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Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update



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Copyright © 2018 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



SEEC Cohort Training Session

Is your city or county planning to complete or update a climate action plan, sustainability plan or energy action plan? The 2018 CAP Cohort Training Session is a structured technical-assistance program to guide California local governments to scope out and be well prepared to develop their CAP. The Training Session is available through the SEEC program at no cost to local governments.

The 14-week Session will run from the Week of July 30 through November 9, 2018. Participants should not expect to complete their CAP during the cohort session; rather, they will complete the training with a clear scope for what their CAP will focus on and cover, an understanding of how to use the SEEC ClearPath tool to support their CAP, and a clear set of next steps.

Topics covered will include: Deciding your community's goals for the plan; conducting vulnerability assessments; community engagement and equity; using the SEEC ClearPath tool to forecast emissions change, develop high-level scenarios, and to analyze specific actions; defining metrics and monitoring; and thinking about local government influence, internal capacity and community partners.


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Copyright © 2018 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


SJV Clean Transportation Center: April Newsletter




Welcome to the April 2018 San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center Newsletter. With funding from the California Energy Commission, CALSTART opened the Center with the goal to accelerate the use of clean vehicles and fuels in order to help the region more quickly meet air quality targets.


SJV Clean Transportation Summit Drives Theme of Clean Air & A Healthy Economy 

The 2018 San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Summit – hosted by the Fresno State Transportation Institute and CALSTART, in partnership with Fresno State’s Office of Community and Economic Development (OCED) and Project Clean Air – was successful in bringing awareness of the necessity of transforming transportation to promote a healthier San Joaquin Valley.
More than 200 attendees participated in the two-day event in Fresno March 14-15, featuring 30 vendors at the forefront of revolutionizing the clean transportation industry. Vehicle displays and ride-and-drive demonstrations were located throughout the Save Mart Center parking lots, highlighting the latest electric and natural gas vehicles for commercial and personal use.
Eight breakout sessions explored air quality and transportation issues in the San Joaquin Valley, as well as opportunities for progressing toward cleaner transportation. Sessions focused on converting to natural gas from diesel fuel, the impact of California High-Speed Rail on the region, the challenge of and solutions to connecting rural cities to major urban areas, and other timely topics.
The event concluded with the Funders Forum, where representatives from the Fresno Council of Governments, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, California Transportation Commission, Center for Sustainable Energy and CALSTART provided an overview of more than $220 million in funding available to the Valley for clean air projects. The goal of the funding is to continue to progress toward clean energy transformation that promotes healthier living conditions and increased economic activity for our region.
More information about the Summit, including coverage from Fresno's KSEE television station and links to presentations, is available on the SJV Clean Transportation Center website.


Valley Air District Board Approves New Funding for Truck Replacement Program  


The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) gave the region's trucking fleets a major boost when its Governing Board on March 15 approved a new funding program to replace diesel trucks with new zero-emission electric or near-zero compressed natural gas engines.

Formerly known as the Truck Voucher Program (TVP), it now simply will be called the Truck Replacement Program, SJVAPCD Strategies and Incentives Manager Todd DeYoung told those attending the Funders Forum at the SJV Clean Transportation Summit, speaking just hours after the Governing Board voted on the program changes.

Several speakers at the Summit noted that an incentive of $70,000 or more per truck is needed to make it economically feasible for fleets to convert from diesel engines to the new near-zero, low-NOx engines now available from Cummins Westport and sold by numerous manufacturers. New funding levels will range from $100,000 for these new CNG engines to $200,000 for an all-electric truck (see graphic above for details). Heavy-duty diesel trucks are the single largest contributor of NOx emissions in the Valley.

Rather than requiring 2010 and newer diesel trucks to be destroyed, said DeYoung, the Air District is creating a trade-up feature for those trucks to be used by smaller fleets and agricultural operations, which then would destroy and older, higher-polluting truck. For fleet expansion when no existing vehicle is being retired, a grant of $20,000 would be available per truck.

DeYoung said the $20,000 grant could be combined with funding from the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP), which is administered by CALSTART. Visit the
HVIP website for more information. View the Governing Board presentation for more details on the Truck Replacement Program.



