Regional Decarbonization Framework

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Thank you for your interest and involvement in the County’s Regional Decarbonization Framework (RDF) and the Let’s Get There Playbook. We appreciate your thoughtful contributions to this initiative.  Since a preliminary draft of the Playbook was released in January this year, we received over 500 comments through our Engagement Portal, by email, and in-person and virtual comments at regional convenings hosted in each of the five Supervisorial districts. 

The updated Playbook draft is available here so you can see how comments received to-date have been incorporated while we develop an interactive Playbook website.   

Thank you for your interest and involvement in the County’s Regional Decarbonization Framework (RDF) and the Let’s Get There Playbook. We appreciate your thoughtful contributions to this initiative.  Since a preliminary draft of the Playbook was released in January this year, we received over 500 comments through our Engagement Portal, by email, and in-person and virtual comments at regional convenings hosted in each of the five Supervisorial districts. 

The updated Playbook draft is available here so you can see how comments received to-date have been incorporated while we develop an interactive Playbook website.   

This latest draft of the Playbook includes the following key changes from the January version: 

  • 80 edits to the Playbook’s suggested actions to clarify terminology or provide more context surrounding the action. For example, we clarified that tree planting projects should not conflict with rooftop or parking lot solar projects and explained that school recycling programs should focus on organic waste reduction.
  • 118 new decarbonization actions and 9 case studies based on feedback that reflects varied solutions for our diverse communities. For example, one new action suggests exploring policies that could allocate the cost-savings benefits of photovoltaics to tenants in multi-family buildings. Another new action suggests a community-scale analysis of green transportation options, such as bike lane usage and walkability, since neighborhood characteristics can differ widely depending on whether one lives in a rural, suburban, or urban area.
  • Modified text throughout to clarify that the Playbook is an evolving resource that will be informed by the learned experience of individuals and communities.
  • Explained that the term “disadvantaged communities” is used in the context of aligning with federal and state funds and that representation terminology would be developed in consultation with communities in the future.
  • Clarified that expediting permits and fee waivers for renewable energy projects only refers to rooftop and parking lot solar on or adjacent to buildings, and do not apply to utility-scale projects.
  • Explained that some of the comments pertaining to the energy section of the Technical Report will be addressed through the Energy Supply Study approved by the Board on May 24, 2023. The Study will deepen infill renewable energy analysis and add data and guidance based on localized community conditions and needs.

The RDF Team will continue our outreach as the Playbook evolves. We are committed to help identify strategies and actions most suited to your unique needs, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The RDF Technical Report (External link), Workforce Report (External link), and Playbook are meant as guides that offer individuals, organizations, communities, and the region flexibility as we harmonize our responses to global climate changes.

The County is also working with UC San Diego School of Urban Studies and Planning to conduct an analysis and evaluation of policy tools that can be considered by the Board to support our regional food system and agricultural community. Additional information can be found on our reports page (External link).

Q&A

Post your questions about the Regional Decarbonization Framework here and staff will answer questions as soon as possible.

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    I know that whoever reads this puts in a lot of time and effort . Thank you for all your hard work . The below is from the San Diego union tribune. Why not address those issues? The cost to an individual is important. How much of an impact will be made if I adopt a particular program is also important. How does one make an informed, intelligent decision without that kind of information? Thank you. "The playbook doesn’t cite specific costs for individual actions or estimate how big a dent they could make in carbon emissions."

    mgmckim asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for your question. The Implementation Playbook will be a resource guide that outlines areas for local governments, organizations, and businesses to consider as they move toward zero carbon emissions. As a resource, the Playbook does not mandate what actions to take or implement but provides a portfolio of activities that could be implemented to reach our zero carbon emissions goal, while ensuring good green jobs and that equity is upheld in the framework. The initial draft of the Playbook includes a scalar consideration of estimated costs to complete (Low/Medium/High) for the menu of activities that will continue to be a living resource over time. However, we recognize that more can and should be done and are grateful for this question regarding the costs and benefits of specific activities or measure. We would also like to learn about your own experiences in decarbonization efforts. Our County is committed to working with the community, businesses, cities/agencies, and tribes to co-create climate action and adaptation strategies. This strategy development for implementation of specific climate mitigation and adaptation activities will include market-tested costs (public and private) and socio-economic benefits that are contextual to specific strategies. We hope that you will continue to be engaged with the Framework and help in its implementation.

