California Energy Commission

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

The wEEkly Update

For Local Governments and their partners

Practical Guidance for Local Climate Engagement - Oct. 31 & Nov. 21
In this two-part webinar series, participants will be equipped to communicate effectively on climate change, empowering you to create and deliver compelling messages that engage and motivate a diversity of Americans in the issue.


Resources and Opportunities
Senate Bill 350 Disadvantaged Communities Advisory Group Call for Applicants
Energy Standards Outreach & Education Unit's November Schedule
Electric Vehicle Charger Selection Guide
Find more resources and opportunities

Job Announcements
Business Analyst (Energy Efficiency) - City of Santa Clara
Zero Waste Program Coordinator - Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Upcoming events
Practical Guidance for Local Climate Engagement - Oct. 31 & Nov. 21
Climate Change Research Grant Program Fresno Workshop - Nov. 28
Climate Change Research Grant Los Angeles Workshop - Nov. 29
Webinar: Essential Tribal and Utility Relationships - Nov. 29
17th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference - Feb. 1-3
Find more events

Copyright © 2017 Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator, All rights reserved.
The wEEkly update for Local Governments and their partners.

Our mailing address is:
Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator
980 9th St., Suite 1700
Sacramento, CA 95814

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

Here are your wEEkly updates:

News and Opportunities

The Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative (SEEC) is requesting your input on the 2017 work plan. We hope you take this short (5-10 min) survey intended to get a better understanding of local government needs and interests to inform activities undertaken by SEEC and to help shape the 2017 SEEC Forum. We ask that you complete this survey by Friday, January 27th at 5:00 PM.

The Energy Commission released the Grant Funding Opportunity for the Local Government Challenge grant program. All grant documents are included in the above link. Deadline for applications is March 6, 2017

The California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) is convening a series of public workshops to obtain stakeholder input on how to develop community solar offerings for low-income and disadvantaged communities. The first of a series of workshops begins January 18th.

The California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will jointly conduct a workshop to discuss key questions in the implementation of the energy efficiency portions of Senate Bill 350, the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 (de León, Chapter 547, Statutes of 2015) (SB 350). Monday, January 23, 2017

The Chair of the California Energy Commission is seeking comments on the proposed scope and general schedule for the 2017 Integrated Energy Policy Report (2017 IEPR). Written comments should be submitted to the Dockets Office by close of business on January 25, 2017.

Desert Valleys became the fourth active lender in California's Residential Energy Efficiency Loan (REEL) Assistance Program. Desert Valleys has made an initial loan commitment of up to $1 million in new lending to projects in the Ridgecrest community. You can learn more about the REEL program here.

Career Opportunities

Redwood Coast Energy Authority is recruiting for a Demand Side Management Programs Project Manager. 

The Energy Coalition is seeking a Project Coordinator to provide administrative, planning, coordination, technical and implementation support to other team members to contribute to the success of The Energy Network program.

The Port of San Diego is currently seeking an experienced Principal, Planning & Green Port to lead the Energy & Sustainability team in the Planning and Green Port Department.

 That is all for this week. Have a great weekend!

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

Here are your WEEkly Updates: 
1.    Energy Commission Funding Supports Efficiency, Alternative Fuel Projects
The CEC approved several grants, contracts and loans yesterday that support projects - for City of Gardena, UC Riverside, San Luis Obispo County, and San Diego Community College District - that will help the state meet its EE and GHG emission reduction goals. Modifications have also been made to the reporting process for publicly owned utilities to ensure increased use of renewable energy.
2.    Tesla Batteries to Power Office Buildings in California
The Irvine Company is fitting more than 20 buildings in Irvine and Newport Beach with battery systems from Tesla. The project is being undertaken in partnership with Advanced Microgrid Solutions and SoCal Edison, and will provide 10 MW of power to facilities and reduce energy costs by as much as 10%.
3.    USDA Rural Energy for America Program Loans and Grants Available
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is encouraging rural small businesses to apply for loans and grants aimed at renewable energy and energy-related projects. The USDA is accepting applications for loans and grants for new "renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements" and "energy audits and renewable energy development assistance."
4.    Study: Confusion and Growth Opportunities in Building/Energy Management Systems
Survey results from MACH Energy indicate that while facility management professionals are increasingly implementing energy management systems (EMS), the market remains in a potentially high-growth stage. Two primary conclusions of the survey: these building professionals primarily implement EMS to achieve cost and expense reduction; and there is marketplace confusion.
5.    ACEEE Call for Papers: 2016 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
The Call for Papers deadline, October 23rd, is approaching for the ACEE 2016 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, "From Components to Systems, From Buildings to Communities." The conference is taking place August 21-26, 2016 in Pacific Grove, CA.
6.    10/21 ClimatEEfficient Webinar: Long Beach in a New Light
Learn about how the City of Long Beach partnered with The Energy Network on streetlight retrofitting. You will hear from the City of Long Beach and The Energy Network on how they teamed up to convert 25,000 streetlights to more energy-efficient fixtures, making it the fourth largest project of its kind on the West Coast.
7.    Energy Calendar

And that is all for this week! 

