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Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Success Stories Highlighted at the 4th Annual Statewide Energy Efficiency Best Practices Forum
Over 200 leaders from across California came together on June 20 for the 4th Annual Statewide Energy Efficiency Best Practices Forum in Sacramento, CA. This premier energy event hosted by the Local Government Commission focuses on highlighting the most innovative local energy and climate change programs in the state.
Attendees had an opportunity to hear from high-level utility representatives, Elisabeth Brinton, Chief Customer Officer of SMUD, and Steve Malnight, Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions at PG&E, who discussed the important role of local governments in addressing energy efficiency and climate change. Elisabeth Brinton encouraged local governments to help make energy efficiency cool again!
CEC Commissioner Andrew McAllister and CPUC Commissioner Mark Ferron provided updates about key state policies and programs that affect local governments and their perspective on the role of local governments in helping the state meet key energy and climate goals. Additionally, local government representatives had an opportunity to share their top energy and climate change priorities, and what the state could do to support their priorities, with Commissioner McAllister and Commissioner Ferron.
Ken Alex, Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and Senior Advisor to Governor Jerry Brown, provided information about OPR’s current efforts and their resources to support local governments during the afternoon keynote address. Ken Alex noted, “A lot of what we need to do, lies with you (local governments).” He also highlighted the importance of a two-way relationship between the state and local governments.
The major focus of the conference was sharing local government best practices and resources to support local government energy efficiency and climate change efforts. Success stories included:
- The Western Riverside Council of Government’s HERO residential and commercial PACE program, which allows qualifying owners to pay for energy efficiency improvements, such as heating and cooling measures, windows and doors, and insulation, through an assessment on their property tax.
- The Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s small, rural business energy efficiency retrofit program which has served over 500 businesses in Humboldt County and has provided approximately $1 million/year in energy savings.
- The Port of San Diego’s Green Business Challenge for port tenants and sub-tenants encouraged businesses to reduce energy use and improve environmental performance. Forty-nine businesses took part in the program, which saved an estimated $156,000 on energy bills and reduced emissions by 843 metric tons.
- The Town of Windsor’s Pay as You Save Program allows customers to pay for water and energy efficiency upgrades, including high efficiency toilets, showerheads, CFLs, etc., over time through a utility bill surcharge, with no up front costs. In 7 months of operation, this program has served 4% of all residential units, saving an average of 10% energy use, 20% of indoor water use and $15 per month in net utility costs.
- The San Diego Regional Energy Partnership (SD REP), the Southern California Regional Energy Network (SoCal REN), and the Bay Area Regional Energy Network (Bay REN) are all examples of local governments that are leveraging resources through multi-jurisdictional partnerships. For example, the SD REP is working together to provide regional climate action planning support, regional EUC market development and municipal retrofit facilitation. The SoCal REN and the Bay REN are groups of local governments partnering together to undertake and support efforts such as codes and standards, Energy Upgrade California, financing, and public agency energy services.
- The Sierra Business Council’s Climate Action Planning program has helped local governments undertake greenhouse gas emissions inventories and develop Energy and Climate Action Plans. They completed 38 inventories between 2010-2012 and they are currently developing 2 Energy Action Plan’s.
LGC organized the forum through the Statewide Energy Efficiency Best Practices Forum, a partnership between LGC, ICLEI, the Institute for Local Government and California’s four investor owned utilities. The annual forum is offered free of charge to California local governments.
The program is funded by California utility ratepayers and administered by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison, and Southern California Gas Company under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.