City’s Climate Action Fellow answers your energy Q’s

Julie Reichle

Susan Miller Davis of Connect looks on as a Piedmont resident joins the Piedmont Climate Challenge in February 2020

Piedmont’s second Climate Challenge begins this week. The Challenge is a chance for residents to keep track of their household emissions and monitor what that means for the community at large. Sign up and learn more at www.piedmontclimatechallenge.org

We rely on energy all the time at home and it is increasingly an important part of our relationship with our environment. Here are some questions I’ve received about energy, and my attempts to answer them.

Q: Where does Piedmont’s electricity come from? 

A: Piedmont works with East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) to bring electricity to our homes. It is a Community Choice Energy (CCE) program—meaning that they make power sourcing decisions based on what their customers want. EBCE offers member cities different options when it comes to their electricity supply.

In 2018, Piedmont City Council voted to bring the 100% renewable power option to Piedmont households. This means that all homes in the City were automatically enrolled in an electricity program that runs entirely on solar and wind energy. 

Today, over 90% of homes remain on this plan, showing that Piedmont residents are largely interested in sourcing their electricity from renewable, emissions free sources.

Q: Why does it matter if my stovetop runs on natural gas or electricity?

Cooktops (or stovetops) are one common appliance in Piedmont homes that run on natural gas. Some other gas powered appliances include furnaces, water heaters, and clothes dryers. 

Natural gas, while “cleaner” than coal, is still a fossil fuel which releases carbon dioxide and methane when collected and burned. If we want to meet Piedmont’s climate goals, we must drastically decrease our consumption of natural gas. One of Piedmont’s climate goals (which can be found in the Piedmont Climate Plan) is to decrease the amount of natural gas that we use in our homes. Natural gas is the leading source of carbon emissions in Piedmont today.

Switching your cooktop from natural gas to an electric or induction cooktop will mean that you are no longer emitting greenhouse gases when you use it. Instead, you are using EBCE’s all renewable electricity to power your appliance. This means fewer emissions in your home, fewer emissions in Piedmont, and one step closer to achieving our shared climate goals. 

If you have any questions about climate action, energy, or the City of Piedmont’s response to climate change, please write to me at nredinbo@piedmont.ca.gov.

3 thoughts on “City’s Climate Action Fellow answers your energy Q’s

  1. It’s important to note that, as far as annual household uses of natural gas in a typical home go, the #1 gas-burning appliance is usually a furnace, followed #2 by a home’s water heater, followed #3 by dryers or gas-stoves (depending on usage intensity). Thus, if Piedmonters want to make the greatest positive climate impact– and have a choice about which action to take first– replacing a gas-powered furnace would be a first choice. That said, most Piedmonters can reasonably choose to simply replace each of their gas-powered appliances with efficient electric appliances at each appliance’s natural end-of-life.

  2. Welcome Nate. Can you elaborate on your statement that the electricity program Piedmont is enrolled in runs “entirely on solar and wind power”? I thought the electricity Piedmont received is from the conventional grid which is at least 30% non-renewable. Does the electricity flowing into Piedmont homes only come from wind and solar?

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