Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

Here are your wEEkly updates:

News and Opportunities

The Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative (SEEC) released a new fact sheet on weatherization targeted for California local governments. The fact sheet highlights key best practices for developing partnerships and programs, demonstrating leadership, and investing in workforce development.

SEEC is requesting input from local government staff 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 quick survey by Friday, January 27th at 5:00 PM.

In 2016, the Hayward city council unanimously adopted a Zero Net Energy goal by 2025 for their municipal facilities. Since Jan. 1, Hayward’s initiative requires that all new city-owned facilities be built to produce ZNE.

Comprehensive cost/benefit study of climate policies in San Joaquin Valley finds over $13 billion in economic benefits, mostly in renewable energy.

“California is the sixth largest economy in the world and the most populous state in the nation. What’s more, we’ve shown that strong climate and energy policy is possible while building a dynamic economy. We’ve proved that clean energy creates far more jobs than fossil fuels...”

Reports and Resources

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announces the availability of the California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool: CalEnviroScreen 3.0. CalEnviroScreen is a screening methodology that can be used to help identify California communities that are disproportionately burdened by multiple sources of pollution.

The wizard combs the internet weekly for funding opportunities to help support a sustainable future.  You can set filters by funding type, category, eligible applicants or using keywords. Search for grants, loans, rebates, and more to fund sustainable projects.

The 2016 energy standards went into effect January 1, 2017. The Online Resource Center is provided to assist the building community and enforcement agencies with Building Energy Efficiency Standards compliance including publications, tools, training, and a Hotline to help energy-efficient building projects comply with the new Energy Standards.

Ahead of the January 23rd workshop soliciting stakeholder feedback, the Energy Commission has released a staff report that describes a process and policy framework for establishing the energy efficiency targets mandated by SB 350. You can view additional workshop documents here.
“The 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) finds that the Traditional Energy and Energy Efficiency sectors today employ approximately 6.4 million Americans. These sectors increased in 2016 by just under 5 percent, adding over 300,000 net new jobs, roughly 14% of all those created in the country.” The full report and state charts are available in the above link.
Task Force released the second installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review report.
The task for analyzes trends and issues confronting the Nation’s electricity sector out to 2040, examining the entire electricity system from generation to end use, and within the context of three overarching national goals: (1) enhance economic competitiveness; (2) promote environmental responsibility; and (3) provide for the Nation’s security.

Career Opportunities
Redwood Coast Energy Authority is seeking a Demand Side Management Programs Project Manager and a Community Strategies Manager. Please see their employment webpage for additional information on both positions here.
The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is looking for a Senior Regional Planner to support the implementation of San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan and the Sustainable Communities Strategy. You can learn more about the position and SANDAG here.
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.

Click the Calendar link to view all upcoming events.
This forum aims to share cutting-edge research addressing the impacts of climate change on the state to inform the state's strategies and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to develop programs to safeguard California from a changing climate.
This conference is the nation's largest smart growth and sustainability event and has been named one of 12 conferences not to miss by Planetizen.
Join mayors, city council members, county supervisors, city managers, and high-level department heads for the 26th Annual Yosemite Policymakers Conference. This popular conference always features a timely and inspirational program designed to provide the tools and support policymakers need to implement innovative solutions to address society's most pressing challenges. This year's conference will be no different with its focus on sustaining our progress and protecting the American dream.

The Center for Climate Protection along with the Local Government Commission and the Local Government Sustainable Energy Coalition is offering their third Business of Clean Energy Symposium to convene government, business, and community leaders to accelerate California's shift to a clean energy economy and to exchange ideas about Community Choice Energy programs.

That's all for this week. Have a great weekend!

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

Here are your wEEkly updates:

News and Opportunities

DOE Scaling Up the Next Generation of Building Efficiency Packages Program - $6.5 million
DOE is making available funding to drive innovation in real building technology demonstrations while fostering the collaboration of dynamic demonstration teams that include technology providers, energy organizations, efficient building hubs, utilities, and building professionals. Eligible entities include State, local, and tribal governments. Concept papers due November 21, 2016 (full application due February 21, 2017).

Upcoming Deadlines for California Energy Efficiency Coordinating Committee
Comments on revision 3 to proposed Conflict of Interest Policy due today; comments on Business Plans (except SCE's) due November 21; Comments on the topic list for the Policy Letter and Comparison Document due November 29; comments on deferred elements of draft BPs due November 30; and comments on SCE's draft BP due December 1.

2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)
There are few key proposals on International Code Council's ballot that will boost efficiency, and nearly all of them will require a two-thirds majority to make it into the 2018 update of America's model energy code. The most significant residential proposal, RE 179 Builder Flex points, will achieve the modest 5% efficiency gain endorsed by the US Conference of Mayors. Check out Energy Efficient Code Coalition's voting guide here. Vote by November 22, 2016.

Cap-and-Trade Draft Funding Guidelines Supplement
ARB published draft guidelines for agencies administering Cap-and-Trade Auction Proceeds. The purpose of this supplement is to provide disadvantaged community investment targets, criteria for how to determine whether proposed projects provide benefits to disadvantaged communities, and guidance on reporting requirements. Comments due December 6, 2016.
Job Opportunity: City of El Cerrito
The City of El Cerrito is hiring for the position Management Analyst II in the Public Works Department - Operations and Environmental Services Division. This position is assigned to difficult and complex assignments in management and budgetary analysis requiring a high degree of knowledge of City, administrative, and budgetary policies, practices and techniques. Applications due December 7, 2016.

Job Opportunity: County of Sonoma
The Sonoma County General Services Department seeks a qualified bilingual (English & Spanish) professional to become an Information and Communication Analyst in their Energy and Sustainability Division. The analyst will plan, develop, coordinate, and implement Energy and Sustainability Division information, communication, education, and marketing efforts and act as the division spokesperson in dealing with the media and community groups. Applications due December 8, 2016.

