April 2015

Sustainable Santa Fe Update: Climate Action Task Force Makes First Recommendations


Bianca Sopoci-Belknap


On March 11, former Mayor David Coss presented to the Santa Fe City Council a set of recommendations developed by Santa Fe’s Climate Action Task Force focused on the energy efficiency and renewable energy the city can undertake to help it prepare for future impacts of climate change. The task force is co-chaired by Coss and Councilor Peter Ives, and its sub-committees are comprised of over 70 energy and environmental experts from throughout the community, including members of the Sustainable Santa Fe Commission.

The task force made six recommendations:

1. Establish goals and benchmarks to reduce citywide energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

2. Pursue energy savings performance contracting for city facilities with an energy service company.

3. Scale-up solar distributed generation projects on city facilities.

4. Strengthen and expand energy-efficiency programs and solar-energy projects in the commercial and residential sectors of our community, in addition to supporting policies and regulations that would help to scale-up those industries, as well as opposing policies and regulations that would have a negative impact on them, such as PNM’s proposed rate increase.

5. Educate and inform the public about available programs.

6. Utilize creative financing options to pay for programs and projects.

During the presentation, former Mayor David Coss told the governing body, “It’s been the goal of the task force to identify the types of strategies and programs the city should consider undertaking to create a healthier, more resilient, adaptable and vital community. Many of these can be undertaken within six months and can be fully implemented by the end of the year.”

After the presentation, Mayor Gonzales introduced a resolution directing staff to work with a variety of stakeholders in the community including the task force and Sustainable Santa Fe Commission to develop and draft a 25-year Sustainability Plan that would include a variety of strategies to reduce Santa Fe’s carbon emissions and energy consumption on a yearly basis to achieve the city’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040. The Sustainable Santa Fe Commission has been drafting the Santa Fe Sustainability Scorecard, a report containing several sustainability and energy related data benchmarks that will serve as a basis of the plan’s development.

To learn more or get involved, visit www.sustainablesantafe.wordpress.com. The commission can also be found on Facebook at SustainableSantaFeNM. Monthly commission meetings are open to the public and take place the third Tuesday of every month from 2:30-4:30 pm in the Councilors’ Conference Room at City Hall.


More Solar for the city of Santa Fe

The city of Santa Fe’s latest solar installations are now fully operational. The 600-kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic (PV) array at the Genoveva Chávez Community Center will provide about 40 percent of the facility’s electricity, and the 81 kW array at the city Water Division will include two solar powered electric car charging stations to serve the division’s growing electric vehicle fleet. The two installations are expected to help avoid many gallons of water use and reduce carbon emissions.


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