More than one in five Palo Alto utility customers voluntarily pays higher rates to subsidize energy sources that are 100 percent renewable, city staff members told the Palo Alto City Council Monday in an Earth Day staff report.
Voluntary participation in the Palo Alto Green renewable energy program is one of many reasons the community's greenhouse gas emissions are projected to be 15 percent below 2005 levels by the end of this year.
City operations, including city hall and the wastewater treatment plant, have cut greenhouse gas emissions by an even greater percentage -- 20 percent below 2005 levels.
That means both groups are ahead of goals established in the city's 2007 Climate Protection Plan, which is to have reduced emissions by 15 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, Debra van Duynhoven, assistant to the city manager stated in a report.
The estimated reductions are due primarily to greater purchases of electricity from renewable supplies, participation in the Palo Alto Green program, lower levels of waste to the landfill and improved energy efficiency in city facilities, van Duynhoven said.
Estimated emissions from transportation in the city remained constant because there is insufficient data available to assess changes, she said.