12/1 (webinar) America's Next Top Energy Model: Tools and Best Practices
A peer exchange call through DOE's Better Buildings Challenge to see which energy models will be strutting their stuff down their runway.

12/8 (Fresno) Energy Efficiency Contractor and Customer Financing and Implementation Workshop

Register now for a morning seminar and complimentary networking lunch for an information-packed workshop offering powerful financing tools for contractors and their customers. Learn about the new On-Bill Financing Alternative pathway, bridge financing for OBF contractors, additional funding options, and developments in the Trade Pro Alliance program.

2/2/17 (St. Louis, MO) New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

Early-bird registration is now available through November 30th for the 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference. This conference is the nation's largest smart growth and sustainability event and has been named one of 12 conferences not to miss by Planetizen.

5/5/17 (Long Beach) The Business of Local Energy Symposium - Community Choice Energy: It's All About Impact

Save the date and join CCE experts and local government leaders from across the state in Spring 2017 for a day-long event about accelerating CCA adoption and creating more benefits for local communities. Registration opens in early February.

Resources and Reports

Making the Best of the Second-Best: Welface Consequences of Time-Varying Electricity Prices
This research paper from the Energy Institute at Haas estimates the impacts of peak pricing on the commercial and industrial sector, discuses long-run investment efficiency in electricity markets, and provides second-best pricing policies under capacity constraints.

State Energy Efficiency Resource Standards
An ACEEE policy Brief from May 2016 highlighting twenty-five states that are currently implementing Energy Efficiency Resource Standards policies requiring electricity savings.

And that's all for this week! Enjoy your Thanksgiving break!

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

Here are your wEEkly Updates:

News and Opportunities
New Report from SEEC: The State of Local Climate Action in California
A new report developed by ICLEI through the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative (SEEC) presents a comprehensive picture of measurable local emissions trends, targets, planning efforts, and energy and climate actions in the state, along with in-depth profiles of local and regional agencies pursuing goals like public health and economic development through climate action. The findings confirm that local governments are making a significant contribution to the State's climate goals, which are among the most aggressive in the world.

The Paris Climate Agreement Is Entering into Force
The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to ratify the Paris climate accord, a move that will make the sweeping international agreement a legal reality long before even those who negotiated it expected. After a 30-day period, the agreement will legally enter into force on November 4th.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) launched a partnership that brings together public and private sector leaders to deliver energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, and renewable energy solutions that create cleaner and more prosperous communities for all Americans. The Better Communities Alliance provides local governments with integrated expertise, resources, and peer-networking opportunities from across the government, nonprofit, philanthropic, and private sectors.
Nominate Your Clean Air Hero for 2016
If you know someone in the air quality community who has made significant lifetime achievement, you can nominate them for a Haagen-Smit Clean Air Award. Since 2001, the Air Resources Board has annually bestowed these distinguished awards to individuals for their significant career accomplishments in at least one of these categories: research, environmental policy, science and technology, public education and community service.

ARB Clean Vehicle Rebate Project and Public Fleet Pilot Project
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) announced its grant solicitation for an administrator to implement the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project and Increased Incentives for Public Fleets in Disadvantaged Communities for Fiscal year 2016-17. This solicitation is open to federal, state or local government entities or agencies, and California nonprofit organizations with expertise implementing a grant program and general knowledge of ARB's clean vehicle programs. Applications are due November 4th by 5:00 PM.

Job Opportunity: AMBAG Energy Watch (see attached)
The Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG) is hiring for a Special Projects Associate to support the AMBAG Energy Watch, a regional program serving jurisdictions, residents, agriculture businesses, school districts, non-profits, special districts, and hospitality businesses with the goal of reducing energy use and related greenhouse gases. Applications due November 4th by 4:00 PM.

10/18 (webinar) What You Should Know About Financing Energy Efficiency Upgrades
Learn how public sector organizations are improving energy efficiency with innovative solutions to financial barriers. Attendees will learn about financing projects in the public and private sectors, the basics of performance contracting, and how EPA's tools and resources can help you make the decision to improve your facilities now or later.

10/20 - 10/22 (Baltimore, MD) Behavior, Energy & Climate Change Conference
A conference focused on understanding the behavior and decision-making of individuals and organizations and using that knowledge to accelerate our transition to an energy-efficient and low-carbon future.

10/26 (Sacramento) Creating Net Zero Living Buildings and Communities
How does the future of design look like and how do designers push the envelope towards truly regenerative, net positive and beautiful design? Join the International Living Future Institute for a talk about the Institute's Net zero Energy Building Certification and the changing face of design on a national and local level.

2/2/2017 - 2/4/2017 (St. Louis, Missouri) New Partners for Smart Growth Conference
Registration is now open for the 16th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth: Practical Tools and Innovative Strategies for Creating Great Communities Conference. This conference will feature 80+ conference sessions - plenaries, breakouts, implementation workshops, focused trainings - and much more over three full days. 

Resources, Reports, and  Articles

The California Energy Commission (CEC) Efficiency Division released its September 2016 - October 2016 Blueprint Newsletter, which includes a number of resources to help implementation of the 2016 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, which will go into effect January 1, 2017.

Presentation: Electric Vehicle Equity 
From CEC's October 5th workshop on Electric Vehicle Equity: Building an EV Eco-system that Leads with Low-income Communities of Color.

A Trip Down the Soft Energy Path
Lessons from the first 40 years of the "soft path" to U.S. energy policy as told by Amory B. Lovins, the climate scientist that coined the term.