If you have any requests for information, events, resources, or news to share, please send details to

Money Monday: CEC 3% Loans

With the final reports been sent in on the last of the ARRA funded energy efficiency projects (our whopper of a report was sent off today, thanks, Mike!) many local governments are wondering how they can keep the momentum going.  Well, the California Energy Commission has come up with an way to help!

Utilizing a revolving loan funded program, the CEC is accepting 3% interest loan applications for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects from all eligible entities: Cities, Counties, Public Schools & Colleges, Public Care Institutions, Public Hospitals and Special Districts.  Residential and commercial projects are non-profit institutions are not eligible for these funds.

So what could be funded?  Well, the laundry list covers some of our favorite proven energy and capacity saving type projects, including:
Of course, energy efficiency projects must be technically and economically feasible.  

Applications are accepted on a first-come, first served basis for eligible energy projects.  Please see the notice and loan application for qualifications, available at the link below.  Or, if you prefer to talk to a human being try the very helpful Karen Perrin at (916) 654-4104.

For more information:

photo credit: Alan R. Light via photo pin cc

photo credit: CMG0220 via photo pin cc

photo credit: ezrakilty via photo pin cc

photo credit: Paul-W via photo pin cc

Stay Lifted; Energy Commission Moved Forward With Power Upgrade Plan

The California Energy Commission plans to implement a proposed energy upgrade program after an appellate court lifted a restraining order that prevented the agency from distributing $33 million in federal funds.

Commissioners scheduled a hearing today to approve contracts that would implement the Energy Upgrade California Program. That $33 million plan contains, among other provisions, a PACE-like program that falls outside the scope of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

According to federal rules, the money had to be encumbered by the end of today, although the Department of Energy had made it clear it would not immediately rescind the money.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency had recommended against PACE programs, which use property tax assessments to finance energy upgrades on homes and commercial property. The agency believed PACE obligations would be placed ahead of mortgage loans if the owner defaults.

Fresno and Kern counties were part of a PACE pilot program that was put on hold after the Housing Finance Agency issued its "guidance" and after Western Riverside Council of Governments filed a lawsuit claiming its energy-efficiency program was ignored when $33 million in federal funding was distributed.

The California Energy Commission said the council's $20 million bid was disqualified because it ignored energy-efficiency provisions.

Today, an appellate judge lifted a temporary restraining order imposed by a Riverside County judge in connection with the lawsuit. The restraining order had prevented the CEC from spending the remaining $33 million in federal stimulus funds. No comment yet from representatives of Western Riverside.

The appellate court also canceled a Nov. 4 hearing on a possible contempt charge the Riverside County judge imposed against the Energy Commission. Western Riverside County Council of Governments continued to oppose the Energy Commission programs even though the Federal Housing Finance Agency action had effectively suspended its own PACE program.

PACE Energy-Efficiency Program In Tug of War

Cutting energy use is akin to a pay raise. When landlords and homeowners cut power consumption, they reduce costs. And, as we know, there are only two ways to increase revenue: make more money or reduce expenses.

And here in the San Joaquin Valley - where summer temperatures can climb past 110, power bills are heart-stopping high, unemployment exceeds Appalachia rates and incomes are low - the effects of a lower power bill are magnified.

So, it is particularly maddening to watch the pitched battle around Property Assessed Clean Energy programs, otherwise known as PACE. With them, property owners can finance energy-efficiency upgrades through a line item on their property tax bill, basically an assessment.

Fresno and Kern counties were in line to be pilot cities in a PACE program until the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, decided they were too risky for lenders - even though studies show a low default rate.

And now comes the Western Riverside Council of Governments, which filed a lawsuit claiming its energy-efficiency program was ignored when $33 million in federal funding was distributed. The California Energy Commission said the council's $20 million bid was disqualified because it ignored required energy-efficiency provisions.

Thursday, a Riverside County Superior Court Judge issued a temporary restraining order against the California Energy Commission, essentially blocking it from distributing money and stopping PACE. Now some would say the decision is moot because the Federal Housing Finance Agency's opposition to the program had already effectively suspended things anyway.

But that leaves the Energy Commission with $33 million worth of unspent money, which must be distributed by Oct. 21. The state has come up with a new energy-efficiency program called Energy Upgrade California, but the Riverside judge, according to this account in the Los Angeles Times, (which contains a link to transcripts of the Thursday court hearing) said it is similar to PACE and set a Nov. 4 hearing to consider making the temporary injunction permanent.

The judge also says the Energy Commission could be held in contempt of a July ruling that prohibits issuing PACE money unless Riverside County's bid was considered, according to this story in the Sacramento Business Journal.

