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Goal RE-2 Renewable Energy Systems
The County will be home to diverse and innovative renewable energy systems that provide reliable and affordable energy to our unique Valley, Mountain, and Desert regionsGO TO GOAL
Goal RE-4 Environmental Compatibility
The County will establish a new era of sustainable energy production and consumption in the context of sound resource conservation and renewable energy development practices that reduce greenhouse gases and dependency on fossil fuelsGO TO GOAL
Support solar energy generation, solar water heating, wind energy and bioenergy systems that are consistent with the orientation, siting and environmental compatibility policies of the General Plan
- RE 2.1.1: Utilize renewable energy development standards in the Development Code to minimize impacts on surrounding properties.
Promote use of energy storage technologies that are appropriate for the character of the proposed location.
- RE 2.2.1: Encourage onsite energy storage with RE generation facilities, consistent with County Development Code requirements.
- RE 2.2.2: Encourage and allow energy storage facilities as an accessory component of RE generation facilities.
- RE 2.2.3: Establish thresholds for conditions under which energy storage facilities are a primary use and subject to separate permit processes.
- RE 2.2.4: Periodically review and encourage appropriate technology types for energy storage facilities.
- RE 2.2.5: Support state policies and efforts by utility companies to plan for and develop energy storage technologies through legislative advocacy and coordination with utility companies.
Encourage the use of feasible emerging and experimental renewable energy technologies that are compatible with County regulatory standards.
- RE 2.3.1: Monitor emerging renewable energy technologies and amend County development standards as needed to accommodate suitable new technology types.
- RE 2.3.2: Monitor improvements in existing renewable energy technologies, and consider allowing additional types of renewable energy facilities as they become compatible with County regulatory standards.
Identify and prioritize programs that support cost-effective and universal access to renewable energy.
- RE 2.4.1: Expand outreach and education efforts through the County’s online Community Development Toolkit on programs such as the availability of federal and state tax credits,
- participation in the a PACE program, and other mechanisms to reduce the cost of renewable energy facilities for onsite use on new and existing buildings.
- RE 2.4.2: Educate developers about the County’s RE goals and policies, and encourage the inclusion of renewable energy facilities for onsite use in new developments.
- RE 2.4.3: Engage with residential developers to discuss and identify opportunities and incentives to expand onsite renewable energy facilities consistent with the goals and policies of this Element.
- RE 2.4.4: Encourage installation of renewable energy systems on rental properties, multi-family buildings, and buildings with multiple commercial tenants by working with property developers and owners, using tools such as green leases, split incentive programs, and the California Solar Initiative’s MASH program.
- RE 2.4.5: Encourage the pursuit of community choice aggregation programs in collaboration with other interested jurisdictions in the region.
- RE 2.4.6: Proactively coordinate RE programs with other jurisdictions in the County to promote countywide collaboration and consistency.
Support renewable energy systems that accelerate zero net energy (ZNE) through innovative design, construction, and operations of residences, businesses, and institutions that are grid-neutral and independent of centralized energy infrastructure.
- RE 2.5.1: Allow and encourage construction of new buildings designed to ZNE standards consistent with state programs.
- RE 2.5.2: Incorporate ZNE into outreach and educational strategies about renewable energy and energy efficiency.
- RE 2.5.3: Allow and encourage construction of new buildings or developments in remote locations with stand-alone energy systems not connected to the grid.
- RE 2.5.4: Encourage energy independence and resiliency, including zero net energy and stand-alone systems not connected to the grid, in County economic development presentations and outreach efforts.
- RE 2.5.5: Collaborate with incorporated cities and other jurisdictions to create region-specific ZNE programs and Community Development toolkit tools tailored to the climates and characteristics of each region to provide consistency and leverage resources.
Encourage energy efficiency through appropriate renewable energy systems.
- RE 2.6.1: Pursue and consider development incentives such as density bonuses and streamlined permitting for projects that install accessory renewable energy facilities.
- RE 2.6.2: Allow developers of nonresidential properties to reduce required on-site parking spaces below minimum standards when space equivalent to the parking space reduction is devoted to renewable energy generation and storage facilities designed to serve onsite energy needs.
- RE 2.6.3: Encourage solar energy generation on rooftops and on covered parking as the first priority for on-site energy generation.
Prioritize, facilitate, and encourage onsite accessory RE generation to serve the unincorporated county, with a primary focus on rooftop and parking lot solar energy generation.
- RE 3.1.1: Permit rooftop, parking lot, and similar accessory RE generation facilities that primarily serve on-site energy needs in all zoning districts, including micro-grid systems, with minimal regulation and permitting requirements.
Encourage community-oriented renewable energy (CORE) generation that primarily serves local uses in the county.
- RE 3.2.1: Specific standards shall be established and maintained for community-oriented RE generation facilities appropriate to the Valley, Desert, and Mountain regions.
- RE 3.2.2: Encourage through the regulatory system the establishment of local and regional organizations to pursue community-oriented RE production and storage.
