San Joaquin Valley

Happy METU Monday!

Why does energy efficiency make good business sense?

There are many indirect energy saving benefits according to the Small Business Administration (SBA):

Enhanced Employee Productivity - Enhanced comfort and improved lighting conditions may contribute to improvements in staff productivity.
Reduced Operations and Maintenance Costs - Many energy-efficient technologies significantly decrease your operations and maintenance requirements, saving not only money but also staff time.
Increased Customer Comfort - Building upgrades will improve your facility's appearance, present your products or services in a comfortable, well-lit environment.
Increased Asset Value - Efficient business properties have higher market values than those with higher operating costs.
Enhanced Public Image - Your contribution to environmental protection very positively differentiates your business from your competitors.

Look out for METU near you!
We are so proud to announce that we just helped the City of Avenal save over 137,000 kWh in annual savings. That is equivalent to over $21,000 in savings on their utility bills and we are just getting started!

METU is continually looking to assist our municipal partners in the San Joaquin Valley. If you are in any of the following counties and have PG&E gas or electric service, call us today!

Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare counties.


Not sure where to start? Connect with us:
T: (877) 748-0841
E: METU@SJVCEO.ORG

Check out our NEW website!
MUNICIPALTUNEUP.ORG
*Source: https://www.sba.gov/managing-business/running-business/energy-efficiency/calculate-energy-savings/indirect-energy-saving-benefits

The Newest CURRENTS is out!

Issue 96 | Spring 2017




An Energy Newsletter for Local Governments

CURRENTS is the Local Government Commission’s free quarterly newsletter providing local elected officials and staff with current information on energy issues affecting California local governments.


On the Path to an Advanced Energy Community
Santa Monica has received funding for their Advanced Energy Communities project, focused on turning the “City Yards,” into a microgrid.



The Signs Are Clear: Data is the New Tool for the Energy Efficiency Field
Access to granular data can help California achieve its energy reduction goals and save consumers and business time, energy, and money.

Link to Article


Moving Forward with Electric Vehicles
By 2016 nearly 230,000 Zero Emission Vehicles including fully electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell electric vehicles were registered in California.

Link to Article


Climate Investments Payoff for the San Joaquin Valley
Climate investments benefit the San Joaquin Valley rather than being a detriment to the Valley economy. We review a report released by Next 10.

Link to Article


Please feel free to pass CURRENTS along to friends, associates and others who you think would be interested. 
  
Copyright © 2017.  Local Government Commission.  All rights reserved. 

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Local Government Commission | 980 9th Street, Suite 1700, Sacramento, CA 95814

SJV Clean Transportation Center Update : ARB Training Courses



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





ARB Announces Upcoming Mobile Source Training Courses 

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has announced the following upcoming Mobile Source-related classes. Registration information is below. For additional information, please visit their website at https://arb.ca.gov/training. ARB is offering the following In-Use Off-Road Diesel, LSI and On-Road diesel vehicle and equipment courses thus far in 2017. There is no cost to attend these classes.

#504 In-Use Off-Road Diesel Vehicle Regulation:
  • April 4 - San Pedro (8:30am - 11:30am)
  •  April 5 - Anaheim (8:30am - 11:30am) CLASS FULL
  • April 20 - Webinar (9:00am - Noon)
  • April 26 - Anaheim (8:30am - 11:30am)
  • April 26 - West Sacramento (8:30am - 11:30am)
  • May 2 - Eureka (8:30am - 11:30am)
  • May 11 - Alhambra (8:30am - 11:30am)
  • May 12 - Riverside (8:30am - 11:30am) CLASS FULL
  • May 16 - West Sacramento (8:30am - 11:30am)
  • May 18 - Webinar (9:00am - Noon)
To register, go to https://ssl.arb.ca.gov/training/cources.php?course=504. Enter your first and last name as well as email address and click "Quick Enroll."

#505 Large Spark-Ignition Fleet Regulation:
  • April 4 - San Pedro (1:00pm - 2:30pm)
  • April 5 - Anaheim (1:00pm - 2:30pm) CLASS FULL
  • April 19 - Webinar (9:00am - 10:30am)
  • April 26 - Anaheim (1:00pm - 2:30pm)
  • April 26 - West Sacramento (1:00pm - 2:30pm)
  • May 2 - Eureka (1:00pm - 2:30pm)
  • May 11 - Alhambra (1:00pm - 2:30pm)
  • May 12 - Riverside (1:00pm - 2:30pm)
  • May 16 - West Sacramento (1:00pm - 2:30pm)
  • May 18 - Webinar (1:30pm - 3:00pm)
  • June 14 - Webinar (9:00am - 10:30am)
To register, go to https://ssl.arb.ca.gov/training/courses.php?course=505. Enter your first and last name as well as email address and click "Quick Enroll".

#521.8 CARB Diesel Truck Rules - Compliance Options and Reporting Requirements for 2018:
  • May 3 - Eureka (1:00pm - 2:30pm)
  • May 25 - Webinar (9:00am - 11:00am)
  • June 20 - Modesto (9:00am - 11:00am)
  • June 21 - Fresno (9:00am - 11:00am)
  • June 22 - Bakersfield (9:00am - 11:00am)
  • July 7 - Redding (9:00am - 11:00am)
  • July 19 - Webinar (9:00am - 11:00am)
To register, go to https://ssl.arb.ca.gov/training/courses.php?course=521.8. Enter your first and last name as well as email address and click "Quick Enroll".

#535 Diesel Regulatory Requirements for Freight Brokers, Forwarders, Shippers and Receivers:
  • July 7 - Redding (1:00pm - 2:30pm)
To register, go to https://ssl.arb.ca.gov/training/courses.php?course=535. Enter your first and last name as well as email address and click "Quick Enroll".