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    WHO actually thinks Zero Carbon is a goal? WHO?? Humans are carbon, we breath out carbon. You want to zero out humans? Sounds like that might be your goal. CO2 levels ARE NOT RISING. It's the same as a 100 years ago. CO2 in a naturally occurring gas. You seriously zero out that and you will kill off our plants. Quit this Zero Carbon talk. OR maybe you can quit breathing, that would help accordingly. Sorry I find this all very frustrating. Seems Adults are absent.

    Steve asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for your comment. We recognize your concerns; however, there is scientific consensus that the planet is heating due to human-caused emissions of planet-heating gases, such as carbon dioxide that is released from burning fossil fuels. As such, our Board directed the Regional Decarbonization Framework to be based on science-based pathways for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the region. Getting to zero emissions refers to our regional goal to reduce these planet-heating gases emitted from human activities to zero to achieve a balance of the carbon cycle in nature so the planet stops warming. 

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    I have noticed that my power bill is 90%+ non cost of energy costs. The majority of which are related to distribution. Doesn't it make more sense to reduce distribution needs as a primary focus for a new framework? Why are we not highly incentivizing rooftop solar and parking lot solar and building smaller more dynamic storage facilities closer to these production and consumption points so we don't have to build so many new high kV lines? Why didn't this framework take into account the true cost of a new high voltage transmission line? Which I believe is in the multi-billions? It sounds great to say that large solar farms are more economical - but are they really when you take into account the distribution cost to produce these new large infrastructure projects? This document refuses to address these costs that are inevitable with this plan.

    josborne asked about 1 year ago

    The RDF technical report authored by UC San Diego does not propose any recommendations for energy siting to or by the County. The regional maps are illustrative of the spatial distribution of the results by the authors within each scenario with a variety of criteria and show the tradeoffs for each set of assumptions. They are not intended to be used for planning transmission/distribution projects in any community. The final report has 9 scenarios ranging from low cost to low environmental impact. To estimate the wholesale cost of electricity for utility-scale CPAs, authors calculate the levelized cost of energy (LCOE), or the adjusted cost of electricity production per MWh. Calculations first add the solar and wind plant capital cost and the costs of interconnection to the grid. However, the study authors acknowledge that the transmission deliverability and reliability benefits of remote resources are difficult to quantify. A scenario maximizing rooftop and urban infill solar and energy storage could result in 5-30% reduction in infrastructure development on previously undisturbed land (greenfield development). See for example, Scenarios 7 & 9 that exclude utility-scale wind and solar. Finally, a cost-benefit analysis at a local level would be needed to site a specific project or energy plan – this regional analysis should not be used for the purpose of estimating energy project/plan costs.

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    Why is nuclear power not the focus? Does everyone here not realize that we do not have enough lithium and other rare earth minerals to produce the batteries needed for this plan? The only zero carbon energy source that can actually get us to zero is nuclear. Why is this not advocated for?

    josborne asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for highlighting potential sources of renewable energy that need to be considered in decarbonizing the electric supply. County staff is not focusing on or advocating for any particular renewable energy source. Chapter 2 of the RDF Technical Study by UC SanDiego identifies plausible near-term options and provide visualizations indicating what a range of future scenarios might look like. It primarily focuses on current commercially available technologies, including onshore wind, utility scale solar, rooftop solar, renewable energy development on brownfields, battery energy storage, and long-duration energy storage. Authors also consider emerging technologies such as offshore wind energy. Exploratory clean energy supply technologies that have not yet demonstrated broad commercial deployment and market penetration at the time of this study were not included in the quantitative analysis, however, are not excluded from consideration in the future. Examples of such technologies discussed in the Technical Study include small modular nuclear reactors, bioenergy, waste-to-energy, and mechanical direct air capture of carbon, floatovoltaics, and to some extent wave energy. The rationale for the technology scope is to utilize limited planning resources for efforts that are considered achievable with a high degree of confidence, and to limit exposure to uncertainty regarding cost, schedule, and technology performance. Additional technology types should be incorporated into future analyses if and when data becomes available demonstrating they have become proven and scalable or as they are built.

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    You didn't actually answer my question at all...

    cody.harrison asked about 1 year ago

    Dear Cody, 

    Our response acknowledges that human health impacts will inform implementation strategies on climate action and adaptation. Please refer to Board direction from January 27, 2021 (03) to develop a framework for a regional zero carbon sustainability plan which shall include strategies and initiatives to achieve zero carbon in the region. Hence, the decarbonization framework is focused on getting to net zero greenhouse gas emissions that result in climate change. Our office is also directed by the Board to consult with a Regional Equity Group on issues such as air pollution, as well as social equity guidance on climate action.

