Gaining some national attention from energy and environmental agencies, California’s burgeoning central valley city of Fresno has developed a clean transportation fleet and solar energy program under Mayor/actor Alan Autry and Gov./actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Fresno boasts one of the cleanest city-operated transportation fleets and a 665-kWh solar photovoltaic (PV) system at its municipal service center.
Both the federal government and Schwarzenegger have recognized Fresno for its pioneering work among medium-sized cities in the 500,000 to 1 million population range. Part of the city’s clean fleet currently is touring parts of California to demonstrate what can be done to other cities who ask for demonstrations, a Fresno city spokesperson said.
The city has internal goals going beyond complying with given standards, and has established a “commitment to clean air initiatives and to being environmental stewards,” said Autry, who played Bubba on the television series In the Heat of the Night and has received strong support from his acting buddy, Schwarzenegger.
The U.S. Department of Energy and federal Environmental Protection Agency have recognized Fresno for the energy/environmental initiatives.
Autry said the city’s 130 electric-powered refuse trucks met the California Air Resource Board (CARB) 2010 standard five years ahead of time (in 2005). The fleet now includes 341 clear-air vehicles, including a mix of natural gas, electric, clean diesel and hybrid vehicles. The city has 69 refuse trucks powered by liquefied natural gas and a municipal bus fleet of 34 compressed natural gas and 40 clean diesel vehicles
At the Municipal Service Center, the city installed 4,557 solar PV panels on the flat roof canopies that serve as storage areas for the buses and heavy equipment operated by the city. By the city’s calculations, which are supported by the federal energy agencies, during the expected 30-year life of the solar system air emission reductions cumulatively will be very large: 98,560 pounds of smog (nitrogen oxide, or NOx), 187,907 pounds of acid rain (sulfur oxide, or SOx), and 33 million pounds of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. In addition, Fresno said its clean fleet over the 30-year period will save 47,663 barrels of oil.
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