San José Chosen for New U.S. Department of Energy Program for Electrification of Underserved NeighborhoodsInitiative will assist community-led transitions to clean energy housing and jobs aiding City’s fight against climate change

SAN JOSE, Calif. (April 14, 2022) – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected the City of San José as one of 22 participants in the first-ever Communities Local Energy Action Program (Communities LEAP), which will help low-income neighborhoods in San José transition to clean energy. The City will receive technical assistance through Communities LEAP to develop a community action plan to electrify buildings in East and downtown San José and bring underrepresented communities into the clean energy workforce. The technical assistance, funded by DOE, will last 12 to 18 months.“Huge congratulations to our Environmental Services Department and City of San José for earning this critical, first-of-its-kind partnership alongside other leading cities in the U.S.,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. “We are grateful to our federal partners for their support, as our City takes measurable steps to combat climate change and reaffirms our commitment to build an equitable and resilient future for generations to come.”The goals of Communities LEAP include reducing local air pollution, increasing energy resilience, lowering utility costs and energy burdens, and providing long-term jobs and economic opportunities. The pilot program also reflects the Biden administration’s priorities to assist community-led transitions to a clean energy economy and to build a healthier, more equitable, and sustainable future.Through Communities LEAP, the Department of Energy “will use the power of the federal government, DOE’s National Labs and other experts to help our communities develop clear, actionable plans to reimagine their energy future and protect the health and safety of all residents,” said Secretary of Energy, Jennifer M. Granholm.For San José, Communities LEAP is an opportunity to ease the energy burden on underserved communities while reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, which is a core element of Climate Smart San José.“We are beyond excited for this opportunity to connect our bold goal of being carbon neutral by 2030 with social equity goals to ensure we can address climate change while building thriving, resilient communities,” said Kerrie Romanow, Director of the San José Environmental Services Department and the City’s Chief Sustainability Officer.The City recently developed a draft framework for existing building electrification, which will go before the City Council in coming months. The framework does not require electrification but identifies strategies to encourage and incentivize the electrification of buildings in San José. The City will build upon this framework in creating a community action plan through Communities LEAP, working with residents, community-based organizations and stakeholders.Technical assistance from Communities LEAP will enable the City to identify the steps and funding necessary to make single- and multi-family buildings both energy-efficient and all-electric. In addition, Communities LEAP will also open the door for San José to access other federal government programs, including those included in the $1.3 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.To learn more about Communities LEAP, visit the website of the DOE. For information about the City’s draft existing building electrification framework, visit the City’s building electrification webpage.About the City of San JoséWith more than one million residents, San José is one of the most diverse large cities in the United States and is Northern California’s largest city and the 10th largest city in the nation. San José’s transformation into a global innovation center has resulted in one of the largest concentrations of technology companies and expertise in the world. In 2011, the City adopted Envision San José 2040, a long-term growth plan that sets forth a vision and a comprehensive road map to guide the City’s anticipated growth through the year 2040.About Environmental ServicesThe San José Environmental Services Department leads Climate Smart San José and manages garbage and recycling services; watershed protection and pollution prevention; municipal drinking water and recycled water; sustainability initiatives; and the operation and infrastructure improvements of the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility. ESD’s mission is to deliver world-class utility services and programs to improve our health, environment and economy. Follow us on Facebook (@SJEnvironment), Twitter (@SJEnvironment) and Instagram (@SJEnvironment) For ESD news and information, go to the ESD Extra Blog.