Groundwork San Diego has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the California Energy Commission to develop an advanced, energy master plan for the Encanto/Chollas Creek community. This grant, one of only 4 awarded statewide, will launch a community-wide initiative to make “Chollas Eco-Village” a Zero Net Energy Community.
In its simplest terms, a ZNE community is one in which its annual energy usage is matched by locally generated, renewable energy. Going ZNE reduces energy use, lowers the effect of human activities on climate change and preserves the quality of life in the community.
The Master Plan will forecast local renewable energy resources that match the electrical, heating and cooling requirements of the targeted project area, and facilitate maximum community energy efficiency and participation. The project area is roughly bounded by I-94, Euclid Avenue, Imperial Avenue and I-805. There are six schools within the project area, approximately 2,000 residential units, numerous commercial buildings such as retail stores, restaurants, office buildings, medical offices and public facilities like libraries.
Over the next 18 months, Groundwork San Diego will launch a community-wide initiative in partnership with local residents, businesses, property owners, community-based organizations and public institutions. At the end of the grant – Phase I – Groundwork San Diego will develop a Master Plan that includes the following:
- Type, size and locations of energy generation resources;
- Locations within the community that have committed to be part of this project;
- And energy efficiency and ZNE plans for community schools.
“This project will serve as a model for all of the underserved communities throughout California,” said State Senator Ben Hueso. “I am thrilled to be in support and look forward to seeing the significant economic benefits the completed master plan will bring to Chollas Creek and its surrounding communities.”
Led by Groundwork San Diego, this project is an unprecedented cross-sector coalition that includes San Diego Unified School District, UC San Diego and SDG&E, and enjoys support from the City of San Diego and other organizations all committed to advancing the City of San Diego Climate Action Plan, developing new models of sustainability that support environmental, economic prosperity, and environmental justice goals.
“We need to think creatively, especially at the local level, about how to bring new clean energy technologies and their benefits to disadvantaged communities,” said California Energy Commissioner Janea A. Scott. “This project is an exciting step in that direction. The phased approach of the challenge helps fund the planning and then implementation, which is a great way to create a broad community oriented approach.”