A total of 525 test drives were conducted in Fresno during Electrify America's Drive and Discover Tour March 5-7 at Fashion Fair Mall – more than any other market, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento. Because of that success, additional tour events are scheduled April 3-4 in Bakersfield and April 7-8 in Stockton.

Electrify America Discover and Drive Tour Coming to Bakersfield, Stockton in April   

Volkswagen's Electrify America Discover and Drive Tour was so successful in Fresno that additional events have been added for Bakersfield and Stockton in early April. The tour showcases electric vehicles (EVs) and charging, with several EVs available to test drive, including the BMW i3, Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S and Volkswagen e-Golf, as well as the battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell powered Honda Clarity models.

The tour will be in Bakersfield April 3-4 at Bakersfield Plaza, 4200 California Ave., and in Stockton April 8 at Weberstown Mall, 4950 Pacific Ave., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. The tour also will be at the Stockton Tune In and Tune Up event, 1658 South Airport Way, from 6:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 7. In Fresno, the three-day event at Fashion Fair Mall had 525 test drives – the most of any of the tour's markets – even though it was on Monday to Wednesday.

"It was clear to all of us that there was significant demand in Fresno, and residents were really interested in learning more about electric cars," said Catherine Teebay, program manager for FORTH, which is conducting the tour as part of Electrify America’s initial $200 million investment in California to increase access to EVs and adoption through brand-neutral education and promotional activities.
Added materials about used EVs in addition to rebates and incentives will be featured. Admission is free and advance registration is not required but can be done online to speed up the sign-in process at the event.



Four new Pipistrel Alpha Electro two-seat electric training airplanes arrived in Fresno in March. The all-electric aircraft are part of a new pilot-training program administered by CALSTART's San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center, with grant funding from the Fresno County Transportation Authority.  

Nation's First Production Electric Aircraft Makes History Taking Flight in Fresno

The San Joaquin Valley now is home to the largest concentration of production electric aircraft in the world! Four Pipistrel Alpha Electro two-seat electric training airplanes were delivered to Fresno Chandler Executive Airport in March. San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center Director Joseph Oldham, who also has been a pilot for more than 40 years, is the innovator behind CALSTART's Sustainable Aviation Project, which will be the nation's first flight training program using electric aircraft.

With slightly more than $1 million in funding from the Fresno County Transportation Authority, the program is a partnership with the cities of Mendota and Reedley that includes $90,000 in training assistance grant funds for youth from disadvantaged communities in Fresno County. The planes will operate at  Fresno Chandler Executive Airport and the municipal airports in Reedley and Mendota.

"Had I not known Joseph and that he could deliver, I would have laughed him out the door," said Nicole Zieba, Reedley's City Manager. She noted that the nation, and even the world, is facing a pilot shortage. This project brings the hope of a high-paying job to youth living in an area that still has high unemployment, she noted. "We are going to change lives," Zieba said.

Oldham piloted one of the Alpha Electro planes on its first flight March 23 from Fresno Chandler Executive Airport. "This truly was a historic event," he said. "It was the first flight of a production electric aircraft in the U.S.!"

Check out this video of that historic flight. To learn more about the project, read the Sustainable Aviation Project Blog or website.



Crimson Renewable Energy, LP, is the state's largest producer of ultra-low carbon biodiesel. The Bakersfield plant's current production level generates emissions and carbon reduction benefits equivalent to taking 53,000 cars off the road. 

Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Helping California Meet Renewable Fuel Standard 

Richard Nelson, Ph.D., representing the National Biodiesel Board, and Daniel Burns from the Renewable Energy Group, Inc., (REG) spoke to a group of diesel fleet operators in Bakersfield. The March 21 breakfast meeting was hosted by Wholesale Fuels, Inc., to help inform the group about what is in the diesel fuel they are using.

Diesel fuel often contains up to 5 percent biodiesel. Looking at the bill of lading, not just the invoice, will show what is in the fuel, the presenters advised. B20, up to 20 percent biodiesel, up to B100, or pure biodiesel, are available. California requires biodiesel to have a NOx mitigant such as CATANOX or VESTA, Nelson noted. The presenters also cautioned that diesel storage tanks should be cleaned before storing since biodiesel breaks down accumulated sediments and may lead to clogged fuel filters.

