By Derek Wilson
Fairfax is green: Not just emerald green, or shamrock green, but deep green. The town’s Climate Action Committee is working hard with Marin Clean Energy to push toward its deep green energy goals.
At a recent joint meeting with the Climate Action Committee, the Town Council heard the outcry from the public and the town’s Draft Climate Action Plan was amended to make Fairfax greenhouse gas neutral by 2030 — 15 years ahead of its earlier projection.
The Fairfax Climate Action Committee was established to implement the Climate Action Plan, adopted by the Town Council on Feb. 5, 2014. Its mission is to mitigate the production of greenhouse gas and compile existing and potential strategies to address climate change. CAC develops an annual action plan as well as any recommended amendments to the Climate Action Plan. In addition, the committee keeps a scorecard to track greenhouse gas reduction actions taken.
“Fairfax has a long history and deep engagement with Marin Clean Energy… In Fairfax, they’ve done a lot to incentivize residents and businesses to pursue deep green goals,” said MCE’s Justin Marquez.
The Fairfax Climate Action Committee is one of the 2021 recipients of the MCE Charles F. McGlashan Advocacy Award. Other winners include the Centers for Independent Living of Marin, Contra Costa, Napa and Solano counties with Vi Ibarra, and Deborah Elliott from Napa County.
“Marin CIL is honored to accept the Charles McGlashan Award,” according to Eli Gelardin, CEO of Marin Center for Independent Living. Working with PG&E and MCE, Marin Center for Independent Living provided 182 people with back-up batteries to power medical devices during power outages. Power outages can knock out needed devices such as oxygen machines, feeding pumps, power wheelchairs and refrigerators for medication.
MCE established this annual award in June 2011 to commemorate and memorialize the legacy of environmental leadership by former founding MCE Chair, Charles F. McGlashan. This year’s recipients are being recognized for their partnership and ongoing commitment to environmental justice and community choice.
“MCE has always been driven by our communities’ needs, and we are proud this year to recognize these outstanding partners,” said Kevin Haroff, MCE Board Director, Executive Committee Chair, and City of Larkspur councilmember. “The work done by this year’s recipients showcases how community leadership can benefit our most vulnerable populations and our planet simultaneously. We are grateful to work with these organizations and others to support our communities in this time of need.”
Fairfax Mayor Bruce Ackerman said the town has added teeth to the Climate Action Plan by amending building codes to encourage new construction to include chargers for electric vehicles. The Town is also working on plans to encourage ride sharing and carpooling in order to reduce traffic and parking headaches and greenhouse gasses.
Fairfax has a Deep Green adoption rate of 8.6 percent, the highest in Marin. In early 2020, the Fairfax Town Council approved and provided seed-funding for the CAC to move forward with the design of a battery storage system for the Fairfax Pavilion which could be combined with its rooftop solar for a proposed microgrid system. The CAC has been working with MCE staff on this program and hopes to apply for funding through the state’s Self-Generation Incentive Program.
In March 2020, MCE’s Executive Committee approved $250,000 from the MCE Resiliency Fund for the purchase of portable back-up batteries to support medically vulnerable customers. MCE’s local Centers for Independent Living conducted critical outreach to reach these customers and ensure the batteries were distributed before the 2020 Public Safety Power Shutoff season. These partners are receiving the 2021 Charles F. McGlashan Advocacy Award for successful delivery of these batteries which increase energy resiliency while minimizing the need for polluting fossil fuel generators.