By Sarah (Steve) Mosko
Special to the Surf City Voice
Residents of Huntington Beach can take pride in being the only Orange County city that landed a spot this year on a list of 22 ‘Smarter Cities’ nationwide being recognized by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) for setting good examples for the rest of nation in the areas of green power, energy efficiency and conservation.
The announcement came at the end of July, and Long Beach is the only other city in southern California earning this distinction. The NRDC extended initial consideration to all 655 U.S. municipalities with populations of at least 50,000.
Huntington Beach and other Orange County cities made an initial cut because the county’s CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, as measured for 2002 by a North American monitoring program called Project Vulcan, averaged 1.8 tons per capita which met the qualifying per capita cut off of less than 2.5 tons. That Huntington Beach alone made the final list reflects both the city’s record in improving the energy efficiency of its facilities and its community outreach efforts to empower residents to save energy and money.
Although the city’s temperate beach climate might make energy efficiency seem, on the surface, an easier task than for cities in locales with more temperature extremes, its partnership with Southern California Edison (SCE), together with the efforts of its one-man show and Energy Project Manager Aaron Klemm, provided much of the necessary driving force needed to meet the qualifying criteria set up by the NRDC.
For starters, because Huntington Beach purchases all its electricity from SCE which, at 16 percent, delivers the nation’s highest mix of electricity from renewables like geothermal, wind and solar, the city easily meets the greater than 5 percent green power threshold. This is up from a green mix of 10 percent in 2007. Continue Reading