The Hayward City Council has voted to move customers off electricity supplied by PG&E and onto entirely carbon-free sources of energy generation.
City officials said the vote means Hayward is now the largest Bay Area jurisdiction to opt for 100 percent carbon-free electricity.
City officials also said moving customers to power supplied by East Bay Community Energy, one of a handful of nonprofit agencies formed by local governments in the Bay Area and across the state to take over electricity procurement from PG&E, puts Hayward on the path to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20 percent over 2005 levels by the year 2020 and by more than 60 percent by 2040.
“Most of us will never have the opportunity to reduce greenhouse gases as much as we will,” Hayward Councilmember Al Mendall, chair of the council’s Sustainability Committee and a member of the East Bay Community Energy board of directors, said before the council voted.
Hayward officials say they want to provide a cleaner, greener and more affordable choice of electricity than offered by incumbent utilities, which they said tend to be more reliant on natural gas, other carbon-based fuels and nuclear power plants.
East Bay Community Energy, or EBCE, will offer two electricity options or products.
One, called Bright Choice, will be at least 85 percent carbon-free.
The second, called Brilliant 100, will be entirely carbon free.
Bright Choice will be priced 1.5 percent below PG&E electricity rates and Brilliant 100 will be priced equal to PG&E rates.
EBCE will begin enrolling commercial customers in June and will begin enrolling residential customers this coming January.
The City Council voted on Tuesday to make carbon-free Brilliant 100 the default electricity product for new EBCE customers in Hayward.
However, Hayward customers will still have the option of staying with PG&E or choosing Bright Choice.
The council also authorized purchasing Brilliant 100 electricity for all city-owned buildings and facilities.
Other EBCE-member cities and the County of Alameda are going to be considering similar decisions in the days and weeks ahead.
On Monday, the Albany City Council made Brilliant 100 its default electricity product for City of Albany EBCE customers.
The City Council also authorized a contract for design and construction of a two-megawatt solar array at Hayward’s wastewater treatment plant.
East Bay Community Energy has already signed up to be a customer, according to city officials.