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The Palo Alto (California) City Council has voted to implement a Carbon Neutral Plan, which commits the city to pursuing only carbon-neutral electric resources, effective immediately.

Palo Alto owns all of its utilities, and the city has many contracts for renewable energy in its electric portfolio, including for wind farms, solar arrays and landfill gas. In addition to these renewable resources, about 50% of the city's electric supply comes from hydroelectric generation.

The city's strategy for making all of its power purchases carbon-neutral will include promoting energy efficiency, taking advantage of existing carbon-free resources, contracting for new short- and long-term renewable resources and, if needed, balancing any small percentage of non-renewable energy purchased with renewable energy certificates. The economic impact of being 100% carbon neutral is estimated to be under $3/year for the average Palo Alto electric customer.

“As a city, we’ve had cheaper, greener power for our citizens for decades, and being able to make this recent move to 100 percent carbon-free electricity is just another example of how owning our own utilities pays off,” says City Manager James Keene.


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