For information and to register for a class or event, please visit ARB's training calendar at https://ssl.arb.ca.gov/training/mscalendar.php. Click on the "class" you would like to attend. Click "Location/Class Details PDF" for the address and time of the class.

For up-to-date information about diesel vehicle regulation requirements, please visit www.arb.ca.gov/truckstop.

Please contact ARB if you are interested in hosting any of their courses by emailing ropfer@arb.ca.gov.


METU is BACK!

Is your infrastructure in need of a tune-up?


If you answered yes to the above question, then let us introduce you to the Municipal Energy Tune Up (METU) Program.

METU offers energy efficiency project assistance from “cradle to grave” to all central valley local governments.

  • Energy Benchmarking measures energy usage at each of your sites to identify opportunities for energy and money savings.
  • Readiness Reports to outline the steps needed to get the project done and information to get projects approved.
  • Advanced Project Assistance should your staff lack the time to manage the project to completion.

These services are made possible with funding from PG&E and completely free of charge to you. Don’t have the budget for energy efficiency projects? We can help with that too!







Connect with us today!
E: metu@sjvceo.org
T: (877) 748-0841

Check out our new website!
www.municipaltuneup.org

SJV Clean Transportation Center: Jan./Feb. Newsletter




Welcome to the January/February 2017 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 and help the region more quickly meet air quality targets.

PG&E Offers EV Drivers $500 Rebate, Begins Charging Infrastructure Program 

PG&E residential customers who drive an electric vehicle (EV) now are eligible to receive a $500 Clean Fuel Rebate. Those who currently own or lease an eligible EV and have an active PG&E residential electric account may apply for the rebate online. Unlike programs only for new EV drivers, this one-time rebate began in January 2017 and also is open to those who may have had an EV for several years.  

Guidelines and the online application can be found on PG&E's website. Applicants will need their PG&E account number and the vehicle's registration information. Except for portions of Tulare County, much of the Valley is in PG&E territory. PG&E's service area is detailed in this map and list of zip codes.

Funding for the Clean Fuel Rebate comes from a State of California program called the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). PG&E earns credits in the program when customers use electricity at home to charge their electric vehicles. PG&E returns the value of these credits to its electric vehicle customers through the Clean Fuel Rebate. 

PG&E also on December 15 received approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for $130 million to be spent during Phase 1 of the Charge Smart and Save program to fund EV infrastructure in its service territory. Up to 7,500 EV charging stations will be installed in workplaces, multi-unit dwellings and disadvantaged communities. The program will begin until later this year, and an interest list of potential sites is being established.

PG&E estimates that just 5,000 Level 2 chargers currently are in the 70,000-square-mile territory the utility serves, while roughly 100,000 will be needed in order to meet Govern Brown's goal of having 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles in California by 2025. California leads the nation in EV sales with more than 269,000 EVs sold statewide.

Go to PG&E's website for more information or to sign up for the interest list. In addition, a January 20 company news release has more information on PG&E's most recent proposal to the CPUC. In this next phase, PG&E would fund an additional $250 million to accelerate EV adoption. 



The Fresno Yosemite International Airport now has 14 Telefonix chargers in public parking areas in addition to six chargers for employees. Director of Aviation Kevin Meikle along with Fresno City Councilmembers Paul Caprioglio and Oliver L. Baines III (below, left to right) hold a check from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, which provided $30,000 to help fund six Level 2 public chargers through its Charge Up! program. Councilmember Baines also serves on the Air District Board. 


Fresno Yosemite International Airport Region's Largest EV Charging Site

With 20 electric vehicle (EV) chargers now installed, the Fresno Yosemite International Airport is the region's largest site for EV charging. At a ceremony December 16, eight Level 1 chargers in long-term parking and six Level 2 chargers in short-term parking were dedicated. Six additional chargers are in an employee parking area. All of the PowerPost EVSE chargers from Telefonix feature a colorful personalized wrap unique to their location.

"The majority of travelers are not from Fresno," said Director of Aviation Kevin Meikle. "We did not know how much they would be used, but right out of the gate we are seeing them being used on a daily basis." Charging is offered at no additional cost besides the regular parking fees.

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District's Charge Up! program provided $30,000 in funding for the Level 2 public chargers. The program funds up to $5,000 for single-port and $6,000 for dual-port chargers accessible by the public.

"We also put charging infrastructure in for the airlines," added Meikle. "So they have been steadily converting their diesel equipment, like the tugs and baggage carts, to electric. Collectively, the airlines are at about a 60 percent electric fleet."

For more information, read the airport's news release or view a video posted on their Facebook page. 



CALSTART Selected to Administer HVIP, ARB Approves $36 Million for FY 2016-17

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) on January 24 announced that CALSTART has been selected as the grantee to administer the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project and Low-NOx Engine Incentives (HVIP) for Fiscal Year 2016-17.

Offering point-of-sale incentives for clean trucks and buses in California, HVIP is intended to encourage and accelerate the deployment of new hybrid and zero-emission trucks and buses in California The Low-NOx Engine Incentives project is designed to cover the full incremental cost over a standard natural gas engine and includes both repowers as well new vehicles.

The program will be allocated a total of $36 million in incentive funding from ARB for FY 2016-17. This includes $23 million for Low-NOx Engine Incentives and $13 million for HVIP. For more information, go to the HVIP website or call 888-457-HVIP. 



The SJVCTC staff was able to test drive this Bolt at Three-Way Chevrolet in Bakersfield. The Bolt handles well on the freeway and in town, offering a great driving experience overall. Dario Hernandez is the new EV sales contact at Three-Way, which has been offering a $2,000 discount off MSRP on new Bolts. Dario, who used to work for Nissan and drives a Leaf, can be contacted at dhernandez@3waychev.com or (661)301-5514. Tracy Chevrolet is advertising a 36-month lease for $339 a month plus tax ($1,600 at signing). Call (209)229-4901 for information. Contact your local dealer for special offers and financing they may have available. 

