Berkeley Takes the Lead on Gas
This article was originally published on NEEP, July 31, 2019
Berkeley, California made news recently with a ban on natural gas hookups in most new construction. The story has definitely been picked up by the media as Berkeley is the first city to ban natural gas. NRDC estimates that as many as 50 cities in California are considering similar bans. A couple of very good articles that covered the event from different angles are a story in the Guardian that explains the overall movement to electrification with an emphasis on California efforts and an article on Forbes.com written by Amanda Myers of Energy Innovation that discusses other related actions around the country and provides a quick policy blueprint for what states could do to further electrification.
It seems like the Berkeley action is the “ban heard ‘round the world” and will precipitate a much more visible discussion of electrification (or decarbonization – our preferred term that is somewhat more inclusive of other technologies).
Given the flurry of media attention to the ban, I would simply note that Berkeley is not done in its efforts to reduce carbon. The city has done a lot and intends to do even more. Earlier in 2019, the Berkeley Energy Commission developed and presented a Fossil Fuel Free Berkley plan (approved by city council) that includes more than buildings and, importantly, identifies potential funding opportunities and specific regulatory strategies. Additionally, more detailed implementation planning is being undertaken for the buildings-related work. Berkeley is also one of six initial U.S. cities that are being supported by the Building Electrification Initiative, a project of the broader Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, working very specifically on reducing the GHG emissions associated with heating energy.
Berkeley and other cities around the U.S. and the world are leading the charge to building decarbonization. ACEEE has been tracking the progress of cities around the country on a wide variety of clean energy actions over the last several years. Here’s hoping there are a lot of fast followers.