In addition to being North America's largest producer of biodiesel, REG produces Renewable Hydrocarbon Diesel (RHD) and offers blends of both products to maximize the benefits of both fuels. As a 100 percent hydrocarbon product, RHD can be blended with biodiesel and petroleum diesel. It qualifies for various state biofuel tax incentives.

Norm Ueunten of Crimson Renewable Energy, LP, located in Bakersfield, also attended the meeting. Crimson is the largest producer of ultra-low carbon biodiesel in California and distributes biodiesel to the wholesale market in the Western U.S. The California Energy Commission (CEC) in January awarded a $4.4 million grant to Crimson from the Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Technology Program to design and operate an advanced commercial scale refinery that converts low-value feedstocks such as trap grease, inedible animal fats and soap stocks into biodiesel fuel. Crimson previously received CEC funding to upgrade its plant.

The U.S. implemented the Renewable Fuels Standard in 2007 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels. California has expanded on these efforts with the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program. 
Quotes from the SJV Clean Transportation Summit March 14-15

"CALSTART's membership now includes more than 185 global companies. We bring the resources of all of these companies to the Valley as partners to reduce emissions."
John Boesel
President and CEO, CALSTART

"The transportation sector emits 80 percent of the region's smog and nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gasses. The largest contributor is heavy-duty diesel trucks.... Natural gas trucks are clean, abundant, affordable and available now."
Michelle Sim
Southern California Gas Co.


"Zero is better than .02. But it isn't when it's not available for the vehicles you need. We don't want to wait a decade."
Tom Jordan
San Joaquin Valley Air  Pollution Control District


"The fuel of the future has arrived. RNG is the most environmentally friendly and most cost-effective fuel for the movement of heavy-duty transportation vehicles."
Anthony Tarabini
Biorem Energy

"We will not get to cleaner air by regulation alone. Incentives play a key role."
Todd DeYoung
San Joaquin Valley Air  Pollution Control District


"At the end of the day, if we make some change, then it will have all been worthwhile."
Joseph Oldham
San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center

SJVCTC Newsletter Ceasing Publication

With the California Energy Commission grant that has provided funding for the San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center (SJVCTC) ending soon, this will be the last issue of our SJVCTC Newsletter.

The CALSTART offices in Fresno and Stockton will remain open as we continue to work on projects with other funding sources. Please check our website for future news and information updates. 


News Briefs

PG&E, SCE OFFERING CUSTOMERS $10,000 INCENTIVE FOR BMW i3

Several utilities, including PG&E and Southern California Edison, are offering their customers an additional $10,000 incentive on the purchase of a BMW i3 or i3s for a limited time.

The deadline is April 30 for SCE customers, while PG&E customers have until May 31 to take advantage of this program. Both utility programs only are available for vehicle purchases, not leases. 

This incentive is in addition to the federal tax credit and
California and San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District rebates that together amount to $13,000 or more, depending on income and eligibility. Residential EV owners also may qualify for rebate of $450 from SCE and $500 from PG&E.      

LIGHT-DUTY PUBLIC FLEET INCENTIVES NOW PART OF CVRP 

The Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) recently announced that the Public Fleet Pilot Project now is part of the state's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP). New funding levels also were announced, with public fleets in disadvantaged area census (DAC) tracts eligible for higher rebate amounts when purchasing light-duty vehicles.

Since 2014, more than 620 electric vehicles statewide have received substantial rebates through the Public Fleet Pilot Project, which is funded by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and administered by CSE.

As part of the CVRP public fleet incentives, all public fleets now can apply for multiple rebates in a single online application. Public agencies are eligible for up to 30 rebates annually. Public fleets also can reserve rebates up to six months prior to vehicle delivery and up to 18 months after delivery. 


Plug-in hybrid EVs are eligible for the standard CVRP rebate of $1,500 per vehicle, and those in DACs are eligible for an increased rebate of $3,500. Battery or range-extended vehicles are eligible for a rebate of $2,500, increasing to $4,500 for vehicles domiciled in a DAC. Another change to the public fleet program is that zero-emission motorcycles no longer are being funded. Fuel-cell vehicles are eligible for a $5,000 rebate and $7,000 in a DAC location. For more information or to check the map of DAC locations, visit CSE's public fleets website
 
DOE SELECTS EDI FOR ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUS PROGRAM

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected California-based Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI) as the electric drivetrain provider for a $4.4-million DOE program that aims to accelerate the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles. With matching funds from other public and private entities, total program funding exceeds $9 million. 
School buses continue to be the largest mass transit segment in the country, carrying twice the number of passengers as the entire U.S. transit and rail segments.
As part of the program, EDI will supply its EDI PowerDrive 7000ev electric drivetrain and its EDI Power2E exportable power solution to a leading school bus OEM to develop a fleet of electric buses with Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) capabilities.
The bus offers more than 100 miles of range, delivers power performance equivalent to its diesel counterpart, and requires no change to driver behavior. EDI already has collaborated with several OEMs to electrify buses.

