EDF commissioned the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation to profile the potential for clean energy investments in 9 sub-regions across L.A. County.
In response to Present Obama's Climate Data Initiative, the UCLA Luskin Center and Environmental Defense Fund release the newest version of the Los Angeles Solar and Efficiency Report (LASER) - a data-driven mapping tool designed to help communities identify opportunities to invest in projects that will save households money, create clean energy jobs and strengthen climate resilience. The tool illustrates existing pollution and climate change impacts at a community level, and illustrates "hot spots" ripe for rooftop solar investment and energy efficiency building upgrades at the parcel level.
Findings include that Los Angeles County is currently leaving around 98 percent of its solar capacity untapped. Achieving just 10 percent of its rooftop solar potential could create 47,000 jobs and slash nearly 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually — the equivalent of taking about half a million cars off the road. This report also focuses on the 38 percent of L.A. County residents (3.7 million people) living in environmentally-vulnerable communities burdened by air pollution and other risk factors.
LASER is a powerful tool that can help elected officials and other stakeholders identify areas of need and opportunities for clean energy investment.
This project is timely because of new state funding opportunities through investments from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, from proceeds from California cap-and-trade program, part of AB 32 California's Global Warming Solutions Act, that could benefit communities throughout Los Angeles County. In the June 2014 California budget, $225 million was allocated for projects like LASER that benefit disadvantaged communities.
Maps of clean energy investment potential
The maps identify disadvantaged communities that could be prioritized for funding from cap-and-trade auction proceeds per SB 535 (de León), implementing legislation of AB 32 (Pavley), the California Global Warming Solutions Act. These communities are identified by the California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool (CalEnviroScreen). In addition, Proposition 39 will result in $2.5 billion to improve energy efficiency and expand clean energy generation. The maps highlight likely recipients of Proposition 39 funding, including schools. Legislators and the Governor are responsible for determining specific allocations of these funds.
- White House fact sheet citing LASER as example of using data to build climate resiliency
- Press release: White House Says New Clean Energy Maps Answer Call to Unleash Data, Build Climate Resiliency
- Blog post: How Big Data Can Fight Climate Change in Los Angeles
- Link to UCLA LASER webpage