Phoenix unveils plans to promote sustainability - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

Phoenix unveils plans to promote sustainability

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Posted: Monday, January 13, 2014 7:17 am | Updated: 8:07 am, Fri Jan 17, 2014.

Phoenix has big plans when it comes to sustainability.

This week Mayor Greg Stanton joined U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Gina McCarthy to dedicate a new 1.2-megawatt sunpower solar system expected to serve approximately 32 percent of the electricity demand at two city garages.

“Investments like we’re seeing in Phoenix help set a national model in how cities and municipalities can come together to cut carbon pollution, save taxpayer dollars, strengthen local economies, and still safeguard the local environment,” McCarthy said.

The new system was designed and built by SunPower Corp. Under an agreement with SunPower, Wells Fargo Bank owns the system and the city hosts it while buying electricity rates that are competitive with retail electricity. The renewable energy credits produced by the system will be transferred to Arizona Public Services (APS). The project was completed at the end of 2013. The panels are located on top of city parking garages on Adams and Washington streets.

“With the new solar arrays installed, Phoenix now has more than 15.25 megawatts of installed solar capacity at 26 facilities, which is the equivalent to powering more than 3,000 Valley homes,” said Vice Mayor Bill Gates, chairman of the City Council Finance, Efficiency, Economy and Sustainability (FECS) Subcommittee.

Gates recently challenged the city to create a new goal of reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 15 percent by 2015 after the city accomplished its former goal of 5 percent.

Phoenix City Council also approved a four-year agreement to work with Arizona State University to establish a public/private sustainability incubator called the Center for Resource Intelligence (CfRI). CfRI will be a network of public and private entities focused on converting waste and other resources in economic value.

“This is about turning trash once destined for the landfill into business opportunities and jobs for our community,” Stanton said. “With this effort, Phoenix can lead the way to discover how to reduce our waste in a way that spurs innovation and advances our economy.”

City staff estimates an additional 10 to 25 percent diversion of solid waste from landfill to other uses through the research and development of the CfRI and partnerships with the private sector. For more information on the partnership, visit sustainabilitysolutions.asu.edu.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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