CARB'S ONE-STOP TRUCK EVENT SET FOR BAKERSFIELD 

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will have a One-Stop Diesel Truck Event on Tuesday, April 17, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 South P Street, in Bakersfield. One-on-one assistance will be available. See the One-Stop Truck Event website for information or to register,  

Looking for Grant Information?

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District offers a variety of grants and incentive programs for public agencies, residents, businesses and technology. Interested parties should apply early since incentives typically are available on a first-come, first-served basis. A complete list of current incentive programs is available on the Air District website.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) administers grant programs funded through various sources, including the cap-and-trade program. A list of the various funding programs is available on the
CARB website.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) also administers grant programs for transportation technology. Go to the 
CEC website for information.

Various federal agencies offer grants and incentives for transportation technology each year. Federal agencies use the
Grants.gov website for submitting grant applications. 
 


“The CALSTART San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center is a joint project between CALSTART and the California Energy Commission (CEC). It is funded through a grant from the CEC with the mission to assist residents and businesses in the San Joaquin Valley deploy cleaner transportation options to help improve air quality and promote economic prosperity.  For more information about CALSTART, visit www.calstart.org.”

Copyright © 2018 by CALSTART, All rights reserved.

Contact Us
Joseph Oldham, Director     Thomas Paddon, Regional Project Manager
San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center
Fresno Address: 510 W. Kearney Blvd., Fresno, CA 93706
Fresno Phone: (559) 797-6034
Stockton Address: 5000 S. Airport Way, Suite #208, Stockton, CA 95206
Stockton Phone: (626) 744-5637
Email: joldham@calstart.org and tpaddon@calstart.org
Website: www.sjvcleantransportation.org

Newsletter Editor: Brenda Turner, Project Clean Air
projectcleanairprograms@gmail.com

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update




The wEEkly Update

For Local Governments and their partners

March 05, 2018

CivicSpark is Recruiting Project Partners!
 
CivicSpark - a federally-funded Governor's Initiative AmeriCorps program that uses national service to build local climate, water, and community resilience - is now accepting project applications for the 2018-19 service year! The program offers three thematic tracks: Climate (50 openings), Water (20 openings), and a new Opportunity Access track (20 openings) that will focus on affordable housing, alternative transportation, and rural broadband.

Learn more about CivicSpark by attending a Project Partner Informational Webinar. Applications will be accepted in waves, with the first priority deadline on March 16th, and the second on May 1st. CivicSpark is implemented by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor's Office of Planning and Research. Informational flyer.

Central Valley Grant Technical Assistance Cohort
 
In partnership with the Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator (BPC), Local Government Commission (LGC), and Institute for Local Governments (ILG), ICLEI will be hosting a structured technical assistance program in June for 5-8 local governments in the Central Valley on energy and grants. Aimed at local governments in the Central Valley with high proportions of DACs, the program will help build capacity for agencies through planning an energy project and coaching them through completing funding applications. The program will guide agencies through resources provided by the state and the public utilities, best practices on community engagement, case studies on successful collaborative community and local government projects, and grant writing. 

See more details here and sign up here.


