On Thursday morning, City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris will give the keynote address for the inaugural Cities Power Partnership Summit held in Kiama, Australia. The Summit is Australia’s first national climate change summit focused on local government and grassroots solutions.
Mayor Parris’ presentation will share Lancaster’s journey to becoming the alternative energy capital of the world and a zero net energy city, with a focus on underscoring how cities can take local action.
“Local government leaders have considerably more power to effect change than they think they do. In Lancaster, we discovered we did not have to wait until our state or federal governments took action; we could begin right there at the local level. And that is what Lancaster did – and a decade later, we are considered a global leader in sustainability,” said Mayor R. Rex Parris. “If we all worked to make the necessary changes on a local government level, we would have an enormous impact, not only on emissions, but on policy. I hope to express to my Australian counterparts that by implementing effectual change in their jurisdictions, they too can make a significant contribution to sustainability.”
Since Parris was elected Mayor in 2008, Lancaster has become a pioneer in municipal sustainability. The City has launched its own energy utility, which offers residents and business owners cleaner energy options; converted 25 school facilities and five City facilities to solar, creating hundreds of jobs in the process; and purchased 18,000 of its streetlights from Southern California Edison and converted them into energy efficient LEDs. In addition, Lancaster was also the first city in California to mandate Zero Net Energy standards for all new homes built in Lancaster; the first city in Southern California Edison territory to break away and forge its own Community Choice Aggregator – as well as its own energy utility, Lancaster Choice Energy; and will soon become home to the nation’s first 100% electric bus fleet.
These advancements, accompanied by a long list of others, not only reduced carbon emissions and brought hundreds of jobs to the City, they resulted in Lancaster being designated an Alternative Energy Research Center of Excellence for the state of California.
Lancaster is leading the way for other municipalities which also seek to combat climate change within their own jurisdictions. Having become a sought-after speaker on sustainability, both nationally and internationally, Mayor Parris is eager to share Lancaster’s story with cities around the globe.
Mayor Parris will headline a lineup of renewable energy and climate experts, government officials, and industry leaders at the two-day summit held in Kiama, New South Wales. The Cities Power Partnership (CPP) is Australia’s largest local government climate program, run by Australia’s Climate Council. Launched in July 2017 with 70 member councils and growing, the CPP program represents over 8 million Australians and 250 towns and cities. For more information on the CPP visit: citiespowerpartnership.org.au.
COURTESY OF :CITYOFLACASTER
PHOTO CREDIT: CITYOFLANCASTER