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San Jose Announces Ambitious Renewable Energy Program

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – One South Bay city is taking energy efficiency to the next level and beyond as San Jose's mayor on Thursday announced an ambitious renewable energy program.

It has being described as one of the boldest, most inclusive and farthest reaching climate action plans in the country.

On Thursday, the city of San Jose released a draft copy of its 194-page "Climate Smart San Jose" plan. It aims to set and achieve the goals set forth in the Paris Climate Agreement that President Trump withdrew from last year.

"We need to ensure that we bring everybody along on this. This is not simply about getting more Teslas sold to those who can afford to buy Teslas," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo

Among the suggestions are "densifying" and building new homes close to where the jobs are, like google will do downtown.

The city is also doubling the number of car-charging stations to encourage more electric cars,

Additionally, the city will convert the airport bus fleet to electric and encouraging VTA to expand its options as well.

But perhaps the biggest headline to come out of Thursday's announcement was buried deep in the report: a new program called "San Jose Clean Energy."

It will give the city's one million residents a chance to opt into a program to buy solar or wind energy in bulk -- as a city -- at a cheaper price.

Once it launches, it would be the largest program of its kind in the country.

Linda Hutchins-Knowles of the grassroots environmental activist group Mothers Out Front was enthused about the idea.

We are so excited to have an alternative to the monopoly utility, said Hutchins-Knowles. And we look forward to enjoying 100% carbon-free electricity at rates competitive with or lower than PG&E.

PG&E responded saying the power would still be delivered through their transmission lines, releasing A Statement that said, "We respect the energy choices that are available to our customers."

It also noted that "nearly 70 percent of the electricity we provide to our customers [is] generated by greenhouse gas free resources.

Liccardo had a few sharp words for the Trump administration during the announcement of the new plan.

Yeah, it's unfortunate that we do not have an occupant in the White House who's willing to bear the responsibility for global leadership that United States has shown in environmental matters that it needs to show, said Liccardo. But as we're seeing in San Jose and cities throughout the country, it's cities that will lead.

While this was just a draft plan, it has wide support and will go before the full council for a vote on February 27.

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