New York City's Roadmap to 80 x 50
The City of New York committed to reduce its GHG emissions by 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050, accelerating its initial target of a 30% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030. The City developed this roadmap to accelerate efforts in energy efficiency, EV deployment, renewable production, and more. Additional background and resources

That is all for this week!

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

Here are your wEEkly updates:

1. CURRENTS Summer Edition: the Summer 2016 edition of our energy and sustainability CURRENTS newsletter is live! Get community engagement and environmental justice best practices, building technology case studies, learn about favorite energy code resources, an innovative new approach to drive residential energy savings, and more.

2. EE Coordinating Committee Update, 7/13 Meeting: The California EE Coordinating Committee (CAEECC) is meeting July 13th: review the agenda and other recent updates from CAEECC here. You can also review presentations from energy efficiency Program Administrators, see comments from stakeholders, and more on the CAEECC website.

3. Webinar on New EE Programs 7/14: Southern California Edison (SCE) invites you to a July 14th webinar that will provide an overview on three High Opportunity Programs or Projects (HOPPs) proposals related to Public Buildings Retro-commissioning, On-Bill Financing, and Comprehensive Commercial HVAC.

4. CPUC EE Program Evaluation Webinars 7/20: the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)’s evaluation consultant Itron is holding two public webinars July 20th to present and receive public comment on plans for impact studies of local governments partnerships (LGPs) and Regional Energy Networks (RENs).

5. EE Financing Pilot Workshop 7/20: CAEATFA will be hosting a series of public workshops related to the commercial pilots and on-bill repayment under the California Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing (CHEEF) – with the first workshop taking place July 20th.

6. Climate Change Conference 8/1: Join the Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP) Institute in Sacramento August 1st for their third annual conference, focusing on “Climate Change Implications and Adaptation.” 

7. Working out TDV: For those looking ahead towards the zero net energy requirements coming under 2019 energy code: new documents on time dependent valuation (TDV) of energy are available from the California Energy Commission (CEC).

8. TDV Workshop 7/15: The CEC will also be holding a Lead Commissioners Workshop to review TDV and Life Cycle Analysis Methodology on July 15th.

9. Rural EE Webinar 7/12: Co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Energy, this webinar will highlight federal energy efficiency programs with an emphasis on rural America.

10. Resources for EE Districts: The U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have partnered with Architecture 2030 to expand support for its 2030 Districts Initiative, which focuses on improving energy efficiency for major metropolitan areas in their sustainability endeavors.

11. Navigating Title 20’s New Water Efficiency Standards: Last week I shared some information on new water efficiency standards now in effect (July 1). Now, you can get the latest resources to understand and comply with the new standards from Energy Code Ace – including a new Plumbing Fittings and Fixtures Fact Sheet – to capture the power of saving water.

12. Innovative Water/EE Strategies: Learn the latest from BayREN on how their Pay As You Save (PAYS) water efficiency financing program is serving the Cities of Hayward, Windsor, and now the East Bay Municipal Utility District’s multi-family sector.

13. New Video: Oakland and Richmond on Bringing Home the Message of COP21: Hear from the Cities of Oakland and Richmond on their experience visiting Paris during the COP21 Climate Conference in December 2015, specific examples on their leadership on energy and climate in their communities, and advice for local governments looking to get started.

14. EE and Solar Savings for the City of Grass Valley: Congratulations to Grass Valley, celebrated the completion of a number of municipal energy efficiency and solar projects through an energy performance contract – including new solar generation, LED streetlight retrofits across the City, ADA compliance retrofits for all streetlights, upgraded interior and exterior lighting, and installation and replacement of the roof at City Hall. Learn more about the project.

15. Passive House History in North America: Are “passive house” building efficiency strategies German, or are there roots in the Americas? Learn about early North American case studies in this Energy Vanguard article.

16. EE Competition Best Practices: A new LBNL paper covering best practices in developing energy competitions, “Competition, carbon, and conservation: Assessing the energy savings potential of energy efficiency competitions” is available to download. (Or, learn more about setting up a competition from EPA ENERGY STAR.)

17. New Revised SGIP: For those integrating renewables: the CPUC last week approved an updated and revised Self Generation Incentive Program, which provides $83 million a year through 2019 for behind-the-meter generation technologies including wind, fuel cells and energy storage.

18. Clean Energy Support for EJ: The U.S. EPA invites you to participate in a webinar on July 19th that will provide an overview of the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP) Design Details Proposal for community and environmental justice groups.

19. Clean Energy Lessons from Germany: LGC Executive Director Kate Meis has returned from a tour of clean energy innovation in German local governments. Learn what lessons Germany can share with California in LGC”s Livable Places Update.

20. Whittier Underway with Streetlighting and Building EE Savings: Congratulations to the City of Whittier for leveraging incentives and technical assistance from Southern California Edison and The Energy Network for municipal upgrades estimated to save the City over $200,000 per year – including streetlight upgrades, building HVAC, and indoor lighting.

21. Benefits of ZNE Schools: Are there benefits to expect from zero net energy investments in schools beyond energy, operational and environmental savings? Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and the New Buildings Institute review evidence of educational benefits.

22. Spotlight on CNG and Air Quality: Learn about how the San Joaquin Valley leveraged Air District funds and funding from the CEC’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP) to install a compressed natural gas station at the Lodi Unified School District.

23. Energy Data Coverage from DOE: The U.S. Department of Energy recently updated the State and Local Energy Data (SLED) website, which allows users to search by zip code to get an energy profile – including climate and emissions data – for their respective city.

24. Job Announcements: MCE is hiring for two Power Supply Contracts Managers! Learn more here.

25. RFP: The City of San José posted RFP 32016 – Consultant Services for Environmental Sustainability Plan on June 30th. Learn more here.

That’s all for this week!