Chevrolet Bolts Arrive at SJV Dealerships 

Chevrolet Bolts have arrived at dealerships throughout the San Joaquin Valley. With 238 miles of all-electric range and a starting MSRP of $36,620 before rebates and incentives, the small SUV has a growing list of accolades, including 2017 North American Car of the Year,  2017 Motor Trend Car of the Year and Green Car Reports Best Car to Buy 2017.

With the addition of PG&E's $500 Clean Fuel Rebate (see article above), Valley residents who purchase or lease a new EV now may qualify for up to $15,500 in rebates and incentives, depending on income and eligibility. Besides a $7,500 federal tax credit, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District's Drive Clean! offers a rebate of $3,000 and the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) provides $2,500 to $4,500* for all-electric vehicles (*higher rebate amount for low-income households). The Eastern Kern Air Pollution Control District has a new voucher program providing $5,000 for the purchase of a BEV and $3,000 for a PHEV. The program is for purchases only, and the voucher must be obtained before purchase at an approved dealership.

Most SJV Chevrolet dealers have Bolts for sale. Call your local dealership, go online to the Chevrolet website or contact the SJVCTC for more information. Google News recently featured an article on the Bolt and how it may compare to the Tesla 3.

*Consumers with a household income less than or equal to 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($72,900 for a family of four for 2016) are eligible for an added $2,000 rebate, bringing the total CVRP amount to $4,500. 



The San Joaquin Valley Electric Vehicle Partnership will host a Workplace Charging Workshop February 24 at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, which has Level 2 chargers from ChargePoint.  

Plan to Attend Workplace Charging Workshop February 24 in Bakersfield 

If your business or organization is interested in electric vehicles and EV charging, don't miss the Workplace Charging Workshop set for February 24 in Bakersfield. Hosted by the San Joaquin Valley Electric Vehicle Partnership (SJVEVP), the event takes place at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Presentations will include:
  • Introduction to Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations: San Joaquin Valley Clean Cities Coalition
  • EV Charging Equipment: EVgo, Telefonix, ChargePoint, Envision Solar, Fresno Yosemite International Airport
  • EV Incentives: PG&E, SCE, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD), Center for Sustainable Energy, EV Perks
  • Electric Vehicles: Nissan of Bakersfield, Jim Burke Ford, Proterra, GreenPower
  • Workplace Charging: SJVAPCD, Telefonix
The event also will feature an electric vehicle display in the parking lot. Registration for the workshop, which includes continental breakfast and hot lunch, is $40. (Paid members of the San Joaquin Valley Clean Cities Coalition receive a discount.) More information can be found on the Project Clean Air website, or go to Eventbrite to register
Director's Message
By Joseph Oldham

So far, 2017 is off to a great start here in the San Joaquin Valley. And with the wonderful rain and snow that we have been blessed with this winter, spring in the Valley promises to be amazing this year with an incredible blossom display on Valley farms and vibrant wildflowers in the mountains!

It is going to be an amazing year for clean transportation as well, as you will see in this edition of the CALSTART San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Newsletter! From Fresno Yosemite International Airport becoming the largest EV charging location in the San Joaquin Valley to what promises to be a great week at the Tulare World Ag Expo with a great display of the latest in natural gas truck technology at the Southern California Gas Company's (SoCal Gas) booth, the opportunities to learn about and then use cleaner vehicle technologies just continue to expand in the Valley. And with these technologies come the benefits of cleaner air for our families, friends and co-workers so that everyone can enjoy the natural beauty our region has to offer.

Among the great articles in this edition of the newsletter, please note the first article about the new PG&E $500 rebate for EV owners! This nice surprise came to our attention in January when PG&E announced they were providing $500 rebates for owners or lessees of EVs that charge their cars at home on their residential account. I was one of the first people to take advantage of this and was very pleased with how simple the application process was. I received my $500 check in less than the four-week time frame PG&E states on the application, and it was nice to get another rebate for my 2013 Chevy Volt even though the car has more than 95,000 miles on it!

Also, come and visit us at the 2017 World Ag Expo in Tulare next week, February 14-16. SoCal Gas has graciously allowed us to have some booth space with them at the show. The weather is forecast to be sunny with temperatures in the upper to mid-60s, which is nearly ideal to see the incredible displays of equipment and technology at the Ag Expo – and to enjoy the great food. Staff from the CALSTART San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center will be at the Expo all three days.

Besides talking about the new HVIP incentives for natural gas engines, we will be asking truck owners to take a short survey about if they have considered using natural gas and any barriers they have to using it in their trucks. The survey will be short, with only about 5-6 multiple choice questions, and should take less than five minutes to complete. Answers will be used to help us design programs working with our industry and government partners to overcome the barriers identified in the survey and make it easier for truck owners and fleet operators to use natural gas as a cleaner alternative to diesel fuel.

Finally, as we move into spring and start to enjoy the spectacular beauty of our region, let’s all remember that each of us can help keep our air clean through the decisions we make every day. Consider walking instead of driving, ride a bike to work or on errands, take transit once a week to work, or ride Amtrak on your next trip; all of these options help reduce traffic and air pollution associated with transportation. It is our Valley, and each of us working together can help keep our air clean!

“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
 

Look for Us at the 2017 World Ag Expo

The San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center will be at the World Ag Expo in Tulare on  February 14-16. Look for us at the Southern California Gas Company's booth. This is the 50th anniversary of the World Ag Expo, which is the world's largest annual agricultural exposition.

