Hundreds of residents from across Southern California visited Mar Vista on Saturday for a community-wide Green Garden Showcase featuring more than 80 local gardens demonstrating various aspects of sustainability. The tour highlighted many homes featuring solar panels – and new data was released by Open Neighborhoods announcing Mar Vista’s progress toward a neighborhood goal of 100% clean electricity.
The Sierra Club’s LA Beyond Coal campaign participated in the Green Garden Showcase with a booth coordinating tours of local solar-powered homes – and also collecting signatures from residents advocating for a city-wide transition from coal-powered electricity by 2020. Coal emissions are a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions – and Los Angeles electricity is generated largely from coal-burning power plants.
Sierra Club LA Beyond Coal campaign leader Spike Lewis said “It’s great to see communities like Mar Vista trying to reach 100% renewable electricity by 2018. If more neighborhoods in Los Angeles followed Mar Vista’s lead Los Angeles could certainly move away from coal by 2020.”
In November 2009 Mar Vista became the first neighborhood in Los Angeles to set a clean energy goal, inspired by Al Gore’s national RepowerAmerica initiative to transition the country's power supply to 100% clean, renewable electricity by 2018.
Since then the Venice Neighborhood Council has a adopted a similar clean energy target. The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council recently presented an Earth Day Conference on how the neighborhood can achieve 100% clean power by 2018.
Mar Vista Community Council representatives have been working with LADWP, Open Neighborhoods, and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to measure the neighborhood’s combined electricity usage and green power participation. In 2010 the neighborhood as a whole consumed 120,380MWh of electricity in 2010, of which 23.4% came from clean, renewable sources:
Open Neighborhoods representative James Brennan said “We hope to see more transparency in Los Angeles neighborhood power usage and green power participation – and appreciate the assistance provided by EPA and LADWP in obtaining this information for our community”.
Taking advantage of utility rebates, federal tax credits, group purchasing programs, and new financing options – dozens of homes and businesses throughout Mar Vista have been installing solar panels and realizing immediate electric bill savings. An Open Neighborhoods community solar program (http://gosolar.openmarvista.net) has been effective in reaching hundreds of local residents and businesses through informational workshops and rooftop solar assessments.
Local residents and businesses are also encouraged to opt-in to the Los Angeles Dept. of Water & Power (LADWP) Green Power program (www.ladwp.com/greenpower) to ensure delivery of clean, renewable power from the City-owned utility.
Sherri Akers, Co-Chair of the Mar Vista Community Council Green Committee, said “It’s astonishing to me that we don’t have more people signed up for LADWP Green Power and I hope we can get far more people signed up for solar. On my street we have several homes with solar panels. I hope to see that and more throughout Mar Vista in the near future and a Feed-In Tariff program that puts solar on the roof tops of our apartment and condo buildings.”
The Los Angeles City Council recently adopted legislation calling for a 75MW pilot “Feed-In Tariff” in which LADWP would be required to purchase electricity generated by solar panels installed on buildings throughout the City. Under a new law signed by California Governor Jerry Brown, LADWP will be required to provide 33% of its power from clean, renewable sources by 2020.