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

Here are your wEEkly updates:

1. Updates from the EE Coordinating Committee: for meeting updates, reminders on comment deadlines, and a change in schedule for business plan development, see this week’s updates from the CA EE Coordinating Committee (CAEECC).  For more background on the Committee and how they facilitate local government and other stakeholder feedback on how EE funds are administered, check out the CAEECC website or take a look at this FAQ.

2. Communicating on EE: Need help communicating the value of EE in your community? This GreenBiz excerpt from the book Energy is Human describes some best practices for rethinking how we talk about efficiency.

3. Need EE Code Trainings? Did you know you can request a Title 24 Part 6 Essentials training be brought to a location of your choice? You can – and it’s free of charge – click here for details.

4. Over $457M in Funding Available: more than $457 million is available at the federal level for local and tribal government climate and energy activities: including pre-disaster mitigationcommunity resiliency, and air pollution reduction.

5. Keeping EE Affordable: As we’re seeing more and more about how efficient buildings are more valuable buildings (due to their lower cost of ownership and more), GreenBiz reviews how to keep upfront costs off low-income residents.

6. Multi-family EE resources: Affordable housing is often multi-family housing. For a list of resources in California specifically dedicated to multi-family EE, click here. Or take a look at multi-family EE program best practices in this 2015 report.

7. New Multi-family EE Strategies in NY: Looking outside California, a new multi-family energy program was announced this week from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

8. Making EE Buildings Visible: while on the subject of EE in buildings with multiple stakeholders: the US Dept. of Energy announced a new partnership under the Better Buildings Initiative with a firm that provides data intelligence to commercial real estate to improve the visibility of EE benefits.

9. Energy storage and microgrids: get new coverage from Navigant on the role of energy storage as the microgrid market matures.

10. The CPUC on microgrids and more: the CPUC issued a new proposed decision last week proposing a number of updates to California’s Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP).

11. Best practices in reducing plug loadEnvironmental Leader came out with five recommendations on checking appliances and reducing plug load in response to recent EPA audit results. A recent article from the NY Times also provides transparency on what appliances are consuming even in off or standby modes. For more on plug load, click here.

12. EE Computer Standards: while on plug load: the CEC has shared the transcript of its recent workshop on computer efficiency standards.

13. Seeking input on statewide EE programs: this week, the CPUC also released a new ruling seeking to work through approaches to statewide and third party programs and approaches in how EE funding and offerings are administered. A number of program categories are proposed for statewide implementation. Comments on this new approach are due June 10th. More on the restructuring of EE program timelines and review available here.)

14. Opportunities in electric water heaters: A new study by the Brattle Group finds significant residential savings opportunities through electric water heaters.

15. More reasons to take air pollution seriously: Need help communicating the importance of clean air? A new study confirms that air pollution contributes to the #1 cause of death.

16. New podcast from DOEGet connected to a new “Direct Current: podcast released this month from the Department of Energy!

17. Waste Heat is Power: For an old but innovative approach to efficiency, learn from Berkeley Engineer how a firm is using thermoelectrics to convert waste heat to energy.

18. Job Announcement: Cleantech San Diego is hiring for a Project Manager!

19. Job Announcement: San Diego State University is hiring for an Energy Analyst!

20. Energy Data Survey: as a reminder, the Energy Data Access Committee wants to hear from local governments re: their experience accessing data for climate action planning, through this survey available for a limited time here.

21. Weatherization Reminder: Interested in informing weatherization program development based on needs you see in your community? The Department of Community Services and Development (CSD)’s June 2nd workshop is coming up: RSVP to attend in person or by webinar here.

As always, you can keep track of relevant events by connecting to the EE Events Calendar, and find more resources being added daily on the EECoordinator website – including past WEEkly Updates

That’s all for this week!

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

1. Opportunity to influence EE program design: The new EE Coordinating Committee, authorized by CPUC Decision 15-10-028, held its second set of meetings earlier this week, laying out a timeline for this year’s stakeholder review of Program Administrator (PA) business plans by sector, and hearing presentations from the PAs on residential and commercial sector plans. (For those new to the term “Program Administrator”, these are California’s investor-owned utilities and other organizations such as SoCalREN and MCE entrusted with funding for energy efficiency programming.)  Meetings to review PA plans for the public sector will be held the week of March 14th (exact date tbd). These meetings are a great opportunity to provide feedback as local governments on the utility/REN/other energy efficiency program development and structure. If you would like more information on these meetings, or to see past meeting documents, please email me or contact meeting co-chair Lara Ettenson at NRDC directly (
 2. ACEEE released some interesting stories this week. The first is a response to Bill Gates’s interview in The Atlantic, in which he again shares that we need innovation, not just insulation. While new technology developments are absolutely critical, ACEEE points out that energy efficiency has provided foundational benefits on its own, and will continue to be an interdependent (and often more cost-effective) partner with renewable developments. Read the ACEEE story in full here.
 3. ACEEE also released a paper focusing on the role of energy efficiency in achieving the goals of U.S. Clean Power Plan. The paper is available here on ACEEE’s website.
 4. LGC’s CivicSpark is holding a webinar on March 9th from 9:30-10:30AM that might be of interest to those of you working on community-focused energy programming. The presentation by Dr. Kat Donnelly, the CEO and Founder of Empower Efficiency, is on Social Media Marketing specifically targeted at community-scale energy and environment outreach programs. To learn more, click here.
 5. Developments in automated demand response (ADR) technology: Smart home energy automator OhmConnect announces breakthrough methods for enabling smart home devices (including wifi thermostats, smart plugs, home automation systems, and EV chargers) to generate recurring revenue streams by intelligently controlling device charging when electricity is less costly.  To learn more, click here for the press release.
 6. The U.S. Department of Energy has released the annual Better Buildings Alliance Winter 2016 Progress Update, full of resources for local governments and building professionals alike. Prominently featured are plug load management strategies, demand controlled ventilation (DCV) and use tips for Energy Management Systems (EMS). 
 Plug load in particular is getting a lot of attention as the fastest growing building electricity consumer – for more plug load management background and resources, click here.
7. The Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG) is soliciting firms to conduct a Study to explore the potential for a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) Program in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. The RFP is available on WRCOG’s website and is open until 3/17.
 8. Applications are open for POCACITO in Germany: the Ecologic Institute invites you to apply to take a trip to Germany as part of the upcoming 2016 POCACITO in Germany program (June 18th-24th) to explore first hand how German cities are transitioning to become post-carbon cities. Participation from cities and regional governments is particularly encouraged.  Learn more on the POCACITO website, here.
 9. Job announcement: the Port of San Diego has several open energy and sustainability focused jobs, including a Program Manager, Energy & Sustainability, and a Senior Environmental Specialist. Learn more here.
 10. Job announcement: The SF Department of Environment is hiring for a Climate Program Manager! The new Climate Program Manager will lead the development of a strategic vision for the integration of Climate and Systems programming (Green Building, EcoDistricts) within the Department of Environment. Click here for more information.
As always, you can keep track of relevant events by connecting to the EE Events Calendar, and find more resources on the EECoordinator website

