Pacific Southwest, Region 9
Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations
Climate Change in the Pacific Southwest
Also On This Site:
California Contaminated Lands Mapping Tool and Information
In partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), EPA has developed a mapping tool and data set that helps identify contaminated and degraded sites in California that are ideal for renewable energy development.
Increasing the use of renewable energy is one of the most effective ways to quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. EPA is working with many local partners in the Pacific Southwest Region to promote and recognize efforts to switch to renewables through various voluntary partnership programs.
This page provides information about a number of EPA programs that can assist you with reducing your greenhouse gas emissions through renewable energy.
On this page:
EPA Voluntary Programs
RE-Powering America's Lands Initiative
EPA is encouraging renewable energy development on current and formerly contaminated land and mine sites when it is aligned with the community's vision for the site. This initiative identifies the renewable energy potential of these sites and provides other useful resources for communities, developers, industry, state and local governments or anyone interested in reusing these sites for renewable energy development.
- Siting Renewable Energy on Contaminated Lands in California
- National Mapping Tools for Renewable Energy Development
Green Power Partnership Program
The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that supports the organizational procurement of green power by offering expert advice, technical support, tools and resources. Partnering with EPA can help your organization lower the transaction costs of buying green power, reduce its carbon footprint, and communicate its leadership to key stakeholders. Green power is electricity produced from a subset of renewable resources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and low-impact hydro. Buying green power is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your organization's environmental performance. This partnership currently has more than 1000 partner organizations who voluntarily purchase billions of kilowatt hours of green power annually.
For the second year in a row, Intel Corporation, the world's largest semiconductor company, is the nation's largest single voluntary purchaser of green power with purchases of more than 2.5 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power per year. Intel is currently meeting 87.8% of the organization's purchased electricity with their current renewables purchasing. This is equivalent to the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity use of nearly 215,000 average American homes.
The AgSTAR Program is a voluntary effort jointly sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Energy. The program encourages the use of methane recovery (biogas) technologies at the confined animal feeding operations that manage manure as liquids or slurries. These technologies reduce methane emissions while achieving other environmental benefits.
Fiscalini Farms, located in Modesto, CA, is operating a complete mix, mesophilic, double tank anaerobic digestion power generation system at their dairy. The anaerobic digestion system uses the manure waste generated at the dairy to create energy. Over the past two years, this project has generated over 6,000,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, averaging 373 kilowatt hours daily. This project has generated enough electricity to power 400 homes within the Modesto Irrigation District.
Sustainable Water Infrastructure
Construction on Solar Power System Underway at Wastewater Treatment Plant
Construction on a 1.1-megawatt solar power system for the West Riverside Wastewater Treatment Plant, a joint powers authority administered by Western Municipal Water District. Read more
How to Purchase Renewable Energy
On-Site Renewable Generation
One option for procuring renewable is to install renewable on-site. Solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays are often procured this way, citing the renewable energy on rooftops or parking garages. Wind energy or geothermal heat pumps can also be a viable option for on-site procurement. Direct procurement of a renewable energy system means that the purchaser must bear the up-front cost and be responsible for maintenance of the system.
Google Campus On-site array
The Google headquarters in Mountain View has 1.6 MW of solar photovoltaic panels installed at their campus on the roofs of several buildings and in the parking lot to provide some of the electricity for charging stations available for electric cars. This represents one piece of Google's overall commitment to purchasing and using renewable energy, which also includes long-term contracts to purchase the output from over 200MW of wind energy.
Power Purchase Agreements
A power purchase agreement (PPA) is a financial arrangement in which a third-party developer owns, operates, and maintains a renewable energy system and a customer agrees to site the system on its property. In a PPA, both parties agree to the terms and price for a set period of time (typically 10-30 years). This can be an attractive option for businesses, municipalities, and utilities alike because of the price certainty.
Joint Venture Silicon Valley: Regional Procurement
The Silicon Valley Collaborative Renewable Energy Procurement (SV-REP) Project was launched to expand renewable energy procurement via a regional collaborative effort. This effort utilized a standardized Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) financing model, lease agreements and procurement process. By leveraging the contractual resource investment of the lead agency and creating a procurement pool, all participants benefited from the reduction and elimination of barriers, leading to the adoption of renewable power. This method not only conserved funds, but also accelerated the financing process and deployment of renewable energy technologies. Phase I of the SV-REP Project is currently the largest multi-agency procurement of renewable energy in the United States. It involves 70 sites at 43 locations, and collaboration across nine public agencies. Phase II is currently in process and will expand Phase I. Joint Venture has partnered with Optony and the World Resources Institute on a Public/Private Sector Best Practices Guide for collaborative procurement of solar power.
- Purchasing Power: Best Practices Guide to Collaborative Solar Procurement (PDF) (62 pp, 3MB)
- Additional information: To Increase Use of Solar Power, Collaboration Can Help
Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)
A REC is a certificate that represents the generation of one megawatt-hour of electricity from an eligible source of renewable energy. RECs are not tied to the physical delivery of electrons and therefore allow for organizations to purchase green power from suppliers other than their local electricity provider. For this reason, RECs offer a relatively simple procurement option that is attractive to many businesses. RECs are generally independently certified but can be less transparent than other purchasing options.
Community Choice Aggregation
Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) is a program in which cities or counties can get together to purchase or generate electricity on behalf of their residents and businesses. The incumbent utility continues to deliver the electricity, provide customer service, and maintain the power lines. Currently authorized in six states including California, CCA acts as a hybrid model between a system that is fully operated by an investor-owned utility and one which is publicly owned and operated. CCA serves as a platform for renewable energy procurement, consumer energy choice, and competitive rates. It was first authorized in 2002 under Assembly Bill 117 and amended in 2011 by Senate Bill 790. CCA is a market-based program that allows communities to provide renewable electricity to users without establishing a municipal utility and without the use of government subsidies.
Marin Clean Energy, California’s First Community Choice Aggregation Program
In May, 2010, the Marin Energy Authority made history when it launched Marin Clean Energy, California's first operating Community Choice Aggregation program. Marin Energy Authority is a community-based, not-for-profit Agency that offers Marin residents and businesses a choice of cleaner, greener, non-polluting energy. Marin Clean Energy partners with the local investor-owned utility, PG&E, to deliver and maintain the power lines as they always have, but the electricity provided by Marin Clean Energy is 27-100% renewable. Marin Clean Energy is proof that local communities can have a meaningful role in deciding where their energy comes from while offering competitive electricity rates.
Funding and Incentives
- Go Solar California!
- CA Solar Energy Industries Association
- American Solar Energy Society
- U.S. Department of Energy: Solar
- U.S. Department of Energy: Solar Water Heating
- California Wind Resources
- North American Windpower
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Wind
- American Wind Energy Association
- U.S. Department of Energy: Wind
- U.S. Department of Energy: Geothermal
- Geothermal Energy Association
- Geothermal Resources Council
- Geothermal Heat Pumps (EnergySTAR)
- NREL Geothermal
For more information on other renewable technologies like hydropower, fuel cells, and others:
- U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory
- Federal Energy Management Program