “indirect” emissions.
Apparently — the county uses much more gasoline / diesel / propane than Woodland, causing “direct” greenhouse-gas emissions that are more than twice Woodland’s level (3752 mt – 1665 mt), although the county has roughly half the population of the municipality.
This emissions differential is perhaps related to expanded travel distances within the county, compared to the city — since direct emissions are primarily created from gasoline and diesel use.
Population figures above are derived from current (2010) estimates by the regional planning authority: Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG).
___ Stimulus Funds to Upgrade Police Station, City Hall & Streetlights ___
Federal economic-stimulus money — $508,700 in a “block grant” — is headed for Woodland to achieve progress on key municipal energy efficiency and conservation projects, as a result of its upcoming (June 25) application with the U. S. Department of Energy.
These funds are intended to accomplish “ — within 18 months — certain kinds of ‘shovel-ready’ projects,” describes Environmental Analyst Childers, who also indicated that potential energy conservation projects included consideration of those projects inclined “to benefit [Woodland’s] General Fund,” which remains affected by an adverse economic climate.
Childers mentioned three high-priority projects that qualify for using these federal funds.
“Putting solar panels on the Police Department Headquarters building, which is already equipped” for such installation, is one noted project.
“Upgrading the [heating, air-conditioning and ventilation] system within the City Hall building, and replacing conventional (sodium) lamps in Woodland’s streetlights — with LED technology — are also top priorities for use of this $508,700 in one-time, economic-stimulus funding.