That is all for this week!

What States Are Doing to Compete in Energy Efficiency

Just this past month the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEE) published its Ninth Annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard which ranks states on their energy saving progress. Sadly for us Californians we did not take the top spot, but placed second to Massachusetts which took the number 1 spot for the fifth year in a row. With the release of this annual scorecard I am happy to see that someone or something is keeping state governments  liable for states energy progress. But what are states improving upon to even crack the top 10 of this annual scorecard?
The ACEEE scorecard is not a ranking system solely based on the views of the organization itself. The scorecard is supported by the Department of Energy (DOE) Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hogan. Rankings for the scorecard are based on analysis of each states energy efficiency policies, program efforts and offerings that improve energy efficiency in homes, businesses, industries and transportation. The group focused upon six key policy areas: utility and public benefits, transportation, building energy codes and compliance, combined heat and power, state government initiatives.
See how and why states crack the top ten when they are ranked on each of the policy categories.
Utility Energy Efficiency Programs
Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont topped this category since all three have a long track record of success. All three states continue to raise the bar on cost-effective programs and policies.
Energy Efficiency in Transportation
California, Massachusetts and New York lead in this category. Massachusetts continues to promote smart growth in areas all throughout the state with state delivered financial incentives. While on the other hand the state of New York has implemented a vehicles per mile traveled reduction target. No word on California’s efforts in this category.
Building Energy Codes and Compliance
For this grouping there were only two states that made the top grade, California and Illinois. Both states continue to improve upon codes each year.
Combined Heat and Power
Massachusetts, Maryland and California were the highest ranking states.
State Government Initiatives
California, Illinois, Minnesota and New York are the top leaders on this policy area.
Now with those being stated I am sure you are interested to see who cracked the top ten.

1.       Massachusetts
2.       California
3.     Virginia
4.     Rhode Island
5.     Oregon
6.      Connecticut
7.     Maryland
8.     Washington
9.     New York
10.   Minnesota and Illinois (tied)

Maybe having states being pitted against one another in a friendly competition can be a win for the US energy grid as well as residents. Savings figures for 2014 from energy efficiency are pretty impressive. In total approximately 25.7 megawatt-hours were saved for the year, that equates to 0.7% of retail electricity sales all across the US. As for gas savings in 2014 those were reported to be around 374 million therms. With all of those savings combined it seems as if the US is making major leaps and bounds when it comes to energy efficiency. But…sorry to be the bearer of bad news. The US ranks thirteenth out of sixteen in the world. Us Americans seem to view ourselves and our country as the innovators of the world, but these rankings clearly tell a different story.

The International Energy Efficiency Scorecard was released in 2014 and showed Germany, Italy, the EU, China and France as the top five leaders in the world for energy efficiency. You may ask yourself Germany taking the top spot…really? Well yes really. Germany has an outstanding comprehensive energy strategy which includes tight guidelines on building codes, retrofit policies, and tax credit and loan programs. The country has its own state development bank building renovation loan program which stimulates private investment. Just in 2013 alone the loan program produced around 46 billion dollars.
The United States has a ways to go on as a country on the issue of energy efficiency. When comparing the 2014 scorecard to the 2012 one ACEEE stated that the US’s improvement was unchanged. The Congressman Peter Welch when interviewed stated that he hopes that energy efficiency in the US will get a boost from the federal air pollution rules that will be enforced on states. Some other items that were outlined as being hurdles to the top for the US were transportation and not having a national energy savings plan.
With fingers crossed maybe the states will help the United States climb the rankings and make the country a better healthier place to live for all.

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

1.    UCLA Launches the LA Energy Atlas
The Atlas features an interactive map that displays energy consumption across LA County by COG, City, and Neighborhood, strategies for energy conservation strategies and a range of state and local energy efficiency policies, incentives, and goals, and more!
2.    DOE and White House Office of Science and Technology Released Second Quadrennial Technology Review
The Review examines the most promising research, development, demonstration and deployment opportunities across energy technologies that can affect the future of energy efficiency. The review presents 4 trends: convergence (all sectors of economy becoming increasingly interdependent); diversification (state and local energy planning shifting energy sectors to diversified, distributed resources); confluence (computing power and simulation ushering a new era of "systems by design"); and efficiency everywhere (energy efficiency as a critical element in achieving energy security, cost, and environmental goals).
3.    Job Opportunity: Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator
The Coordinator facilitates a statewide focus both in gathering exemplary policies and practices, and tracking progress on a statewide level on government facility and community energy use, retrofits, and strategic plan metrics. Please contact Julia Kim at if you have any questions and we would appreciate your support in spreading this announcement through your networks!
4.    AB 802: Measuring Savings at the Meter
On the Governor's desk ready to sign, AB 802 (Williams) allows utilities to provide incentives to customers who improve their buildings up to the current building code and beyond. It also allows building owners and tenants to determine the most effective efficiency and renewable energy improvements through improved tracking and benchmarking of energy use.
5.    Energy Calendar
If you have any energy-related events you would like added to the calendar, please send details to

And that is all for this week! 

