On September 13, 2007, the Board of Directors of the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization (SJVCEO) held its first meeting and the organization formally began operation. Strategic Energy Innovations, with advice and guidance from a diverse 15-member Steering Committee and financial support from three local organizations, recommended the design and structure for the SJVCEO. The CA Partnership accepted these design recommendations and approved the by-laws, articles of incorporation, and Board of Directors for the organization.
Numerous organizations in the San Joaquin Valley are doing significant work to increase use of energy efficiency and renewable energy. These programs lack coordination across the region, creating information gaps and lost opportunities for information and cost sharing. This unfortunate, dysfunctional, and avoidable situation leads to sub-optimal utilization of available programs for energy efficiency and renewable energy, hurts the Valley, and provides no clear means to achieve regional synergies that can accelerate our progress. In addition, there is a lack of an agreed-upon set of clean energy outcomes and a plan to achieve those outcomes for the Valley. The SJVCEO fulfills a need identified by regional stakeholders. The Strategic Action Proposal (SAP) from the California Partnership contains recommendations from three separate work groups to create an independent SJVCEO. To date, almost 70 organizations have agreed to partner with the SJVCEO.
The SJVCEO serves as:
- The principal vehicle and focal point through which the California Partnership will implement the energy provisions of its SAP;
- An independent regional face, voice and source of support for Valley stakeholders to significantly increase the region’s use of clean energy; and
- A hub for communication and resource leveraging between clean energy stakeholders, and their counterparts in the eight-county region, interested in improving air quality and the economy, shaping growth in a sustainable manner and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The mission of the organization is to build upon existing efforts and serve as a trusted resource on clean energy for San Joaquin Valley businesses, consumers, nonprofits and local governments. The SJVCEO accomplishes this by providing:
- Planning to bring the many independent clean energy activities in the region into a coherent, well-integrated strategy;
- Information and expertise on current clean energy programs and activities under way, viable funding sources, business drivers, barriers to greater use of clean energy, and links to capital markets;
- An independent source of advocacy and education to remove barriers to greater clean energy use; and,
- A valued source of technical support to implement clean energy projects.
The SJVCEO undertook a number of start-up activities as began operation. These include:
- Establishing the SJVCEO as a collaborative and coordinating office by forging partnerships
- Laying the groundwork to develop a regional energy plan
- Developing an information clearinghouse on clean energy best practices
- Greening the Valley’s communities, beginning with the City of Visalia. The partnership that the SJVCEO has established with Visalia to increase its clean energy investments will be a model for engaging communities across the region
- Growing the level of clean energy activity in the Valley’s agricultural sector. In particular, the SJVCEO is focusing on increasing the amount of Biofuels developed from agricultural waste and crops and developing new power production from renewable energy sources. The SJVCEO will organize a pilot project for the State of California within the national 25 by ’25 Initiative - committed to a goal of producing 25% of the energy used in this country from renewable sources by 2025. This includes developing a regional agricultural energy policy through conferences and projects.
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