City Power Play: 8 Practical Local Energy Policies to Boost the Economy

Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Author +
John Farrel

Year: 2013

The economy has stalled and so has the war on climate change. But dozens of cities are creating jobs and cleaner energy using their own power.

This report details eight practical energy policies cities can and have used to their economic advantage:

  1. Municipal utilities
  2. Community choice aggregation
  3. Building energy codes
  4. Building energy use disclosure
  5. Local tax authority
  6. Solar mandates
  7. Permitting
  8. Local energy financing

Case studies of each policy vividly illustrate their impact with specific examples, right down to the
text of the relevant ordinances.

The policies aren’t tied to a political ideology, but a practical and local one. Cities have identified where they have untapped resources and deployed them to generate jobs and
keep more of their energy dollars in the economy.

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Table of Contents


Municipal Utilities
Sacramento Municipal Utility District
Austin Energy
Palo Alto Utilities
Chattanooga Electric Power Board
Other Municipal Leaders

Community Choice

Marin Clean Energy
Oak Park
Challenges with CleanPowerSF
For More Information

Building Codes

Municipalities Exceeding State Standard Codes
For More Information

Local Taxing Authority

Boulder’s Carbon Tax
Babylon’s Innovative Solid Waste Fund

Solar Mandates for New Homes



Cities with the Best Solar Permitting Process

Energy Disclosure Ordinances

Building Energy Disclosure Ordinances

PACE Programs

Sonoma County, CA
Palm Desert, CA
Babylon, NY
For More Information

The Limits of Local Authority