The Ag Expo is at the International Agri-Center, 4500 Laspina Street in Tulare. Come and talk to us about various grants and incentive programs that are available for alternative-fuel vehicles. 

 

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 (ARB) administers grant programs funded through various sources, including the Cap-and-Trade program. A complete list of the various funding programs is available on the
ARB 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. All Federal agencies use the
Grants.gov website for submitting and receiving grant applications. 
 

Quotes Worth Noting

"Based on all the information out there and the demand for electric buses in 2017 and beyond, it will be very difficult for the four major manufacturers (BYD, Proterra, New Flyer and GreenPower) to meet the demand. From a business perspective, it is the perfect place to be."

Brendan Riley, GreenPower Motor Company's newly appointed President, in a January 25, 2017, interview for the Cantech Letter

 


Copyright © 2017 by CALSTART, All rights reserved.

Contact Us
Joseph Oldham, Director
San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center
Address: 510 W. Kearney Blvd., Fresno, CA 93706
Phone: (559) 797-6034
Email: joldham@calstart.org
Website: www.sjvcleantransportation.org

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


SJV Regional Workshop: Overcoming Barriers to Local Adaptation

San Joaquin Valley Regional Workshop: Overcoming Barriers to Local Adaptation


Tuesday, January 10th, 1:00 - 5:00 PM 
Parc Grove Commons, Fresno, CA


Join us for an interactive, discussion-based workshop to discuss financial and organizational barriers that local governments in the San Joaquin Valley face in implementing community resilience projects, as well as strategies to overcome these barriers.


Participants will have a unique opportunity to share and learn about existing needs and opportunities available in the San Joaquin Valley to better address drought, air quality, water quality, extreme heat, and other related climate change issues. Participants will learn about practical opportunities to fund adaptation and how to move their organizations to higher levels of capacity to advance resiliency work in the region.

We encourage you to attend this workshop if you work in, with, or for local governments on adaptation research, planning, financing, funding, and/or implementation.




NRG eVgo Freedom Stations in the SJV

Electric Vehicles (EVs) and EV charging sites are gaining some real traction and prominence in the San Joaquin Valley. Hooray! This means, now that charging infrastructure development has taken off, it is making more and more sense to own an EV in this part of California.

Photo Source: www.insideevs.com
We owe a big thanks to NRG eVgo for three of the SJV’s stations and this number will grow exponentially this year. These stations are at the Fresh and Easy in Hayward, the Applegate Plaza in Atwater and Fashion Fair Mall in Fresno. The Fashion Fair station is the newest and there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the coming weeks.

NRG eVgo is dedicated to minimizing any possible downsides to driving and owning an electric car; the company has set out to make the experience as simple as driving a gas-powered vehicle. Range is one of the things electric car owners and prospective owners worry about most and NRG eVgo wants to eliminate any range anxiety with its ever-growing network of “Freedom Stations”.

NRG eVgo has begun development of its charging station network in the states of California and Texas as well as the Cities of Atlanta, Nashville, Chicago, and Washington D.C. For Earth Day, NRG eVgo helped host an EV caravan in Atlanta to promote the Freedom Stations around the city. Included in this event were demonstrations on how to charge a variety of electric vehicles.

Photo Source: www.businesswire.com
If you’d like to charge at home, NRG eVgo has a home car charging dock as well. You can get information on the best charger for your home and vehicle or even suggest a multi-family home or workplace that should be approached and considered for an EV Charging Station install.


The NRG eVgo network of Freedom Stations is quickly growing! This infrastructure development and the incentives offered from the federal government, the CA Air Pollution Control District, etc. should be reason enough to consider purchasing an EV!

NRG eVgo isn't the only company expanding the SJV's EV Charging Station Network. Residences and businesses all over the Valley are seeing the importance and advantage of installing EV chargers. If you own an EV or are considering purchasing one, but are deterred by potential range anxiety, look at the Plug Share app. The map features residential chargers, high powered chargers (i.e. Tesla Superchargers), and public business or municipal stations. The app will even warn you when a particular charger is in use. Range Anxiety no more!



Tesla Motors Comes to the San Joaquin Valley

A Tesla – either model, I’m not picky – is my dream car. I could go 200+ miles on a full charge, and make it across the country using the Supercharge stations that have been strategically placed along a Northern route, with more concentrated near big cities.

Unfortunately, I don’t now, and probably never will, have the means to support or validate a purchase with such a hefty price tag. In the San Joaquin Valley the roads boast a fairly good number of Chevy Volts and Nissan Leafs, but only a handful of Teslas. Teslas are far too expensive for most of those in the Valley and Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, has not shown much interest in the more underserved areas of America. The San Joaquin Valley, for example, is massive. Yet there is only one Tesla Supercharge Station at Tejon Ranch in Lebec and one at Harris Ranch near Coalinga; most stations in California are along the coast. Just check out the map below that displays the Supercharge Station Network; it skips over the much of the country I would have expected:

Photo Source: http://www.teslamotors.com/supercharger

Additionally, this charging technology is not very adaptable to other Electric Vehicle (EV) models and there doesn’t seem to be a movement to alter this any time soon. The technical issues that prohibit this should be easily fixable. Connectors for electric vehicle charging should be the same across all electric vehicles just as they are for gas cars. It would be absurd if we had one gas station specifically for Toyotas, one for Hondas, one for BMWs, etc. So why is this any different for electric cars? Yes, Tesla batteries are far bigger than those in other electric vehicles, which is necessary for the 200 mile range. Gas stations have various options for customers, and so Supercharge Stations should, too.