Who? How? When? Is Solar ever going to be really affordable?

Recently I checked out how much it would cost me to put solar on my house. To my surprise, it was much more than I wanted to spend, especially since I’m not convinced that I really want to stay there for more than five more years. The economics of it just didn't add up. I had question like: Who would pay for the remaining balance if I decided to sell the house before the solar units were paid for?  Would the house actually meet an appraisal value that would include the cost of solar in the sales price? 

Unfortunately, the financing options for me weren't exactly attractive and leasing didn't appeal to me either.  Lucky for me and you, the Department of Energy (DOE) has just launched a new competition that could solve my problem.

The DOE has developed the SunShot Initiative, a collaborative national initiative to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade.  The first step in this aggressive endeavor focuses on removing municipal barriers such as permitting and structural engineering cost (which SJVCEO is a named partner with Optony, Inc.under The Solar Roadmap). 
Now, the DOE is going one step further by launching the SunShot prize competition, a very unique competition. This competition is working to install solar energy systems at a fraction of today’s price. The SunShot Initiative is reducing the installed cost of solar energy systems by about 75% and will drive widespread, large-scale adoption of this renewable energy technology while restoring U.S. leadership in the global clean energy race.


Photo Credit:

Energy efficiency ad campaign launched

The U.S. Department of Energy and the Ad Council haved teamed to launch a national campaign designed to help consumers save money on utility bills.

This one is simply called "Cliff" and shows in a very stark way what consumers throw away when they don't take advantage of energy efficiency opportunities in their homes. Some of it is as simple as lighting retrofits and weatherization. Other fixes may cost more.

The second, "Oven," highlights the fact that incandescent bulb throw off a good amount of heat. They cook a chicken in a bulb oven. In Fairbanks, back in the early 1970s, my friend's dad heated a chicken coop with a single bulb, enabling those poor chickens to survive nights of 50 below.

The videos were created pro bono by Texas-based advertising agency GSD&M.

"Americans spend about $2,000 per household on energy every year — but many of them could save a few hundred of that without changing their lifestyle," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu in a statement. "Many American families can take simple steps to reduce their energy bill, while making their homes more comfortable, and use that money for something they really need or want."

Student competition seeks best clean energy businesses

Wanted: clean energy business ideas.

The U.S. Department of Energy wants the nation's universities to cough up its best and brightest green entrepreneurs. The agency has launched an initiative meant to create up to six regional "student-focused" business creation competitions.

The National University Clean Energy Business Challenge has been capitalized with $2 million to cover costs. Regional winners will compete for a grand prize in Washington, D.C. in early summer 2012.

"This investment will train a new generation of scientific and technical leaders," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu in a statement. He said the effort supports the Obama Administration's continued effort to ensure that America has the workforce "to secure our energy future, create jobs here at home and win the future."

The business ideas sought have to do with energy efficiency and renewable energy. Officials say that student teams in the competitions will work with experienced mentors from the energy industry along with university and national lab-based researchers. The intent is to develop creative business plans for "transforming ground-breaking energy technologies into high impact market solutions."

For more information, go to and plug in the funding opportunity reference number DE-FOA-0000570. This part is for institutions interested in staging the competitions. Applications are due on Aug. 22, 2011. Selections are expected to be made before the end of September 2011.

We'll keep you posted as we learn more specifics.

Sun, wind & geothermal get federal boost

The U.S. government has unleashed a relative torrent of measures -- but a relatively modest amount of cash -- to accelerate President Obama's clean energy objectives.

And because they involve wind, sun and geothermal, it's almost as if the god of thunder, also known as The Mighty Thor, son of Odin, played a role. The connection, I admit, is a little obscure, but Marvel just ran the first of the ads for its live-action movie on the wielder of the mystic Mjolnir during the Super Bowl.

The genesis of all this hubbub is the President's goal of generating 80 percent of the nation's electricity from clean energy sources by 2035.

The U.S. Department of Energy wants to bring solar prices down to about 6 cents per kilowatt-hour with its "SunShot" initiative. It has a long way to go. reports that the high solar condition industrial industry index is 16.59 cents per kWh.

DOE's plan is to help reduce the cost for utility-scale installations by about 75 percent to about $1 a watt.

I can hear Thor say, "By the bristling beard of Odin," right about now. (Although I'm a closet comic buff, I got the phrase from Jared at

"America is in a world race to produce cost-effective, quality photovoltaics," said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, in a statement. "These efforts will boost our economic competitiveness, rebuild our manufacturing industry and help reach the President's goal of doubling our clean energy in the next 25 years."

U.S. outlay: $27 million for "projects to support the development, commercialization, and manufacturing of advanced solar energy technologies."

Offshore wind received the coordinated might of the U.S. Department of Interior and DOE to "support offshore wind energy deployment and several high priority wind energy areas in the mid-Atlantic that will spur rapid, responsible development of this abundant renewable resource."