    Here are the links to these documents:

    Board direction on regional decarbonization on January 27, 2021 (03): doc (sandiegocounty.gov)

    Board direction on sustainability and environmental justice on January 25, 2023: doc (sandiegocounty.gov)

    We hope this answers your question about why this framework is focusing climate change, and how other health impacts of pollution are being addressed concurrently in this process.

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    I have been communicating with members of the Borrego Springs community about the RDF plan for decarbonizing electricity in advance of upcoming district meetings about this. One comment I received was that Borrego is part of the Federal “sacrifice zone” for new energy production, and that therefore the idea that we would have input that could alter our location as a siting of utility scale projects is unlikely. Can you please comment on how much such a federal designation has affected the results of the RDF framework?

    rebfalk asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for your interest in the Regional Decarbonization Framework and for your question about the energy scenarios in Chapter 2 of the technical study. The technical report authored by UC San Diego does not propose any recommendations for energy siting to or by the County. The regional maps are illustrative of the spatial distribution of the results by the authors within each scenario with a variety of criteria and show the tradeoffs for each set of assumptions. There are various scenarios that protect conservation land, agriculture land, etc. However, the scenario maps are not intended to be used for siting projects in any community, and include a range of renewable energy sources, including solar (rooftop/infill/brownfield/utility-scale), wind, offshore wind, geothermal and wave energy to illustrate these options. Staff is not proposing any scenario for adoption.

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    Why is the discussion centering around electric vehicles acquisition instead of public transportation? Because a robust and reliable public transportation network would help reduce car use overall. This would help achieve the environmental goals faster and help individuals' cost of living go down without vehicle upkeep. Neither the County nor the State nor the Federal government is promoting public transportation in their environmental agenda. It's puzzling why there's this such a contempt against an efficient and reliable public transportation in a world class county like San Diego...

    Davidmiramonte1 asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for your comment on the need for public transportation solutions in decarbonizing the transportation sector. Modal shift to transit from polluting vehicles significantly reduces greenhouse gas, and CAP commitments in the region are listed in Appendix 8.A, Table A.2 (pp. 432-433) & Table A.5 (p. 436); regional transit planning is discussed on pp. 68-69. There are 200 mentions of transit in the technical study, however, there are no recommendations from staff in this report.

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    This Regional Decarbonization Framework is the best plan I have ever seen. Thank you for your hard work.

    Ritaclement asked over 1 year ago

    Thank you for your comment. Please continue to engage so we can come to collaborative solutions on regional decarbonization.

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    Why is most of the storytelling around regional decarbonization related to climate change when getting to Net Zero locally makes very nearly ZERO difference in the amount of GHG-related climate change we experience locally? This storytelling seems all the more misplaced given that the human health impacts of fossil fuel use ARE felt locally, and are around 27x more costly to society as a whole than the GHG components of fossil emissions.

    cody.harrison asked over 1 year ago

    Thank you for your comment on the human health impacts of fossil fuels. Implementation of decarbonization strategies would be informed by environmental justice concerns, particularly air pollution in disadvantaged communities.

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    Hi-what sort of upgrades may the typical residential electrical panel need to accommodate an electric water heater vs. natural gas one? Thinking we may need a panel upgrade and add a solar panel to offset. Thanks!

    steveweihe asked over 1 year ago

    Hi Steve,

    Thank you for your question. The answer is dependent on the building and things like the electrical capacity of the panel, the number of available breakers on the panel, the existing electrical load, and the additional electrical load from the new appliance. There may also be other factors relating to the building's electrical system or wiring. The demands from an electric water heater may or may not be enough to reach the threshold of requiring a panel upgrade, depending on factors specific to your home. There are many resources available online, including resources that provide information on panels and panel upgrades, home energy audits, water heaters, rebates, and incentives. For example, the EnegyStar.gov website has several resources on panel upgrades and water heaters that may be useful: https://www.energystar.gov/products/energy_star_home_upgrade/make_your_home_electric_ready and https://www.energystar.gov/products/energy_star_home_upgrade/super_efficient_water_heater. 

    Additionally, if you have any specific suggestions to share, please feel free to email our team at ZeroCarbon@sdcounty.ca.gov or take a look at the Buildings Special Topic Working Group page, which is a one of five Special Topic Working Groups, and add comments or ideas there. If you are interested in joining the Buildings group, you can register here to access the Buildings page, and any other page, and join in on the conversation about regional building decarbonization implementation. Please reach out to us at ZeroCarbon@sdcounty.ca.gov if you have any questions or if you are unable to register.

    Thank you for your engagement!

    Kind regards,

    The RDF Team


Page last updated: 01 Feb 2024, 11:31 AM