Establish a long-range energy plan that meets the needs of Oakland’s major energy users, reduces energy burden for residents and businesses, and decarbonizes buildings and energy sources.

  • Oakland is an important place to tackle decarbonization of the energy system given its existing high energy use and recent growth trends.
  • Energy systems are inherently a larger system than any one developer or property owner can manage, although all projects would benefit from distributed energy systems.
  • Creating large-scale energy systems is even harder for individual residential property owners, with most pursuing individual solutions that don’t benefit from scale, are still not financially with reach of many, and may not be possible based on siting in the case of solar PV.
  • Everyone has an interest and need to create a more sustainable and reliable energy system.
  • The City of Pittsburgh and Green Building Alliance recently began to work with major energy users in Oakland on an energy master plan that seeks to overcome many of these issues. That master plan could result in equitable investments in the entire neighborhood to address energy burden, encourage low carbon energy utilization.
  • Community engagement should be a component of this project both to educate the broader community about energy systems and their role in creating a more sustainable and resilient neighborhood and city, but also to better understand the needs of different types of stakeholders for the plan to attempt to address.
  • Renewable energy systems can be incorporated into neighborhoods without creating public health or nuisance issues if sited appropriately. To meet carbon reduction and equitable energy goals, it may be necessary to designate areas as “energy parks” where land is identified and preserved for such uses based on attributes that that make it best suited for different types of energy generation (e.g., solar access, access to river water, etc.). This land could accommodate other activities in addition to energy generation.
  • The strategy should also include advocating for State legislation changes such as expanding the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program to include multi-family residential structures that may provide an incentive and funding stream for landlords to improve buildings and make healthy living conditions for renters.
  • Community solar legislation will enable more utilization for innovative low carbon projects to occur.
  • The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), Act 129 (utility efficiency and conservation requirements), and the Urban Redevelopment Authority could be funding sources to encourage energy efficiency improvements for different types and scales of development.

When to start: 0-2 years

Duration: 2 years

Estimated costs: $$ (out of $$$$)

Project lead(s): GBA, DCP

Project partner(s): Institutions, UPMC, DLC

Potential funding source(s): Institutions

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