The C/CAG Climate Program History

Working with the County of San Mateo Board of Supervisors and Department of Public Works, C/CAG established and staffed the Utilities and Sustainability Task Force in 2006 to develop a comprehensive review of energy and water use in San Mateo County. The outcome of that task force was a document called the San Mateo County Energy Strategy.

The Energy Strategy was completed and adopted by the County of San Mateo Board of Supervisors in December 2008 and was eventually adopted by every city energy_strategy_2012and town council in San Mateo County by the end of calendar year 2009. With the Energy Strategy completed, C/CAG renamed the task force the Resource Management and Climate Protection Committee, which was tasked with implementing the strategies in the document.

Early in 2010, the C/CAG executive director and County staff noted that some of the larger cities in San Mateo County were drafting and adopting Climate Action Plans (CAPs) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by their government operations and residential and business community. However, the smaller cities were not focusing on emission reduction planning, especially in light of limited staff and the down economy.

Five cities in Silicon Valley, including four from San Mateo County, started a working group to create an outline for a standardized CAP document. In September 2010, C/CAG and the County recognized the effort and applied for grants from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to complete development of the standardized CAP document and a set of tools to simplify the planning process. With this funding from BAAQMD to launch the project and initial and ongoing funding provided by PG&E through the San Mateo County Energy Watch (SMCEW) program, C/CAG hired a technical contractor (DNV GL – Kema) to both develop the document and tools and provide technical support to the cities. C/CAG also provided ongoing matching funds for the project in the form of annual staff support.

The project was eventually named the Regionally Integrated Climate Action Planning Suite or RICAPS. The overall concept is that cities and the County should RICAPS_logofocus their efforts on measures tied to sectors of emissions for which they have control. Most cities are concentrating their efforts on energy efficiency and renewable energy as well as waste reduction and transportation measures such as new bike lanes and active transportation. Because C/CAG funds many transportation demand management (TDM) programs, especially through the Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance, C/CAG is developing a transportation climate action plan (TCAP) allowing cities to leverage C/CAG’s efforts to reduce transportation GHG emissions.

The RICAPS document and tools, along with many other energy efficiency and climate action resources, are posted on the SMCEW website. Information includes smcew_lighthouseservices available through the SMCEW, financing opportunities, energy-saving tips, events and trainings, energy progress reports by city in San Mateo County, and video testimonials from past program customers.