It's so pretty! I'll take one in every color.
Photo Source: http://www.teslamotors.com/modelx
There is a little light at the end of this tunnel, though. Not only will Tesla Motors be expanding the Supercharge Station Network and has agreed to consider letting other brands of electric cars use their network, but Tesla is also opening a manufacturing facility in the San Joaquin Valley! This new facility in Lathrop will initially require approximately 125 employees, which will surely bring necessary economic and workforce development into the Valley. Tesla Motors may just be the next Alternative Vehicle employer our Regional Industry Clusters of Opportunity (RICO) grant Action Team needs to involve in our EV Partnership!

In addition, supercharge stations will be open and able to charge vehicles other than Teslas. Good news all around!

As Tesla Motors moves to the Valley, the company plans to expand its production and sell 35,000 vehicles this year alone. Hopefully this growth promotes and increases manufacturing jobs in the US. And who knows? Maybe it will even lower that initial price tag a bit. There are rumors about it; so I know I’m not the only one selfishly hoping to see this new EV soon!


Meeting to focus on generating jobs in energy, manufacturing & logistics

Jobs are a big deal in California's economically hard-hit San Joaquin Valley.

To one group in particular, getting people to work serves as a call to arms. The Regional Jobs Initiative, or RJI, is a public-private partnership begun in 2004 to build an economy better able to weather natural downturns and take advantage of opportunity and expansion.

The RJI has a dozen teams, or "clusters," that focus on various aspects of industry. One of the most exciting -- at least from our perspective at the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization -- is the cluster involved in analyzing and improving the region's manufacturing, logistics and energy prospects.

That group meets from 2 to 5 p.m. June 11 at San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, 1990 E. Gettysburg Ave. in Fresno to dicuss the latest development plans and opportunities.
Mike Dozier from the Office of Community and Economic Development at California State University, Fresno will launch the meeting, while Doug Svensson, Trish Kelly and Kathie Studwell from consultant Applied Development Economics and others provide details of their latest findings, research and opportunities.

Carole Goldsmith, vice chancellor of educational services and workforce development at West Hills Community College District, will provide the latest details from the Central California Community Colleges Committed to Change, or C6, project. The goal of the C6 effort is to build an industry-supported common curriculum among the Valley's community colleges that prepares students for immediate hire.

There will be break-out meetings that address opportunities for growth, trends, issues and other regional and local initiatives. Another topic addresses key gaps in work force, infrastructure, financing, innovation and regulatory issues.

Group discussion will seek to identify the top two or three priorities for cluster initiatives and determine what will it take to realize the opportunities.

Also on the agenda are next steps for the San Joaquin Valley Cluster Action Plan and its implementation. Participation is welcome.

Dozier's group and partners are convening a series of meetings throughout the Valley with stakeholders, including employers and partners, to identify key competitiveness issues and opportunities for innovation and growth, and develop strategic action recommendations to “capture the value chain” for the region’s key clusters.

Meetings will address the health and wellness, energy, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and water technology clusters. The Valley-wide Economic Summit in March 2012 developed recommendations for the Food and Agriculture Value Chain, including food production, processing, support and distribution.

An action plan and implementation strategy is scheduled to be completed by July 2012. Project contacts are Dozier at mdozier@csufresno.edu or Kelly at tkelly@adeusa.com.

Clean energy champion heads to Sacramento

Sanford Nax Esq.
Sandy Nax has left the building.

After more than two years championing the cause of clean and alternative energy at the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization, the veteran journalist and all-around nice guy has taken his talents to California's capital city where he'll be writing about everything real estate for the Sacramento Business Journal.

Sandy has a way with words, producing hundreds of posts on everything from the corporate clean energy buy-in to cow power and anything and everything solar. In fact, one of his last posts, Solar energy advances at rocket speed, is all about the advances of sun-produced energy and politicians missing the memo.

He spent the bulk of his 30-plus year career at the Fresno Bee, a senior reporter known and respected all over the Valley. When it looked as if the newspaper industry was heading for the trash bin of history at record speed, Sandy opted to diversify. He saw promise in the clean energy industry.

While it turns out the demise of the printed daily news story may be somewhat premature, Sandy was right about clean energy. It continues plugging along, winning friends and influencing people. As for newspapers, Warren Buffett seems to think they have a future. The world's third-richest man recently purchased 63 papers from Media General Inc. He's banking on mid-sized papers and a public that believes in quality content that won't be given away.

Let's hope so. Sacramento won a great reporter. Sandy says of the place after his first day: "Great group of people and lots of resources."

Here at the SJVCEO, Sandy mastered social media, building up the @SJVCEO Twitter feed to more than 1,000 followers. He buffed up the organization's facebook site to about 450 friends and its fan page to 169 likes. He also secured a sizable Tumblr following and wrote hundreds of blog posts.

The blog site has generated more than 77,000 page views and has had record visits most every month this year. Of course, for a couple of guys who worked at a newspaper that had more than 166,000 daily subscribers, that still sounds like peanuts.

But in Sandy's case, he was starting from scratch. "SJVCEO who?" people would say. Heck they still say it. But we've had some influence. And Sandy has worked on clean energy projects, helping about 40 cities and counties install energy efficiency retrofits that will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual utility bill savings.

Sandy championed the concept of Solar Valley. The idea is that the region has sun, land, wind, biogas, biofuel, innovators and people who are not afraid of hard work. In other words, all the elements of a clean energy nexus. Solar Valley could be the next Silicon Valley, Sandy would say. Or something like that.

We would talk back and forth about the why not? Clean air is a good thing. Clean energy can generate thousands of jobs and much needed tax revenue. What's not to like? We all want to see the Sierra again and lose the asthma and pollution-violation days.

Sandy you will be missed.

Cows soak up solar power as farmers embrace renewables

The 250-mile  San Joaquin Valley is the nation's salad bowl.

Farmers in the eight counties from Lodi to the Grapevine produced almost $26 billion worth of food and fiber in 2010. Agriculture is big business - and consumes gobs of power.

