Solar Power... Now!
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Solar Power... Now!
Foster City has a history of being a master planned community whereby decisions have been made in terms of land use planning and the implementation of various economic development tools allowing the community to thrive, in other words, maintaining our Quality of Life.

Sustainability is a strategy of the City and is evolving into a fundamental infrastructure platform for the growth of our City, affecting long-term financial viability and success. This approach embraces the notion that long-term economic prosperity, social equity and ecological health not only go together, they depend on each other. Therefore, the City Council has identified as a priority that the City “develop and implement a Sustainable Economic Development Plan/Strategy.”

The Sustainable Foster City Vision Statement: “Sustaining and Enhancing the Quality of Life in Foster City.”

The Sustainable Foster City Mission Statement: “Sustainable Foster City is a holistic and sustainable development strategy that seeks to protect, maintain and grow the economic resources in Foster City, protect its natural resources, and to allow the community to pursue and enhance its quality of life. The strategy is based on the concepts of economic sustainability, social sustainability, and environmental sustainability, and represents a long-term plan that is continually monitored and updated in the future.”

Simply stated, the strategy is: Foster City—A Sustainable Community by Design.

You’ll be hearing more about this ambitious endeavor in the coming months. I just wanted to highlight one aspect of the plan that may be coming soon and could immediately impact your way of life. That concept is Solar Power. The City Council has asked staff to study the pros and cons of installing solar panels in and about the City-owned facilities. Here are some of their findings.

Foster City used over 5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity in Calendar Year 2010 to power its operations, including its buildings, park infrastructure, pumps, lift stations, street lights and traffic signals. Of the 5 million kilowatt-hours, almost 60% was used to light our streets and to run the City Hall complex.

We needed to find a more reliable, efficient and cost effective method of providing this necessary power. The City Council feels that solar power could be the answer. The staff brought to the Council various locations, methods of financing and the long term benefits, both economic and social.

The staff came up with, in my opinion, a most efficient and creative way to address some of the answers to “where,” “when” and “how.”

They are recommending that we join the Regional Renewable Energy Procurement (R-REP) collaborative. This group is led by Alameda County and is comprised, currently, of 19 public agencies to jointly issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to acquire renewable energy systems (solar and other) through both direct purchase and Power Purchase Agreement financing. It is expected that joining in a bulk purchase would increase efficiencies and improve the overall price by leveraging economies of scale by working together.

Basically, why reinvent the wheel? The Council agreed to join this collaborative as it could lead to a significant reduction in renewable energy generation systems costs, transaction costs and administrative time, and enhance the leverage for public agencies in the negotiation of renewable energy systems.

As part of the collaborative we will complete an in-depth feasibility study on the sites selected by the Council. The cost of the system, should we decide to approve the installation, will be based upon responses received by the collaborative to a formal Request for Proposal process. The funds could come from the Capital Asset Acquisition and Replacement fund that was recently created from funds received through the sale of property, as this could be construed as a major capital asset acquisition.

If you have any questions, concerns or comments about this concept, please let me know. I may be reached at sokamoto@fostercity.org.

Council Corner

November 28, 2012
Solar Power... Now!

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