SMUD Watch Team
SMUD Watch is a group of concerned 350 Sacramento members who share timely alerts and promote SMUD policy and action that will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
Why SMUD is important
We are fortunate to have the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) as our community-owned, community-controlled electric utility. But the utility is the biggest contributor to the county’s greenhouse gasses (GHG) – currently 1.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. The emissions come from SMUD’s four major power plants, plus purchased power as indicated in the figure below.
The 2030 Carbon Zero Plan
In 2020 the SMUD Board of Directors approved a Climate Emergency Declaration and directed staff to develop a plan that would eliminate all SMUD emissions by 2030. SMUD Watch is excited to support the Plan’s expansion of new renewables, storage capacity, distributive resources, and emerging technologies. Truly, the Plan represents a monumental effort for SMUD and an opportunity for the community to become directly involved.
SMUD Watch has been participating and providing commentary in stakeholder and community Carbon Zero Plan meetings. The next stakeholder meeting will be February 23rd, followed by the release of the draft plan for general public review. The SMUD Board will have a workshop on the Plan in mid-March and final approval at the end of that month.
The Environmental Equity Connection
Besides GHG, SMUD’s gas-fired power plants emit pollutants which impact the health of the surrounding community. SMUD Watch believes the power plants in disadvantaged areas should be prioritized for closure.
Other environmental equity policies we support include:
- Electrification programs that financially assist low-income SMUD customers for the installation of replacement heat pumps and access to electric vehicles.
- Creation of Virtual Net Energy Metering (VNEM) which allows builders of multi-family buildings to locate solar panels at a central location on-site and have the resulting credits allocated fairly among the residents. It is particularly useful for low-income developments, but VNEM can also be used for a stand-alone community solar project where the non-profit developer seeks allocation of the solar credits to neighboring low-income renters.
SMUD Customer Solar
One of the most controversial issues will be SMUD’s new rate for customer rooftop solar, or Net Energy Metering (NEM). The new rate should be released as a draft this March for rate hearings during the summer. SMUD Watch participated in the original 2019-20 stakeholder meetings on valuing customer solar and will be providing input when the new rate emerges.
For More Information
The SMUD Board meetings are the third Thursday of the month, preceded by four subcommittee meetings in the weeks prior.