City Removes Electrification Requirement to Make It Voluntary Only

Photo courtesy AECOM

Special to the Vanguard

Davis, CA – After receiving pushback from portions of the community, the city on Friday announced that they would be revising the draft 2020-2040 Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) regarding building electrification at point-of-sale to be voluntary only.

“When the Draft CAAP’s public comment period closed on October 10, it was clear that only voluntary implementation of electric appliances within households and businesses received widespread support,” the city said in a statement on Friday.

In response, staff made an adjustment to the proposed draft CAAP in response to this feedback and to ensure complete clarity that any electrification actions for replacement appliances be completely voluntary.

The final draft CAAP is expected to be presented to the City Council for their consideration in December, and may include additional adjustments as staff complete review of other public comments received.

City staff say that they heard from multiple community members and business leaders, including those in the real estate industry, “that point-of-sale electrification would hinder and place undue burdens on those wishing to sell their home.”

Draft Action A.2 previously read:

Research and develop an ordinance requiring building energy efficiency upgrades and electric (or other non-fossil fuel) equipment replacement at time of sale for residential and commercial properties with a defined implementation schedule for ordinance requirements. Develop Home Energy Score (HES) program. Include specific provisions for low-income and vulnerable populations. Address financing/incentive options. Preferred approach is to start immediately with voluntary implementation supported by education and outreach; transition to mandatory requirements by 2025.

Draft Action A.2 will now read:

Provide education and outreach to assist property owners in making informed decisions for building energy/efficiency upgrades (including information about replacement with electric or other non-fossil fuel equipment replacement) for residential and commercial properties, including any existing or anticipated incentive and financing programs. Develop a Home Energy Score (HES) program. Include specific provisions for low-income and vulnerable populations.

The city explained that the main changes to Action A.2 are to keep electrification voluntary, take out point of sale, utilize extensive education and outreach materials and remove the 2025 requirement. These changes will also give staff time to research and implement incentives and financing mechanisms in support of voluntary electrification for the community and to review incoming mandates from the State regarding its landmark policy, Senate Bill 100, “The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018.”

The State of California is requiring renewable energy and 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045, with several benchmarks for jurisdictions to meet, including 60% electrification by 2030 and 100% by 2045.

The City of Davis received over 250 submissions from the online response format and via the CAAP email portal during the 60-day comment period for the Draft CAAP.

The city explained, “This feedback will help inform other modifications, clarifications and recommendations in the document. City staff will organize the comments in the coming months and then present the findings to the City Council as they consider adoption of a Final CAAP later this year.”

The City  added that they “truly appreciate the community’s engagement on the CAAP and wants to ensure that the final plan reflects the community’s interests, while taking on the ambitious climate change goals set by the State.”

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