News



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Resources and Opportunities 

·         Better Together: Linking and Leveraging Energy Programs for Low-Income Households

·         Report: The Role of Energy Efficiency in a Distributed Energy Future

·         REopt Lite Tool for Commercial Building Managers

·         Study: Valuing the Resilience Provided by Solar and Battery Energy Storage Systems

·         BayREN Energy Efficiency Business Plan 2018­-2025

·         Social Media Toolkit

·         Evaluate and Learn As You Go to Strengthen Performance Toolkit

·         ISO monthly renewable report

·         ISO offers training on the electric grid and markets

·         ISO’s new webpage tracks emissions

Find more resources and opportunities



Job Announcements



Upcoming events

Conferences/Workshops:

Webinars:

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Copyright © 2018 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


The wEEkly Update

For Local Governments and their partners

December 11, 2017


News








Resources and Opportunities
Report: How to Talk about Home Energy Upgrades
Report: Transportation Energy Demand Forecast, 2018-2030
Report: Strategies for Successful Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs
Draft Research Investment Plan: Climate Change Research Program
Tool: State Energy Analysis
Toolkit: Energy Management Information Systems (EMIS) in Building Portfolio
Funding: Prop 39 – Deadline Feb 26
Find more resources and opportunities



Job Announcements



Upcoming events
Free Calif. Energy Efficiency Standards Trainings for Building Inspectors - Nov-Feb
State Meeting: EM&V Stakeholder meeting - Dec 12
State Meeting: Energy Standards Outreach & Education - Dec 12 & 21
State Meeting: December Commission Business Meeting - Dec 13
Webinar: Energy Efficiency Regulations for Computers - Dec 13
Webinar: Climate Action Portal Map (CAP-Map) Launch and Demo - Dec 14
State Workshop: CA Energy Demand 2018-2030 Revised Forecast - Dec 15
Forum: The Promise of Microgrids - Jan 25
17th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference - Feb. 1-3
2018 EPIC Symposium: Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation - Feb 7
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

Hurry and Register Today!


2016 Hispanic Heritage Month - Tulare RSVP


Welcome!
Southern California Edison invites you to join us as we celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latino American citizens, businesses & community organizations.


When
Friday, September 23, 2016
8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.


Where
Energy Education Center - Tulare
4175 S. Laspina Street, Tulare, CA 93274




How
Reservations are required as seating is limited.  
Please respond by Friday, September 16, 2016. 



2016 Hispanic Heritage Month - Tulare RSVP



What Has SJVCEO Been Up To in June

With much of the southwest and California experiencing its first major heat wave of the summer we hope everyone is taking precautions to stay cool as well as save energy. While trying to survive the heat the SJVCEO team has been busy traveling for conferences as well as working to identify new projects that can be completed in 2016.

Some of the SJVCEO staff attended the 7th Annual Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum (or SEEC Conference) in Riverside on June 15th and 16th. This year's program was expanded to include four plenary sessions and sixteen different breakout sessions over a two day period.

This year, the forum focused on “taking a holistic approach toward a sustainable future” and how taking a full system approach to climate action and planning by understanding the interconnected and multifaceted nature of energy efficiency will better serve and create a longer term vision for our communities.
Speakers from the Local Government Commission (LGC), the Institute for Local Governments (ILG), the four IOUs (PG&E, SCE, SCG, and SDG&E), Planning and Sustainability departments from various jurisdictions, and many others spoke about current policies and programs in place that demonstrate the importance of a multi-dimensional approach that yields deeper energy savings. They also spoke to local climate actions that have allowed communities to respond to climate change more effectively and increase local and regional climate resiliency.

There were two new sessions at this year’s forum. Attendees could participate in the “Ask the Experts” one-on-one mentoring program. Experts in Finance and Funding, Regulatory Issues and Compliance, Climate Action Planning and Strategic Planning, as well as Engagement and Outreach were available for attendees to address and receive input on specific challenges. Attendees also participated in the poster session which allowed local governments partners, CivicSpark interns and many others to share their unique successes and challenges to a broader audience.

In between traveling the SJVCEO staff was busy looking through potential project listing from our energy champion partners in the cities and counties in the HDR Partnership and VIEW Partnership. We are very excited about some of the work that is being identified as well as in the works. As we say here in the office," keep the energy projects coming!" We currently do not have a lot to report in the way of projects and numbers since much of the summer is a down time for our local governments as well as our IOU partners. 

We hope to share much more exciting items with you as we make our way through the summer months. 


Stay tuned for next months update!




Wellness Wednesday: Smart meters and radio frequency


In the third installment of our staff coverage on smart meters (one and two), our resident wellness expert, Maureen Hoff addresses the question of whether or not smart meters adversely affect the health of the people who live with them.  As part of our team effort to provide consistency in blog posting, Maureen is taking on the weekly post, 'Wellness Wednesday' where she will show the connection between energy, the environment and your personal wellness. 

