Two Silicon Valley cities are the latest local jurisdictions in California to pursue bans on natural gas in building construction.
Palo Alto has adopted a building requirement, while neighboring Redwood City elected officials are considering a similar change. Redwood City is set to take up a potential gas ban when it meets Nov. 25.
Earlier this month, the Palo Alto city council adopted a building electrification plan, changing the city's Reach Codes by requiring all-electric installations starting next year in new residential and commercial construction.
"Natural gas contributes to Palo Alto's greenhouse gas emissions," city officials said in making their unanimous decision. "Palo Alto's Utilities Department obtains its electricity from renewable and hydroelectric resources, meaning that it is cleaner and healthier compared to fossil fuels; and it is also more affordable."
Also in Northern California, Berkeley passed an ordinance in July prohibiting gas infrastructure in all new construction. Menlo Park and Mountain View, also in the South Peninsula area, have enacted similar bans, although for specified types of residential construction.
California’s third largest city, San Jose, in early October backed a proposal by Mayor Sam Liccardo and four council members to establish an all-electric requirement for new buildings. It is expected to take effect Jan. 1, pending approval by the California Energy Commission.
A pro-natural gas coalition supported by Southern California Gas Co. and many businesses and governments, Californians for Balanced Energy Solutions, has argued that with the development of renewable natural gas, there may be fewer emissions and less expense using gas than requiring all-electric power.