Mayor Ron Nirenberg and members of San Antonio City Council have recently celebrated the formal signing of the resolution in support of the Paris Climate Agreement (PCA).
San Antonio is joining 323 mayors across the country in support of the PCA and the Mayor’s National Climate Action Agenda (MNCAA), in which exploration of the potential benefits and costs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is crucial.
CPS Energy CEO Paula Gold-Williams also announced that the board had approved funding to advance the momentum in the development of a climate action plan.
The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) will also work closely with the City of San Antonio (COSA) and CPS Energy to investigate ways to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. CPS Energy will provide the university with $500,000 to support research in technologies, best practices and processes that can be adopted by the COSA and its partners.
“No matter what the politics are in Washington D.C. or in Austin, we’re going to continue…to enhance a renewable and resilient energy portfolio for CPS Energy,” said Mayor Nirenberg. “We are going to continue to be leaders on environmental stewardship, its good for our economy and we will continue to do that. With CPS Energy and UTSA, we are taking the first steps as real action on the Climate Action Agenda.”
The SA Tomorrow Sustainability Plan includes numerous strategies related to climate and acknowledges the current steps San Antonio is taking to improve air quality. San Antonio has made strides by reducing energy use in city buildings by more than 10 percent since 2011, and continues to improve fuel efficiency by transitioning the city’s automotive fleets to hybrids and clean diesel vehicles.
In addition, San Antonio has lowered fuel consumption by seven percent in the past five years. Not only has the Office of Sustainability committed to improving air quality, but the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District has made air quality a strategic priority for the next three years.
“One of the goals that was set out was the Sustainability Plan that was adopted last year that targeted a reduction in greenhouse gases. We will and set a target for it and this won’t be done by the council on its own, this is going to be a broad stakeholder process,” said District 7 City Councilwoman Ana Sandoval.
CPS Energy has also added more than 230 green collar jobs since 2011. The company has partnered with companies including Consert, Inc. which provides software energy to control energy use; Green Star, a LED lighting company, Cold Car USA, a manufacturer of related trucks and Summit Power, a clean coal plant 15 miles west of Odessa.
The company has also emphasized the importance of going green to their customers by providing rebates and solar panel options. Customers have the option of receiving “my thermostat” rewards, solar water, natural gas, green shade tree and Solar Photovoltaic (PV) rebates, which converts sunlight to electricity to boost a home’s energy efficiency and environmental friendliness.
Customers also have the opportunity to become a Solar Host, where a homeowner or business would “host” a solar system on their roof. The difference with Solar Hosting is that the homeowner or business would not pay anything at all to have the system installed and maintained.
CPS is also the largest publicly owned purchaser of wind power in the country in West Texas and along the Texas coast. The company currently has 1059.1 megawatts (MW) of wind-generated electricity in commercial operation.
The wind farms are capable of generating electricity for roughly 240,000 homes. CPS Energy hopes to achieve 1,500 MW of renewable energy power, or 20 percent of our total generation capacity, by 2020.
“This allow us to continue to be a leader in our industry and serve the people in Greater San Antonio with the reliability, cost and environmentally conscious way,” said Paula Gold-Williams, president and CEO of CPS Energy. “We are proud to be a partner in this effort, and that our organization has the opportunity to continue to provide innovative energy solutions to improve the quality of life for our customers, community & employees.”
The Paris Climate Action Agreement is a pledge within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to address greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance. It is an agreement that was negotiated by representatives of 196 Parties at the twenty-first Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris and adopted by consensus on December 12, 2015.
As of June 2017, 195 UNFCCC members have signed the agreement, 148 have ratified it. Participation in the agreement is voluntary and non-binding and represents more than 80 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“My vision [for San Antonio] is that the air will be cleaner, the community will be more walkable and we will have more green collar jobs in this area and that we will use less energy and water per capita,” concluded Councilwoman Sandoval (D7).