But the Energy Commission is arguing that the Riverside County lawsuit should be dismissed since the Federal Housing Finance Agency's ruling put the kibosh on Riverside County's own PACE program too.

"There is absolutely no basis for this order - this litigation centers on a solicitation that the Energy Commission has canceled," said Karen Douglas, chairman of the CEC. "Western Riverside's lawsuit threatens to derail a comprehensive statewide jobs program by holding up $33 million in stimulus funds - funds that would benefit the entire state, including citizens of Riverside County."

So, there we are. Things are murky and in limbo. Stay tuned.

So Cal Could Becomes Solar Mecca

California energy officials blessed the fifth and sixth solar power projects in the desert of Southern California, which could make it the sunniest spot in the country for the emerging electricity source.

Eventually, the deserts of Riverside, San Bernardino and Imperial counties could produce enough solar power for more than 3 million homes, according to this recent story in the New York Times.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger embraced the approval of the Genesis and Imperial Valley projects on federal Bureau of Land Management land in Riverside and Imperial counties respectively. If financed and built, they will combine to generate about 2,000 construction and 200 operational jobs.

“Today’s action solidly cements California as the national leader of solar power development,” he said in a statement. "I applaud the California Energy Commission’s decision to approve the construction of these solar projects that will increase our state’s renewable power, create jobs and boost our economy. I look forward to seeing these projects fully built and powering thousands of California homes with clean electricity.”

The two projects bring to six the number of desert-area solar developments approved by the California Energy Commission. Three more await approval before Dec. 31 to qualify for federal stimulus funds.

In addition to the solar thermal projects, there are more than a dozen other large solar photovoltaic and wind projects seeking permits to break ground in California this year, the governor's office said. In contrast to this year, 67 megawatts of utility scale solar were added in 2009 nationwide, and only 34 megwatts in 2008.


Biggest Solar Plant Approved in California

The approval of a solar thermal plant by the California Energy Commission is the latest in a string of similar proposals that, if developed, could deliver more than 1,500 megawatts of electricity - enough to power 1.5 million homes.

Energy commissioners just licensed the Blythe Solar Power Project a concentrated solar thermal electric-generating facility with four adjacent and identical solar plants of 250 megawatt each that could produce up to 1,000 megawatts.

Todd Woody, in this New York Times blog, calls it the world's largest solar thermal plant.

The project, which still awaits major financing, would use arrays of parabolic mirrors, similar to those in the photo, collect heat energy from the sun to create steam and then energy. The site is about two miles north of U.S. Interstate-10 and eight miles west of the City of Blythe in an unincorporated area of Riverside County.

The total area that will be disturbed by project construction and operation will be about 7,030 acres. The area inside the project's security fence, within which all project facilities will be located, will occupy approximately 5,950 acres.

That's big. And Woody noted that an additional 2,829 megawatts of solar power is on the drawing boards and facing at Dec. 31 approval deadline. We've written about some of that here.

State Forms Site For Green Jobs

California energy officials have created a Website devoted to green jobs.

The site describes 48 training programs that are offered by workforce investment boards, community colleges, labor and trade organizations and private industry. There are links to workshops and to industry and employment reports. People also can can register to receive e-mail alerts on items related to green energy.

Worldwide, about 2.3 million people are employed directly or indirectly in renewable energy, according to the independent research Worldwatch Institute. In California, the figure is about 433,000 workers, or 3.4% of the labor force.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger believes green-energy jobs will grow, and the new Website is part of what he says is the largest state-sponsored green jobs training program in the nation.

"The (Website) is a showcase for the training program in which government and private industry are coming together to make our state a leader in the new, sustainable economy," he said.

It remains to be seen how fast the green economy grows in this time of deficit budgets, penny-pinching and fighting over California's landmark greenhouse gases law, but colleges and high schools are moving forward. At West Hills Community College in Coalinga, students learned to install solar panels, with 70 of them finding work on a 40-acre solar farm in Mendota, on the west side of Fresno County.

High schools also are getting into the act. Buchanan High School in Clovis is debuting an energy academy this year. It exposes students to renewable energy and features wind turbines, solar panels, floor heating and water storage from rain runoff to irrigate a rooftop garden, according to The Fresno Bee and this blog item.

Edison High School in Fresno, New Energy Academy in Stockton and Independence High School in Bakersfield are developing renewable-energy programs in cooperation with Pacific Gas & Electric.

"Green energy is a growing field that is critical to turn the tide on climate change. I am excited that California students in these programs will be learning about technologies that can help the entire planet," said State Superintendent of Education Jack O'Connell.

The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization is a nonprofit dedicated to improving our region's quality of life by increasing its production and use of clean and alternative energy. The SJVCEO works with cities and counties and public and private organizations to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout the eight-county region of the San Joaquin Valley.