Maureen has been with the SJVCEO for two and a half years serving as the project coordinator for our VIEW local government partnership, master of ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and all-around 'girl Friday' for the organization.  Maureen wholeheartedly embraces the SJVCEO efforts "to provide a better quality of life for residents of the San Joaquin Valley" in her personal life as well.  When she's not working with our cities and counties, Maureen is the proprietor of Wild Ginger Wellness and works as a personal health coach helping people reach their goals and improve their quality of life. Maureen holds a bachelors degree in cultural anthropology with a minor in exercise and health science from the University of California, Santa Barbara and has studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York.  

Smart Meters and Radio Frequency 

Utility companies around the globe, and even in our very own Central Valley, have been switching customers over to ‘smart meters’ in order to prevent their poor meter-reading employees from having to tromp through bushes and run from dogs--well, maybe that is a bit of a simplified explanation.  A smart meter is a two-way communication device that allows utilities and their customers to better track energy usage. You may have heard a favorite saying over here at the SJVCEO is ‘you can’t manage what you can’t measure’ and we love the smart meter because it puts the power in the customer's hands.

Between 2009 and 2012, our friends at Southern California Edison (SCE) will have deployed approximately 5 million of their SmartConnect meters. Customers will have the ability to log into their online account and track energy usage by the hour. Yep. I would say that’s pretty smart! The majority of customers’ concerns with smart meters typically surround privacy issues; however,some have questioned possible health risks associated with these two-way devices emitting radio frequency (RF) signals.

RF signals are categorized as a non-ionizing form of radiation on the electromagnetic spectrum. In a nutshell, this means that RF signals do not emit enough energy to alter the chemical structure of an atom and are generally safe, despite the fact that they are strong enough to cause increased temperature in body tissue. If the intensity of a non-ionizing form of radiation is strong enough, however, it can become ionizing. Ionizing radiation, which occurs naturally and from man-made activities (think nuclear), produces toxic free radicals which can severely damage body tissue and even cause death.
http://asset.sce.com/microsite/Documents/ESC/smartconnect_rf_onepager_v5_072111-outlines.pdf
When it comes to SmartConnect, SCE says that ‘a person’s exposure to RF signals depends on three factors: the signal strength, the distance from the device, and how often it transmits’. The good news is that the meters have a low signal strength, will most likely be installed in a location around your home or small business that isn’t too close to where you spend much time, and only transmit a signal for a few minutes each hour. In my opinion, when compared to a device such as a cell phone, smart meters don’t look like much of a health risk at all; but, if you are like me then you will still want to go to all lengths to protect yourself and your family from even the slightest risk. And that is when I turn to the diet.

Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients found in foods that assist in protecting and repairing damaged cells. Eating a colorful diet full of fresh, organic fruits, vegetables, healthy fats/oils, and lean protein can help combat exposure to free radicals from radiation. Foods like dark, leafy greens; berries; avocados; good quality olive oil; and even chocolate in its raw state (cacao) can help protect our bodies from environmental toxins. I like to say ‘control the controllables’. Watch what you put in your mouth, get a little exericse every day, and let your utility company install a smart meter. After all, if you decrease your energy use you are helping to decrease greenhouse gas emissions which means cleaner air, which means better health.


Photo credit: Southern California Edison
photo credit: A Culinary (Photo) Journal via photopin cc


Believe it or Not: I love my smart meter!

It wasn't all that long ago that California's Central Valley erupted in a fervor. Not quite as monumental as the Arab Spring, but intense...for California.  And what was at the heart of this movement, this act of rebellion?  Class warfare?  Ineffective government?  Double digit unemployment?  Nope. It was this guy on the right.

The PG&E SmartMeter roll out in Bakersfield, California has been called a text book case on how not to roll out a smart meter installation campaign.  Lois Henry, over at the Bakersfield Californian has spent the last four years covering the brouhaha in great detail.  But I'm here to tell you a different story--a story of love. I'm here to tell you about my love affair with my SmartMeter.

Yup, Believe it or not, I live in central California and I LOVE MY SMARTMETER!

