CivicSpark is Governor Brown’s Initiative AmeriCorps program that aims to build local capacity to respond to climate change.
In order for California to meet its ambitious climate change goals, local governments are pressed to expand capacity to manage new research, planning, and implementation activities. CivicSpark, administered by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, is Governor Brown’s Initiative AmeriCorps program that aims to build local capacity to respond to climate change.
With 48 climate fellows, and a newly added group of 20 fellows addressing water management issues, CivicSpark can be utilized in a number of different capacities to support local programs. Here we highlight a handful of climate and energy projects being implemented in partnership with local agencies in the 2016-17 service year to inspire action and encourage local governments to connect with their peers to exchange best practices.
North Coast Plug-in Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan Implementation Project
This project focuses on preparing the region for increased electric vehicle utilization by engaging with regional municipalities and other industry stakeholders to develop streamlined charging station installation processes. The CivicSpark fellow is supporting the Fuel Cell Vehicle Readiness Project by conducting research and analysis to inform an Infrastructure Plan, assessing the region for potential fueling locations, and engaging with fleets and distributors to promote future fuel cell vehicle use.
City of Chico Community Challenge Program
This project supports the implementation of the City’s Climate Action Plan and General Plan. These actions are focused on a variety of sustainability fronts, including reduced energy use, alternative transportation options, and reduced water consumption. The fellow, along with the City’s community partners, is leading the development of a comprehensive community challenge program that integrates the activities and goals identified in both plans to foster a sense of involvement in and ownership of climate action and adaptation.
City of Oakland Zero Net Energy
This project helps the City of Oakland build capacity for the implementation of clean and zero net energy policies. The fellow is undertaking a range of tasks to support the City’s ambitious climate goals, which include: (1) Building the electric vehicle infrastructure through information, training, strategic program engagement, and policy development; (2) Pursuing zero net energy results for municipal buildings through planning, analysis, procurement, policy development, and staff training; (3) Seeking pathways to zero net energy throughout the community by pursuing innovative public-private partnerships to promote innovative technologies and applications in private buildings; and (4) Promoting building benchmarking and energy efficiency in both public and private buildings through mandatory benchmarking and/or related policies, advancing the reach effectiveness of EBEW services, and development/implementation of strategic plans in coordination with external funders and partners.
San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Technologies
This project aims to support regional agencies in the San Joaquin Valley to electrify their fleets and promote the adoption of electric vehicles. The CivicSpark fellow is working with CALSTART to assist businesses in Fresno County with deployment of EV charging equipment through collaboration with the City of Fresno Business Energy Tune-up program and the San Joaquin Valley Air District. The fellow is also assisting the Fresno County Rural Transit Agency with deployment of six electric transit buses and associated charging equipment, working with Visalia and Modesto Transit to deploy electric transit buses using lessons learned from experience with Fresno County Rural Transit, and helping to collect data from thirteen EV ARC off-grid solar powered EWV chargers deployed in rural Fresno County cities.
VCREA GHG Inventories and Regional Climate Action Plan
The purpose of this project is to assist the County of Ventura and its Cities with planning in order to mitigate and address changes that result from climate change. The CivicSpark fellow is supporting the Ventura County Regional Energy Alliance (VCREA) with the preparation of an inventory of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (2010 through 2012) for the region and for each of its local government member organizations. The fellow is also supporting the development of a regional Climate Action Plan template for use by the various jurisdictions in VCREA, as well as developing content for the “Climate on the Move” website, and supporting jurisdictions in benchmarking municipal buildings.
Gateway Cities Energy Action Plans
This project focuses on supporting the multiple cities within the Gateway Cities Council of Governments on completing their climate and energy action plans, implementing benchmarking activities, and conducting greenhouse gas analyses through ClearPath. The fellow is helping cities develop and implement their Climate/Energy Action Plans, training and supporting local agencies to utilize ClearPath, and assisting in educating local officials and staff more broadly about climate action planning and GHG analysis.
Southern California Sustainability Projects
Three fellows are supporting the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), dividing their time between the Green Region Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Indicators project and providing technical assistance for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) grant program. Fellows are continuing the work of past fellows collecting performance data on cities in the SCAG region, and the working closely with Strategic Growth Council staff to provide outreach, mapping, and other technical assistance to cities participating, or interested, in the AHSC/Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund programs.
City of Los Angeles Sustainable City pLAn
In April of 2015, Mayor Garcetti released Los Angeles’ first Sustainable City pLAn. The CivicSpark fellow is helping the City perform a gap analysis to analyze and asses what additional policies are needed to reach their climate and greenhouse gas reduction goals. The fellow is assisting the Mayor’s Office in having a clearer idea of additional areas of study or policy development required for the Sustainable City pLAn to ensure LA stays on track to meet its GHG emission reduction commitments as laid out in the pLAn. The fellow is also launching public engagement strategies for energy conservation, working to increase Adopt the pLAn commitments, and supporting other sustainability-related public campaigns.