Wind remains a big departure from the old-style turn-it-on-and-let-it-run practices of years past in electricity production. Wind turbines are getting bigger and have to be in often remote areas where the wind blows, generating sporadic energy. Transmission lines have to be upgraded or new ones built. And back-ups into the existing grid have to be built to accommodate power spikes as more wind power comes on line.

In the Boulder, Colo.-based Pike Research report "Electricity Transmission Infrastructure," out last year, officials wrote: "In order to reap the full benefits of renewable energy and smart grid technologies, the capacity and information-carrying ability of transmission systems must be increased substantially."

No easy task.

So Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Energy Secretary Chu announced what they dubbed "major steps forward."

"This initiative will spur the type of innovation that will help us create new jobs, build a clean energy future, and compete and win in the technologies of the 21st century," Salazar said.

He also said the government is working to synchronize research and development initiatives with "more efficient, forward-thinking planning."

U.S. commitment: up to $50.5 million in project funding.

The final naturally occurring energy targeted (at least in this round) is geothermal.

The DOE wants to test the reliability and efficiency of geothermal power generation at oil and gas fields to determine the low-temperature technologies. Work will be done at the Rocky Mountain Oilfield Testing Center near Casper, Wyo. to reduce costs.

DOE's Geothermal Technologies Program is currently paying for 17 projects with a capacity of 3 gigawatts, or enough to power 2.4 million homes by 2020, officials say.

One of the sites, Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 3 near Midwest, Wyo., produces oil and 45,000 barrels of 190-degree water per day from one formation and 28,000 barrels of 210-degree water per day from another. Initially discarded, heat is now extracted from the water and used to operate a 250-kilowatt generator.

Obama said we're going to have to go after and develop cost-efficient ways of extracting energy from all forms of alternative energy. And this pushes the needle forward.

I'd add that we'll have to do it more efficiently and with better regulation. And as my friend in the Texas oil patch says, "Don't forget oil." We will need the stuff and the assistance of the energy companies that produce it to improve our air and national security through domestic ingenuity.

And as for Thor? He'd be all for it. Just be careful of his brother the Evil Loki.

Photo: Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 3 waste water discharge courtesy

Commercial buildings could be the next frontier in energy savings

Commercial buildings present a relatively untapped frontier when it comes to energy savings and greenhouse gas reduction potential.

Corporations like Walmart, which last month rolled out its solar initiative to add solar generating systems to another 20 to 30 sites in California and Arizona and has as its goal sustainability, remain a minority. Many buildings remain unchanged, sucking up just as much or more energy -- and costing more because of steady utility rate increases -- as they did when they were built.

Commercial building space in the United States covers a total of 79 billion square feet, and buildings, 80 percent of which are more than a decade old, are one of the leading sources of energy consumption and carbon emissions, said a recent report on commercial building energy efficiency by Boulder, Colo.-based Pike Research.

The report, "Energy Efficiency Retrofits for Commercial and Public Buildings," estimates potential annual energy savings of more than $41.1 billion if all commercial space built as of 2010 were included in a 10-year retrofit program.

Reduced energy consumption isn't the only benefit.

"Commercial buildings use almost 20 percent of all energy in the United States and are a significant contributor to GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions. From a policy perspective, energy efficiency in buildings is the most lucrative potential source of GHG reductions," wrote analyst Levin Nock and Clint Wheelock, Pike Research managing director.

It's not cheap. Pike Research estimates that such retrofit programs would cost $22.5 billion annually over the 10-year period.

Often, however, the return on investment is near immediate. And resources are availble.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy and its Pacific Northwest National Laboratory today released a report explaining how to achieve up to 50 percent energy savings in quick-service restaurants. PNNL, in Richland, Wash., my old stomping grounds, said the report is expected to provide the basis for a series of how-to guides "that show architects, engineers and building designers how to achieve above-code exemplary energy performance for buildings."

The fixes recommended for fast food restaurants were:
  • Ultra-efficient cooking appliances that reduce kitchen exhaust air flow.
  • An optimized HVAC system configuration.
  • Efficient exterior and interior lighting with dimming controls in the dining room.
  • Enhanced insulation, cool roofs and high-performance window glazing.

DOE is working with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, the American Institute of Architects, the Illuminating Engineering Society and the U.S. Green Building Council to develop and publish the reports.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money also is finally flowing into California and other states across the nation for energy efficiency retrofits to municipal buildings. My outfit, the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization, is working with 39 cities and counties to administer Energy Effciency and Conservation Block Grant allocations to improve lighting, air conditioning, pumps and other building components.

We're about to unleash crews to make about $4 million worth of changes. The difference will be immediate for small cities, in some cases saving jobs. The San Joaquin Valley, like many regions in the counrty, was hard hit by the recession and property tax declines emptied municipal coffers, forcing jurisdictions to cut staffing to the bone.

That economy certainly isn't helping the private sector. About the last thing anybody wants to do is put money into new lights or HVAC systems, much less window glazing or added insulation.

“The current financial crisis has had a significant dampening effect on property owners’ investments in their properties," said Pike Research's Wheelock. "Financing for such projects is scarce, and the limited investment in building efficiency is not keeping pace with the growing national demand for energy.”

Photo: San Francisco Union Square.

5 wind projects get DOE grants

Federal officials have invested big in weather forecasting and other wind related technologies, citing a goal of doubling U.S. wind-generation capacity.

More than $5 million in grants will go to five projects, the U.S. Department of Energy said today. Two will be used to help utilities better plan around the variability of wind energy. The other three grants assist development of mid-sized wind turbines used at such locations as schools, farms and factories.

"Wind power holds enormous potential to help reach our nation's clean energy goals," said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu in a statement. "Today's awards will help better integrate wind energy into the electrical grid and will support the development of midsize wind turbines that can be used to provide renewable electricity in communities across the country."