Over the top?  No, not once you understand our journey.  SmartMeter came to our house quietly in 2009.  I remember the "while you were out" notice on the door, and walking around the side of the house to say hi, but that's about it.  It wasn't love at first site.  Around the same time I had my head down and was working many late nights trying to learn my way through the energy industry and SJVCEO was still trying to find its place.   It wasn't until 2010 when I took over as the lead on the VIEW Partnership and fell into the rabbit hole that is energy benchmarking I started thinking more about my own energy use.  I wondered if I couldn't learn how to better serve our local governments through better understanding the way I used energy.

SmartMeter allowed me to see how I used my energy throughout the day.  I could log on to my PG&E account (before the launch of My Energy) and pull a graph from the day before.  It looked something like this:























Okay, that's a graph from My Energy, but with the exception of the pretty colors the content is the same. This was eye opening!  I could watch my habits throughout the day. That spike at 7:00 a.m.?  That's when I couldn't handle a blow dryer, curling iron and a house at 78 degrees and cranked the AC down to 74.  You'll notice it decreases after 8:00 a.m. when likely my husband woke up freezing and returned the thermostat to 79 (where he likes to diligently keep it). I could see Ryan (husband) and Dutch (Saint Bernard) warm up as the day progressed; as the the temperature crept up to 110 degrees so did our energy use.  And, back in these days things like laundry and dishwashers ran during the day so we didn't have to worry about chores eating in to our "us time". Well, we learned to adapt.

I realized that we could just as easily run the dishwater overnight, despite that it annoys Dutch to no end, and do the laundry in the mornings.  I also learned to wear my hair in a ponytail much more frequently in the summer months so I didn't have to worry about the heat of styling, which kept the AC off until after noon.  Oh, and those spikes at the end of the day? That's me again.  I hate sleeping in a hot house so I would turn the temperature down to go to sleep.  I had to give up the compulsion to sleep under a blanket no matter the season.  It was hard, but I've survived.  And, my power bill went down.  A lot.

Comparing August 2009 to August 2010 we had fewer peaks and less time in the 5 kWh+ zone, and a bill that was more than $100 less than the previous year.  Woo hoo!

That was my Koolaid; that's when I became and energy efficiency evangelist.

I realized it wasn't retrofits (although some serious insulation helped), but behavior modification that made the biggest difference.  And so it became my mission to integrate behavior modification recommendations in all our SJVCEO work.  My SmartMeter, and what I was able to learn and appreciate gave me a story that I could share and relate to the work that we were doing in the Valley.  Why benchmark thousands of municipal energy accounts (poor Maureen)? Because, seeing your energy habits sitting right next to cost makes a heck of an impression.  It also lets you see what you're doing right and not-so-right.  Now, I could tell a city, "hey, your office facilities are using almost as much energy at night as they are in the day.  Maybe we should take a look at what your staff is doing." But that usually elicits a "sure, let's look at it next quarter."  Now, if I have my laptop I can log in to the city's Portfolio Manager account and say, "See your use and how much it's costing you at City Hall? That's more than twice the national average for a similar space.  Why don't we take a look and see if we can't get this bill lower than $16,000 per month."  Then I'm more likely to get someone to escort me through the building after hours and see that office lights and nonessential machines are let on, and that the A/C is still kicking away at the government building standard--just short of Arctic!  That knowledge can lead to an education campaign to get employees to shut down at night, and perhaps even designates a person to make sure the A/C is turned up to keep the space controlled, but not freezing.  Say these simple steps, these behavior modifications end up saving a city $1,000 per month? Maybe more?  That's why we benchmark thousands of municipal energy accounts (still, poor Maureen).

So yeah, I love my SmartMeter, but the problem is not everyone has a SmartMeter--or an intelligent metering system.  Not even the everyone in the San Joaquin Valley has one...but that's about to change!

As mentioned in my ode to Carl and Eddy Southern California Edison's SmartConnect is coming to town!  This means that those residential and small business customers in our VIEW Partnership and beyond (Armona, California Hot Springs, Camp Nelson, Delano, Ducor, Earlimart, Goshen, Hanford, Ivanhow, Lemon Cove, Lindsay, McFarland, Pixley, Porterville, Springville, Strathmore, Terra Bella, Three Rivers, Tipton, Tulare, Tule River Indian Reservation, and Woodlake) are going to be able to track their energy use electronically and we don't have to do anything (yay for Maureen!).