Which is why farmers here are embracing renewable energy to help power their enterprises. Solar is the energy of choice, which makes sense in a region with my-shoes-are-melting-into-the-pavement summer temperatures. Solar arrays are being installed on rooftops, carports and other places throughout the Valley.

This dairy was the first in Kings County to get solar, but more dairies and feedlots will likely install alternative energy. This item notes that a Coachella company installed solar energy at a feedlot to provide energy and shade.

The San Joaquin Valley has about 1.8 million cows and 1,700 dairy farms, according to Neil Black, president of California Bioenergy who spoke at a recent California Public Utilities Commission meeting in Fresno, (Here's our blog post from the meeting), so maybe we'll see more cows mixing with solar projects.

The Valley's vast expanses of land are attractive to developers of larger-scale solar projects as well, so planning officials in the region are formulating land-use policies to avoid conflicts with prime farm land. Those projects garner the big headlines, but individual growers and farming operations, such as those mentioned above and Fowler Packing  (with its new 8,256 solar panels), are really helping harvest the sun.

Fowler Packing plans to use solar energy to help power its packing and cold storage facilities. It won't be the last San Joaquin Valley - or should we say, "Solar Valley" - farming enterprise to reach for the sun.

Climate change: Water woes haunt Californians

California would sidestep most of the effects of climate change.

The state already is hot and dry, and its coastal areas, with some exceptions, are blessed with some elevation, enabling them to avoid disaster should the seas rise significantly. But one region, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, faces distinct peril, says climate risk analyst Richard Snyder.

"You'll have a problem," says Snyder who spoke at the 2012 International Green Industry Hall of Fame event in Fresno. "Water and climate change are big issues, especially in California."

The Delta is a complex network of levees and channels and the source of water for two of three people in the state. Fresh water from the Sierra Mountains is sent by way of a massive aqueduct and a sophisticated and energy-intensive network of pumps down through the San Joaquin Valley and up over the Grapevine pass to Los Angeles.

When the levee breaks

Should that aging network of levees fail, disaster would strike. Years of farming the roughly half million acres caused large swaths of the peat-rich soil to drop, so that now much if it is below sea level. Some more than 20 feet below. Salt water intrusion would poison the Delta fresh water source, causing extreme economic cost on a scale hard to imagine.

Snyder, a professor at University of California Davis, says Sacramento, the state's capital, would definitely have a problem. Some parts of the city are no more than 20 feet above sea level.

Drought is another probability of climate change. And California would suffer greatly in an extended dry spell, Snyder says. "If you have a 100-year drought, there's no hope," he says.

A decade-long drought would be more manageable. But still no walk in the park. "The secret is to be prepared," Snyder says.

Politics presents a problem

However, politics, and especially the politics of water, is turbulent in California. Always has been. Agriculture would be the first casualty of a water shortage, pummeling the San Joaquin Valley economy.

Heidi Cullen, a senior research scientist with nonprofit Climate Central, spells out the Delta's woes in her book "The Weather of the Future." "The Delta has far more in common with New Orleans that with Hollywood," she writes. "The odds are roughly two in three that during the next fifty years either a large flood or a seismic event will affect the Delta."

Even without such disasters, rising sea level will bring more salt into the Delta and increase the cost of water, Cullen says.

The situation doesn't look good. And attempting a political fix in California is described as a nightmare.

An urgent fix is needed

James Hansen, climate scientist and director of NASA's Goddard Center, says delay shouldn't be an option. He co-wrote a new report, "Scientific Case for Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change to Protect Young People and Nature," which says humanity is the dominant force driving atmospheric composition and the climate.

"We must transition rapidly to a post-fossil fuel world of clean energies," the report says. But that can't be done without public and government support, the report says. But that "requires widespread recognition that a prompt orderly transition to the post fossil fuel world" is the best choice for avoiding disasters like the one that faces the Delta.

A solution may be tough to find. A line in 1974 film noir "Chinatown," which uses California water politics as its central theme, explains the importance: "Either you bring the water to L.A. or you bring L.A. to the water."

But the difficulties surrounding water, climate change and the potentially tumultuous mix indicate a bleaker outlook, something like that faced by Jack Nicholson's character Jake Gittes in the movie: "Forget it Jake. It's Chinatown."

And let's hope the Delta can avoid the destruction wrought by the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 that destroyed homes and the agricultural economy of the Mississippi Basin.

That flood was chronicled by blues duo Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie, but I know the Led Zep version with John Bonham's drums a whole lot better.

Photo: Sacramento's Yellow Bridge.

Central California is becoming Solar Central


Summer is coming, and that means the Valley's famous triple-digit temperatures aren't far away. Utility bills will surge and Facebook status reports will be akin to: "Holy cow, I got my power bill today!" That's the G rated version anyway.

Solar really makes sense in Central California, where nature's most abundant resource blazes away up to 300 days per year. These solar projects have made news in recent days:  This appeared on The Fresno Bee web site. The police station is just a few miles from my house, and will be the largest public solar project in Clovis. That follows on the heels of this announcement of a packinghouse in Fowler adding 12 acres of solar panels and this one  of the massive 550-megawatt Topaz project breaking ground in San Luis Obispo County just west of us in Fresno.

But those aren't all. Analysts count about 70 proposals before county planners from Merced to Kern counties, with about 30 in Fresno County. Just the Fresno County proposals total about 10,600 acres.Those don't include smaller rooftop, municipal or some farming projects.

It remains to be seen how many are approved or become operational, but there is not denying Central California is a hot spot for solar power.

Photo: California Energy Commission photo of solar plant near Kerman in Fresno County

Green businesses gain fame at Fresno event


Nine individuals or organizations with ties to the San Joaquin Valley are semifinalists for induction into the International Green Industry Hall of Fame during a ceremony and conference to be held May 10-11 at Fresno State University. Here's more in a press release from the university.

