The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider creating an ordinance requiring electricity become the sole power source for all new residential and hotels, offices, and retail buildings in the county.
The ordinance would prohibit the installation of natural gas piping in those buildings.
The board explored the new rules back in August, voting 4-1 to ask staff to work on the new rules. District 2 supervisor Candace Andersen dissented, saying she wanted to hear more input from local officials before moving forward.
Board members said new state rules mandate solar for most new development and mentioned how wildfires and a lack of water to power hydroelectric facilities during droughts could affect new laws.
A county ordinance would affect unincorporated areas where the California Energy Commission has accepted studies demonstrating the cost effectiveness of the new requirements.
The 2019 California Energy Code allows local jurisdictions to establish stricter building codes if that local authority finds it necessary because of local climate, geological, topographical, or environmental conditions.
In September 2020, Contra Costa adopted a climate emergency resolution, saying the county should require electricity over gas in new construction. A county staff report in August said "The built environment is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the county and in California."
The ordinance wouldn't apply to future developments already approved before the new law is enacted. The ordinance also wouldn't prohibit emergency backup power sources, like generators, that run on fossil fuel sources.
The new law would have to be approved by the California Energy Commission before being enacted. Staff is recommending the county approve the proposal with an operating date of July 1, 2022.