At SJVCEO (even beyond my desk) we're pretty excited about SmartConnect, so we're going to take a team approach  to sharing the enthusiasm with the blogosphere.  On Wednesday, October 3 Maureen's Wellness Wednesday will address the question of intelligent meters and radio frequency, and on October 8th Dee's Money Monday will address how SmartConnect can help small businesses and residents invest wisely in energy efficiency.  I may even pull together another BION, but we'll have to see how October goes!  And because no one wants a Friday blog with out a couple of talking houses, here are my buddies, Carl and Eddy!  This time Carl gets the drop on Eddy and has to breakdown the super cool online tools that work with SmartConnect--darn, I gave it away!

 photo credit: Steve Wilhelm via photopin cc


Southern California Edison Turns On Solar In Porterville


A ground-mounted Southern California Edison solar project in the San Joaquin Valley - and one of the largest utility-owned sites in the state - is to be activated today. The impressive display of 29,400 panels is on 32 acres of city land adjacent to the Porterville Municipal Airport.

The panels will generate enough power for 4,300 houses, according to this Fresno Business Journal story from October. Talks of the project first arose as an inquiry more than a year ago and a lease was signed last summer. Here's an earlier story from the Porterville Recorder.

The installation is one of several owned by Edison in California. The panels are mounted and placed at a 25 degree tilt, optimum for this specific location. The utility paid the $18 million cost of the project, which is tied into a nearby distribution circuit.

Photo by edison.com

Water Conference Planned For Tulare



The state of water in the Central Valley, current and proposed policies and renewable energy generation will be among the topics when Southern California Edison hosts a water conference Sept. 29 in Tulare.

The event will be from 8:30 a.m to 3:30 p.m. at SCE's Agriculture Technology Application Center (AgTAC).

Speakers will include California Assemblywoman Connie Conway, R-Tulare; Ron Jacobsma, general manager of the Friant Water Authority; and Cynthia Truelove, senior water policy analyst for the California Public Utilities Commission.

Truelove will be the luncheon speaker. Her topic: "Emerging Policy Frontiers in the Water and Energy Nexus: From Renewable Energy to Funding Innovation in the Water/Wastewater Sector."

Breakout sessions in the afternoon will focus on renewable energy generation. Electric utility incentives, agricultural efficiency, cool planet projects and energy partnerships will be among the topics.

For more information or to register call 1-800-772-4822 or 559-625-7126. Online registration is at www.sce.com/workshops.

Big wind project secures financing near Tehachapi

Terra-Gen Power LLC says it has secured $1.2 billion in financing to build four wind-powered electrical generation projects near Tehachapi.

Officials estimate it will generate about 1,500 jobs.

The combined generating capacity is 570 megawatts, or enough electricity to supply 570,000 homes. The project would bolster the 3,000 megawatt Alta Wind Energy Center, which was started in the 1980s and "where former Governor Jerry Brown jump-started the US wind industry back in the early ’80s with 55% tax credits. Back then, because of those policies, California led the nation in wind and solar," wrote Susan Kraemer on Cleantechnica.com.

Terra-Gen officials said in a statement that combined with another project which received financing in March, this would put the New York-based company "well on its way to completing what is anticipated to be the largest wind energy farm in the nation."

John O’Connor, chief financial officer of Terra-Gen, said project financing is a first using a leveraged lease and a bond issuance under U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 144A, which "are not required to be registered with the SEC and may not be resold to individual investors, but may be traded between qualified institutional buyers," according to an article by Miles Livingston and Lei Zhou on moneywatch.com.

"We are hopeful that these benchmarks will expand the capital base available to fund future growth in the renewables sector,” O'Connor said.

Jim Pagano, CEO of Terra-Gen said the project expands California's renewable energy base and helps achieve energy independence. “The Alta projects I-V will create more than 1,500 domestic manufacturing, construction and operation and maintenance jobs, and inject more than $600 million into the local economy," he said.
Construction is expected to begin immediately, and commercial energy production should start next year.

Power will be delivered to the Los Angeles Basin through Southern California Edison’s Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project, which was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission in March 2007. Construction on the project is now under way. SCE officials say it is the "first major energy transmission project in California being constructed specifically to access multiple renewable generators in a remote renewable-rich resource area."

Photo: Courtesy Southern California Edison.