The VIP dinner will take place Thursday, May 10th from 5-9pm. Featuring live music by Tony Oliveira, wine pairing by Lange Twins Winery, gourmet Mediterranean dinner and dessert, special guest Alan Tratner, keynote speaker Shahram Javey, and a raffle/auction. Tickets available online through May 2nd – limited seating available, expected to sell out quickly!

The $75 Green Package ticket includes the Thursday, May 10th walking tour at CSU Fresno and the Friday, May 11th Ceremony and Conference;
o Walking tour 1-4pm, includes WET incubator, organic farm field and farm market, solar parking, and library. Tour begins and ends in front of the Satellite Student Union Center.
o Friday schedule:
 9:00AM–11:00AM: Registration/ Exhibitors open/ Continental Breakfast – Courtyard;
 11:00AM–1:00PM: Induction Ceremony  – Student Satellite Center;
 1:00PM–2:00PM: Mediterranean Style Lunch – Courtyard;
 1:00PM–3:00PM: Video Interviews with Inductees;
 2:00PM–5:00PM: Plenary Sessions – University Business Center




The Hall of Fame induction is the highlight of the conference. Eighteen semifinalists have been named, including these that have connections to the Valley. They are:

Electronic Recyclers International, a Fresno-based firm that is the nation's largest electronic waste recyclers http://electronicrecyclers.com/

Glen Roberts of the U.S. Department of Commerce in Fresno and Bakersfield, who provides export business consulting in the clean energy field  http://www.commerce.gov/

GRID Alternatives, an Oakland nonprofit that installs solar panels on low-income households throughout California. The Fresno office has installed solar power systems on more than 300 homes in the Valley, all owned by low-income families http://www.gridalternatives.org/mission-history

Kaiser Permanente Modesto, a health-maintenance organization that works to find environmentally friendly products, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and inform public policy to protect the health and safety of employees and members. Kaiser strives to build greener facilities, strives to purchases non-toxic materials and supports sustainable agriculture. https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/html/kaiser/index.shtml

Real Goods Solar, which promotes adoption of renewable energy to reduce the human ecological footprint and has an office in Fresno http://realgoodssolar.com/

REC Solar, a San Luis Obispo-based company with an office in Fresno that specializes in grid-tied solar electric design and installation for commercial and residential customers http://www.recsolar.com/

Taylor Teter, a Fresno architecture firm that incorporates sustainability into its designs http://www.taylorteter.com/

University of California Merced, where six buildings are LEED certified and students and faculty are leaders in solar-energy research http://www.ucmerced.edu/

U.S. Green Building Council, which has a goal of making green buildings available to everyone within a generation. http://www.usgbc.org/

                                            The remaining semifinalists are:

Alan Tratner, international director of FD3′s Green2Gold in Santa Barbara and president of the Inventors Workshop International and Entrepreneurs Workshop, director of the Small Business Entrepreneurship Center in California and former publisher of Lightbulb Journal and INVENT!. http://www.green2gold.org/

Aquacue, a San Jose-based firm whose customers set a baseline, reduce waste and engage the community to reduce water bills and advance sustainability. http://aquacue.com/

Climate Ride, a nonprofit based in Missoula, Mont. that organizes charitable bike rides to support sustainable solutions, bike advocacy and environmental causes http://www.climateride.org/

Coto Consulting, based in Orange County, provides environmental consulting services to private and public-sector clients http://www.coto-consulting.com/

Ed Begley Jr.,an actor and environmental leader who is chair of the Environmental Media Association and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy http://www.edbegley.com/

Green Apple Horse Network, based in Marin County, helps the horse industry go green, and manages a directory of green products and services http://greenapplehorse.com/

H2 Purepower of Chandler, Ariz., which makes hydrogen generators for gasoline and diesel powered engines http://www.h2purepower.com/

Monterey Institute of International Studies, which has a student body from all over the world that is committed to environmental issues http://www.miis.edu/?page=1

Sunrun, a San Francisco-based company sthat offers solar leasing and power purchase agreements.
http://www.sunrunhome.com/







San Joaquin finds savings in energy efficiency

The City of San Joaquin has brightened up its buildings and streets while saving money through a reduction in energy consumption.

A total of 35 brand new light emitting diode (LED) street lights have been installed, casting a brighter glow than the old high-pressure sodium bulbs they replaced.

Other related projects include programmable thermostats and occupancy sensors; together with the new street lights, the City can expect to reduce their energy consumption by 14,910 kilowatt hours producing an estimated savings of $1,790 per year.

Mayor Amarpreet Dhaliwal says this project is a big deal for the City as it isn’t costing the City a dime and it is leading the way in efforts to reduce energy consumption which is keeping with the goals of the City’s Local Government Partnership, a joint project with PG&E, whose purpose is to educate residents and businesses on energy conservation in order to generate reductions in energy consumption.

The money that makes the project possible comes from an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The program is administered through the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission.

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

Firebaugh finds green beyond its verdant fields

The City of Firebaugh is now home to a total of 81 brand new light emitting diode, or LED, street lights, and they’re casting a brighter glow on City streets than the old high-pressure sodium bulbs they replaced.

The new lights are also significantly more energy efficient, saving the City much needed cash on its utility bills.

What this means to the average taxpayer is significant savings to City coffers through lower utility bills. The energy efficiency retrofits when complete will save the City about 26,516 kilowatt hours of energy per year. This roughly equates to a savings of about $3,372 a year.

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

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

The project is one of several the City is pursuing to improve its future. The west-side Fresno County community of 7,000 hasn't let size get in its way of its ambitions, attracting solar and biofuel interests and pursuing sustainability.

