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Sustainable Development Update
March 29, 2018
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Sustainable Development Focus

U.S. Army targets energy resiliency through microgrid projects

ENERGY MANAGER TODAY - Mar 26 The U.S. Army is using clean energy projects to begin targeting resiliency through microgrids, executive director of the U.S. Army’s Office of Energy Initiatives Michael F. McGhee said at the recent Microgrid Global Innovation Forum in Washington, DC. That means configuring distributed energy projects that were originally envisioned as environmental ones into microgrids, McGhee explained. Under this model, the Army supplies the land and deals directly with energy developers. “With strong renewable energy goals and a lot of open land for training and maneuvers, the Army is a magnet for energy developers,” Wood wrote. “Army land is not just any land. In the eyes of energy developers, it’s ‘want-it-in-my-backyard’ or WIMBY land, a rare find in an era when even solar panels are considered eyesores in some neighborhoods.”


California’s residential solar retrofit market beginning to saturate, according to new white paper

SOLAR POWER WORLD - Mar 26 Lumidyne Consulting has released a white paper saying that if current solar adoption patterns hold, residential [solar] installation is expected to drop from a peak of about 149,000 systems a year in 2016 to about 92,000 in 2018 and 46,000 in 2020 (a 69 percent drop relative to the peak in 2016). The paper notes that after a decade of explosive growth, in 2017, the residential solar market in California saw its first decline in annual installations, a 22 percent drop relative to 2016. The white paper suggests this decline is likely due to the beginning of market saturation in the residential solar retrofit market, which peaked in December 2015 for all investor-owned utilities in California and has since trended downward.

California bill aims to spur affordable housing for college students

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER - Mar 22 Amid a torrent of state bills attempting to ease California’s housing crisis, a new proposal aims to help one group that is struggling mightily: college students. Senate Bill 1227 aims to spur the construction of affordable housing designed especially for students. State housing law provides no clear way for students to prove they are eligible for subsidized apartments, regardless of their need, argues the bill’s author, Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Oakland. Developers, in turn, can’t tap into the economic incentives that California hands out in exchange for setting aside a portion of their development for low-income rental housing — and so they don’t build it. Skinner’s proposal would allow students to submit financial aid documents to qualify for low-cost housing, and it would explicitly extend state affordable housing incentives to private developers building apartments geared to full-time students.

Impact report for transformative San Francisco SoMa plan slated for certification

SOCKETSITE - Mar 26 San Francisco’s Planning Commission is slated to certify the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the City’s ambitious Central SoMa Plan on April 12. And if successfully certified, the Commission could then immediately vote to approve the plan and recommend its adoption by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. The Central SoMa Plan, as proposed, raises the proposed height limits for numerous neighborhood parcels, and, if adopted, could pave the way for an additional 7,500 units of housing and enough office space for an additional 45,000 workers to rise in the area roughly bounded by Folsom, Second, Townsend, and Sixth Streets.

New master plan aims to re-imagine how San Diego plans, builds, and uses its parks

THE SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE - Mar 25 San Diego’s demographic changes and the city’s shift away from urban sprawl development are forcing officials to reconsider how to plan future parks and how best to meet the evolving recreation needs of residents. City officials recently launched a three-year effort to update San Diego’s parks master plan for the first time since the 1940s, when empty land for parks was abundant and sprawling suburbs were the model for development. The new plan will be more than just a straightforward update, primarily because land has become scarce and the city has shifted to “smart growth” – adding density to existing neighborhoods instead of allowing development to sprawl outward. Those changes make it crucial, officials say, to re-evaluate how many acres of parkland each neighborhood needs and to make the distribution of parkland more equitable across communities and income levels.

Alta Energy completes Zero Energy retrofit of amenities building at Santa Clara office park

PV MAGAZINE - Mar 26 Alta Energy, a sustainable energy advisory and procurement services provider, announced today the completion of a 1.4-megawatt solar parking canopy system at the Towers at Great America in Santa Clara, a Class A office property owned by investors advised by PGIM Real Estate. The solar power system will supply more than 100 percent of the energy consumed by the office property’s amenities building, enabling it to qualify as an Emerging Zero Energy (ZE) building. It is the first building owned by an institutional commercial real estate investor to be included in the New Buildings Institute’s registry of emerging and verified Zero Energy retrofit buildings.

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Renée Louise Robin Renée Louise Robin
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