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State and Local Climate and Energy Program

The Small Cities Climate Action Partnership

El Cerrito, Albany, Piedmont, and San Pablo, California

Federal Funding: $497,488
Project Timeline: February 2010 – December 2012

Latest Update

Under the Small Cities Climate Action Partnership (ScCAP), all four cities are working together to share their work, processes, and best practices as they implement various energy efficiency projects and policies. Each partner city has implemented municipal energy efficiency projects, ranging from power strip/occupancy sensors to HVAC retrofits in City Hall and other municipal facilities. The commercial and residential energy efficiency retrofit rebate programs are winding down. As of September 2012, 71 businesses have retrofitted their lighting and 40 homes have completed comprehensive weatherization work. All utility accounts in the cities of Albany, El Cerrito, Piedmont, and San Pablo have been entered into EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. The cities entered into an agreement with a solar company and are continuing to develop renewable energy projects. San Pablo and El Cerrito have finalized their Climate Action Plans. Lastly, the cities finalized the Energy Action Plans developed by the Strategic Energy Innovations staff. The cities are currently working on expanding ScCAP and developing a statewide network of small communities in California to meet quarterly and discuss climate and energy issues.


2-ScCAP Solar Procurement Team Photo

ScCAP Solar Procurement Team


San Pablo Climate Action Plan Workshop

San Pablo Climate Action Plan Workshop


Project Summary

Small Cities Collaborate to Overcome Barriers and Take Action on Climate Change

Actions taken by small communities are critical to achieving GHG reductions. Over two-thirds of U.S. citizens live in jurisdictions with populations under 100,000. These small communities can move quickly to execute plans with the proper resources. At the same time, their small scale and limited staff and resources hinder action. To overcome these obstacles, the City of El Cerrito is partnering with Albany, Piedmont, and San Pablo to implement the Small Cities Climate Action Partnership (ScCAP). This partnership will achieve GHG reductions in small cities by:

  • implementing mechanisms for monitoring energy use, and installing efficiency upgrades,
  • developing Climate Action Plans for each city in the partnership,
  • promoting participation in existing programs, and
  • creating ways to replicate the program.

The partnership is developing management systems in each city to monitor energy use and identify energy efficiency upgrades. The cities are establishing a permanent Capital Improvement Fund to equitably allocate energy efficiency projects, and each partner is developing systems to monitor energy use to identify energy efficiency and energy investment opportunities.

Although each city in the partnership has committed to complete a Climate Action Plan, they are at different stages of the process. The partnership helps streamline their separate planning processes by sharing information and identifying regional opportunities to reduce GHG emissions. All of the cities in the partnership will adopt Climate Action Plans and identify a process for implementation.

The cities are also overcoming barriers to participation in existing energy efficiency and transportation programs. They are identifying existing programs, recruiting these programs to provide services in their jurisdictions, distributing marketing materials to increase public participation, and developing a micro-grant fund to promote priority reduction opportunities.

To promote replication of the program, the partnership will establish guidelines for collaboration and institutionalize climate management internally in each city. They will continue to seek funding and establish relationships through networking and technical assistance programs.

The benefits of the program include GHG emission reductions from direct investment in municipal and community retrofits. The partnership is developing capacity combining common activities across the cities, by facilitating collaboration between each city, and by acting as a regional advocate for small communities. It will also save energy, reduce air pollution, and promote investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Community Characteristics

Population 24,000 (El Cerrito)
17,000 (Albany)
11,000 (Piedmont)
30,000 (San Pablo)
Area 2 to 4 square miles each
Government Type Four cities
Community Type Urban
Median Household Income $70,000 to $78,000

Program Results

  Reported Results (as of September 2012) Projected Cumulative Results
Annual GHG Reductions 502 mt CO2e 750 mt CO2e
Electricity Savings 0.49 MWh, annually 8,160 MWH, total
Economic Savings $236,550 total* $135,000 annually

*As of June 2012

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