BART to Use 90 Percent Renewable Energy by 2021

The agency approved 20-year contracts that come cheaper than non-renewable energy sources it pays for now.

BART riders of the future can plan on recalculating their carbon footprints — the transit agency expects to rely on renewable energy for 90 percent of its needed electricity by 2021.

On Thursday, the BART Board of Directors approved two 20-year energy contracts from wind and solar plants in Kern County — NextEra Energy Resources and Recurrent Energy, respectfully — beginning Jan. 1, 2021. During those 20 years, BART expects to pay $251 million for the renewable energy, but save nearly $174 million from its current rates.

The price per kWh, or kilowatt hour, locked in for two decades is lower than what BART pays now for its energy, says BART Sustainability Director Holly Gordon in a statement. The agency currently uses 400,000 MWh, or megawatt hours, each year — slightly more than the entire city of Alameda.

BART reports that it currently receives four percent of its electricity from renewable energy and plans to rely completely on renewable energy by 2045. Officials also expect its energy needs to grow, estimating that the contracts will provide 75 percent of BART’s electricity beginning 2025.

“These agreements demonstrate BART’s commitment to being a climate-forward transportation agency and establish the agency as a national leader when it comes to utilizing renewable energy,” says BART District 8 Director Nick Josefowitz in a statement.  

California Senate Bill 502, passed in 2015, specifically allows BART the power to request renewable energy from an electricity company.


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