- RE 3.2.3: CORE facilities shall be designed primarily to meet the needs of the local users, with an adequate overage margin to meet peak demands and defray the cost of the systems.
- RE 3.2.3: Encourage utilities and developers to establish community-shared solar programs that allow residents and businesses to purchase shares of the output of RE generation facilities to offset their electricity bills.
- RE 3.2.4: Provide information and educational opportunities in the Countywide Plan Community Development Tool Kit for local organizations pursuing the acquisition of Community-Oriented Renewable Energy (CORE).
- RE 3.2.5: Encourage utilization of micro-grid technologies to support the principle of “local production primarily for local consumption,” to enhance local energy security and to improve local costs of living and commerce.
- RE 3.2.6: Apply minimal discretion in the permit approval process for CORE facilities.
- RE 3.2.7: Encourage infrastructure, net metering and regulatory systems that support CORE facilities.
Promote an adaptive distributed energy infrastructure that sustains local communities and improves resiliency to grid failures and increasing energy prices.
- RE 3.3.1: Support research, planning and investment in accessory and community-oriented energy generation, distribution, and storage infrastructure by adapting regulatory tools to respond to rapidly evolving RE technologies.
- RE 3.3.2: Encourage new institutional campuses and large residential/commercial developments to include micro-grids with onsite renewable energy generation and energy storage systems.
Collaborate with utilities and RE generation facility developers to encourage collocation of transmission and intertie facilities.GO TO POLICY
Utility-oriented RE generation facilities will be required to meet a higher standard of evaluation for appropriate site selection due to its size and distance from population centers.
- RE 5.4.1: Establish a two-step application process for utility-oriented RE generation that evaluates site selection early in the planning process.
- RE 5.4.2: Encourage utility-oriented RE generation to occur in the five DRECP Development Focus Areas (DFAs) that were supported by the Board of Supervisors on February 17, 2016, Resolution No. 2016-20 and on adjacent private lands.
- RE 5.4.3: Direct utility-oriented RE generation facilities that may require transmission upgrades to seek sites within existing transmission corridors.
Coordinate with the Department of Defense on the siting of RE generation facilities in a manner that will not significantly impact military operations in the unincorporated county.GO TO POLICY
Collaborate with utilities, the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to plan for RE generation facilities to be located on public lands, apart from existing unincorporated communities.GO TO POLICY
Share information and communicate the costs and benefits of investing in energy efficiency retrofits, energy conservation behaviors, and renewable energy systems.
- RE 6.3.1: Update the County’s renewable energy web portal to include information to publicize successes of community-oriented renewable energy (CORE) projects, sharing lessons learned, and encouraging duplication.
- RE 6.3.2: Participate in regional collaborative efforts such as the Countywide Vision working groups to identify, vet, and implement energy programs that are feasible at the regional scale but may not be feasible for one jurisdiction to implement independently, such as energy partnerships with utilities or regional education programs.
- RE 6.3.3: Promote opportunities for low-cost property financing for energy efficiency and onsite accessory RE generation through efforts, such as the PACE program, at County events and during the review of building permits and applications for building expansion or renovation.
Encourage pilot projects to demonstrate energy efficiency retrofit investments and renewable energy opportunities.
- RE 6.5.1: Where feasible, install renewable energy projects on County facilities that provide visible, public examples of the County’s commitment to cost-effective renewable energy.
- RE 6.5.2: Consider utilizing County lands or facilities for research and development or university exploration of new renewable energy technologies that seek to minimize adverse effects to the environment.
- RE 6.5.3: Encourage development of a highly visible private property pilot project for the small-scale use of distributed renewable energy, such as projects at local tourist-serving uses.
- RE 6.5.4: Identify opportunities to create revenue for the County by leasing the rights to renewable energy resources on County property for distributed energy storage or distributed generation through power purchase agreements or similar arrangements.
Investigate new RE generation incentive programs, such as Community Choice Aggregation, for their appropriateness to our communities.
- RE 6.6.1: Promote incentives available to County residents and businesses for solar photovoltaic, solar water heating, wind energy, and bioenergy installations. Incentives may be offered by the County, federal agencies, other local and regional agencies, or private partners.
Induce high volume energy users to develop onsite RE generation systems through streamlining of permit requirements.GO TO POLICY
Policy HZ-1.10 Energy independence
We encourage new residential development to include rooftop solar energy systems and battery storage systems that can provide backup electrical service during temporary power outages.GO TO POLICY
FOCUS STATEMENT A - Preserve the desert ecosystem, its natural beauty, and the community’s harmonious relationship with the environment
Action Statement A.6
Encourage small-scale rooftop solar rather than large industrial solar farms.GO TO ACTION PLAN
FOCUS STATEMENT A - Maintain the rural character of the community
Action Statement A.1
Aspire to be a model renewable energy community with a principal focus on point-of-use, rooftop solar.GO TO ACTION PLAN