Riverbank develops energy efficiency, can jobs be far behind?

The City of Riverbank has delivered bright economical lights to one of the city’s largest buildings and biggest potential job creators.

A total of 138 brand new light emitting diode, or LED, lights have been installed in the Riverbank Army Ammunition Plant, casting a brighter glow on the building’s cavernous interior than the old metal halide fixtures they replaced. The new lights are also significantly more energy efficient, saving the City and business tenants much needed cash on their utility bills.

“Thanks to this innovative financing opportunity, the City was able to provide real, bottom line, measurable savings to conscientious businesses at the Army Plant through the installation of energy efficient lighting that reduces their utility bills,” said Jill Anderson, Riverbank City Manager.

What this is significant savings to City coffers through lower utility bills. The energy efficiency retrofits when complete will save the City about 107,890 kilowatt hours of energy per year. This roughly equates to a savings of about $12,947 a year.

And that’s a big deal in these troubled economic times.

Another big deal is that the entire project isn’t costing the City a dime. The money that makes the project possible comes from an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The program is administered through the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission.

The City is using the 700,000-square-foot former munitions production buildings for economic development and as a kind of business incubator, attracting tenants that need inexpensive space to develop businesses with serious job-creating potential.

Riverbank joined with 35 other cities and counties in the region to form the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Partnership, which is led by the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District with the assistance of the nonprofit San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization. The Partnership administers the more than $4 million in grants and provides technical assistance to local governments.