The move is another that beefs up one of the most promising U.S. alternative energy sources. The private sector is humming with proposals looking to expand the reach of wind farms from Montana to Chesapeake Bay. And Southern California Edison -- like many others -- is investing big bucks into new and bigger transmission lines. In SCE's case, it's to get power from growing Tehachapi, Calif.-area wind farms to the Los Angeles market.

Last month, Terra-Gen Power LLC says it secured $1.2 billion to build four wind-powered electrical generation projects near Tehachapi. Officials estimate the project will generate about 1,500 jobs and have a combined generating capacity of 570 megawatts, expanding the wind farm by about 20 percent.

DOE reported 10 gigawatts of wind-powered capacity added nationwide last year for a $21 billion investment, enough to power about 2.4 million homes. Yet wind still delivers a paltry 2.5 percent of the nation's electrical supply, DOE said.

But that is expected to grow. One of the drawbacks is the intermittent nature of wind. When it blows, energy can be produced. When it's not, another source must take up the slack.

Two of the latest DOE grants, to AWS Truepower LLC in Albany, N.Y. and WindLogics Inc. in Saint Paul, Minn., will lead teams and work with DOE and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to install "advanced atmospheric measurement systems over a broad area, provide data that allow advanced weather prediction systems to improve short-term turbine-level wind forecasts and demonstrate the value of these forecasting improvements for electric utility operations."

Better forecasting solves only part of the problem. Carl Borgquist, president of Grasslands Renewable Energy, a wind startup in Bozeman, has a high-priced proposal he believes will solve it.

Borgquist told that wind needs a way to get the energy to market. That means costly transmission lines, and Borgquist said the only way to make them cost-efficient is to fill them up.

That means backup energy. Coal and natural gas are the most lucrative possibilities.

But Borgquist has another idea. He told Forbes about his pump-storage proposal: "Pump water uphill when there is excess power, and let it run downhill through a hydroturbine when power is needed."

It needs lakes, a hill and a lot of cash. It's uncertain if others share his vision. The cost Forbes mentioned was $3.25 billion for 1,000 megawatts of steady clean power.

Here's a detailed list of the DOE grants:
  • AWS Truepower: $2.15 million. Targets high-wind region in Texas and works with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages an electric power system with the largest amount of wind power capacity in the United States. Include Texas Technological University, North Carolina State University, University of Oklahoma and National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
  • WindLogics: $1.25 million. Spans several Upper-Midwest states and many active wind energy projects and assesses utility benefits with the Midwest Independent System Operator. Corporate parent NextEra Energy Resources will provide meteorological data from 14 wind plants totaling about 2 gigawatts of capacity. Includes South Dakota State University and National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
  • Clean Green Energy LLC of Brighton, Mich., $620,000: Bring a 200-kilowatt vertical axis wind turbine design into cost-effective mass production. The vertical turbine design will allow for distributed onsite generation near buildings.
  • Northern Power Systems of Barre, Vt., $620,000: Leveraging about $10 million in private sector capital to develop a 450-kilowatt turbine, helping to complete the final turbine design, procurement, and prototype testing within 18 months. The project is expected to reduce the cost of energy from midsize turbines.
  • Texas Tech University in Lubbock, $620,000: Adapt a turbine featuring two blades downwind of the tower. This turbine design builds available technology and scales it up to a 500-kilowatt rated output. Allows installation without cranes and seeks to compete on cost with fossil fuel power generation.

U.S. invests big in new generation hydropower

Hydropower may take on entirely different dimension should the technologies receiving a new round of federal grants prove commercially viable.

The 27 projects selected Thursday for $37 million in clean energy cash include tidal-powered buoys, current-capturing undersea devices and various devices that generate power from waterflow wherever it can be harnessed.

"These innovative projects will help grow water power's contribution to America's clean energy economy," said Steven Chu, U.S. Department of Energy secretary, in a statement. He said it's the largest investment of federal money to date in marine and hydrokinetic technologies.

Investment in marine hydropower has grown significantly in recent years, following similar trends in other forms of alternative energy. Earlier this year, the British subsidiary of German utility E.ON AG brought its first wave energy hydropower device, capable of 750 kilowatts, to the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, Scotland, according to E.ON UK CEO Paul Golby called it "a milestone in marine technology."

However, much of the technology is still in that "wouldn't that be cool" stage, but the private sector sees promise and is investing big in a raft of concepts and competing systems. has a round up of more than a dozen.

The DOE-funded projects involve the private sector, universities, national laboratories and other groups. They harness waves, tides, currents, thermal gradients and rivers. The grants are meant to develop the technologies and leverage financial backing from other sources.

Major projects include:
  • A 150-kilowatt PowerBuoy system in the Oregon seas by Pennington, N.J.-based Ocean Power Technologies Inc. DOE is putting up $2.4 million, about half the project's cost.
  • Five tidal turbines from Portland, Maine-based Ocean Renewable Power Co. that capture and harness cross flows at depths of up to 150 feet. DOE is putting up $10 million, about half the cost.
  • Two 10-meter diameter turbines in Puget Sound's Admiralty Inlet by Snohomish County Public Utility District in Everett, Wash. DOE is pitching in $10 million, about half the cost.

Other projects include a device that converts fast-moving river currents to energy by Pittsburgh-based Bayer Material Science LLC. DOE is giving it $240,000.

Also getting $240,000 is an "innovative air pressure device utilizing bi-directional turbines" to capture wave energy by Salem, Ore.-based M3 Wave Energy Systems LLC.

The Regents of the University of California in Davis received $158,000 to develop a reliable and cost-effective tidal turbine, while Makai Ocean Engineering Inc. in Kailua, Hawaii got $240,000 to study ocean thermal energy conversion.

Photo: Ocean Power Technologies Inc.'s Oregon ocean power device.