by Courtney B. Kalashian, Executive Director at SJV Clean Energy Organization
Energy Efficiency in California is changing; it has been for years. I can’t say we’re on the backside of the upheaval, but the path ahead seems more clear than it ever has. If we’re to make it to the other side we have to double down on who we are and what we do. We fundamentally believe that all Californians deserve access to more efficient, more reliable, more affordable clean energy. We serve rural and Disadvantaged Communities; we serve the underserved. We always will.
While many Local Government Partnerships have sunset or changed beyond recognition, at the SJVCEO we continue to serve public agencies throughout rural California. Although our program logos may change, our work continues to serve our four foundational goals:
- reduce GHG emissions,
- lower agency energy costs,
- support local control, and
- support our local governments on their individual journeys toward Zero Net Energy.
We’re able to achieve these goals through pragmatic programs designed to serve the communities we hold so dear, and with partners who support our vision for rural equity.
To that end we are thrilled to announce the launch of the Central California Energy Watch (CCEW) with PG&E! The CCEW is available for all public agencies in Monterey, Stanislaus, San Joaquin, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties that are PG&E customers. We believe rural public agencies can produce energy savings on par, if not exceeding their urban counterparts, so long as they have equitable access to support programs. The CCEW helps public agencies develop short, mid, and long-term project pipelines. The program offers agency staff capacity building through education and friendly competition. CCEW provides energy benchmarking and a secure, web-based Infrastructure Inventory. All at no cost to program participants! For more details or to reach our team, visit www.cencalenergywatch.com.
Through our Regional Partnership with the SoCalREN we’re able to continue providing technical assistance as well as planning and financing support for public agency energy savings in SCE territory.
But it’s not enough. It’s never enough. Too long rural spaces have been overlooked and underserved by energy efficiency because they don’t fit neatly into an outdated equation for measuring the worth of service. So we won’t quit with what we have. We’ll continue to be zealous advocates through the Rural Hard to Reach Working Group (RHTR) to bring equity to rural communities. We’ve been here long before people started trying to untangle what it means to be underserved, and we’ll be here long after the interest wanes. We and our families have lived, worked and farmed the communities we serve. They’ve built business and raised families and given us roots that we honor. You see, our Valley–all our territory–it’s our home and we are always proudly, boldly, rural.
*SJVCEO covers a lot of ground now, and we know it may get confusing, so we created a handy infographic to help understand where and how we serve. Click to enlarge.