Firebaugh's long-term strategy is to lower its greenhouse gas footprint and improve its quality of life. The City is working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through its Sustainable Communities Initiative. The goal of the program is to provide equitable development, planning and development approaches for achieving shared prosperity.

The City also launched an effort to better connect with the free-flowing San Joaquin River. The community began as a ferry crossing when most traffic into the Valley traveled via a much more robust waterway.

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

The City worked with Pacific Gas and Electric Co., which installed the lights through its LED street light retrofit program.

Riverbank develops energy efficiency, can jobs be far behind?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

California farmers harvesting the sun and wind






The sun is nature's most abundant resource, especially in the world's salad bowl - the San Joaquin Valley. The sun shines up to 300 days per year here, and summer temperatures can reach I-can-feel-my-hair-catching-fire levels.

Utility bills soar in the summer when energy use is high. So much, in fact, that an acquaintance once wrote in despair on his Facebook page, "Are power bills supposed to have commas in them?"

Agriculture is the leading industry and a major employer here, and farmers have an up close and personal relationship with energy. By some estimates, the food system in the United States consumes around 16% of the nation's energy.

"from the manufacture and application of agricultural inputs, such as fertilizers and irrigation, through crop and livestock production, processing, and packaging; distribution services, such as shipping and cold storage; the running of refrigeration, preparation, and disposal equipment in food retailing and foodservice establishments; and in home kitchens," notes a March 2010 study by the federal Economic Research Service entitled, "Energy Use in the U.S. Food System."

So, cutting energy bills makes sense for farmers, who also can reduce their sometimes heavy carbon footprints. Which explains why agricultural operations in the San Joaquin Valley are embracing renewable energy, most commonly solar power.

Onion grower/processor Varsity Produce of Bakersfield is among the latest. Part of the energy for its packing and cold storage operation comes from the sun. “After looking at solar for several years, we finally saw numbers that made a lot of economic sense and we can now feel really good about decreasing our carbon footprint," Operations Manager Brent Rhodes said in this news release that appeared in greentechmedia.

Varsity Produce is hardly alone in its pursuit of alternative energy. Cenergy, the solar provider For Varsity, has installed several solar arrays in agricultural operations throughout the Valley and state. Here is more.

And Cenergy isn't alone in the crowded agricultural solar market. REC Solar, SolFocus and others are staking out positions. Ryan Park, Director of Business Development at REC Solar, says in this blog post that farming operations are more than a niche for his company. Sierra2theSea gives a nice overview in this post.

The federal government is adding fuel with its Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP. Since President Obama took office three years ago, the USDA REAP program has aided 74 projects totaling 15.3 million kilowatts in California, most of them distributed generation developments that produce or save power on site, according to this just-released report.

The California projects included 61 solar arrays, four wind turbine developments and three energy-efficiency upgrades. Lyall Enterprises of the San Diego area and Roberti Ranch north of Lake Tahoe, for example, used REAP loan guarantees and grants to install solar-energy systems to power their irrigation pumps.

Most of the agriculture operations use small on-site operations, but solar developers in California, which has an ambitious 33 percent renewables goal by 2020, are applying for large utility-scale solar operations in the San Joaquin Valley, the high deserts of Kern County and the desert regions of Southern California.

The proposals have sparked opposition from agriculture groups who fear losing prime farm land and environmentalists who worry about disrupting habitat. Thus, individual counties, such as Fresno, are developing solar policies. Here is what Fresno County Supervisors designed, according to The Fresno Bee.

It appears farmers are harvesting much more than just crops.

Chowchilla installs new ‘green’ street lights

The City of Chowchilla has shined a new light on its streets.

A total of 159 brand new light emitting diode, or LED, street lights have been installed, casting a brighter glow on City streets than the old high-pressure sodium bulbs they replaced. The new lights are also significantly more energy efficient, saving the City much needed cash on its utility bills.

“The City is happy that we’re saving money by being more efficient and green,” says City Administrator Mark Lewis. “This grant offered us the opportunity to provide better lighting for our residents and save money at the same time, all at no cost to the City.”

What this means to the average taxpayer is significant savings to City coffers through lower utility bills. The energy efficiency retrofits when complete will save the City about 108,258 kilowatt hours of energy per year. This roughly equates to a savings of about $8,171 a year.

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

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

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

The City worked with Pacific Gas and Electric Co., which installed the lights through its LED street light retrofit program.

Kings County goes green to cut costs

Kings County has launched several projects that will save energy and money.

County crews have installed more than 2,800 lights and 300 ballasts, casting a brighter glow on office workers. The new lights are also significantly more energy efficient, saving the County much needed cash on its utility bills.

Another projects included installing hundreds of occupancy sensors that automatically shut off lights in rooms when there is no activity. The County also has hired a contractor to replace 21 existing HVAC units on County-owned buildings with modern and efficient units.

“I wasn’t sure we could utilize just the grant monies to complete the lighting and HVAC upgrades, but we decided to try to do as much as time and grant monies would allow,” said Gerry Showers, Kings County Building Maintenance Superintendent. “I have exceptional staff members in my maintenance department, and they once again proved it by completing the lighting installation of 2800+ tubes and 300 ballasts in house.

“We also went out for competitive bids on replacing 21 HVAC units and the installation of approximately 300 light sensors. We have utilized all the grant monies and did not have to match any funds, and the projects finished on time and under budget. I want to thank the grant administrator and staff for their work with us on the EECBG and the opportunity for us to save our tax payers money by us utilizing the grant monies.”

What this means to the average taxpayer is significant savings to County coffers through lower utility bills. The energy efficiency retrofits when complete will save the County about 235,747 kilowatt hours of energy per year. This roughly equates to a savings of about $28,290 a year.

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

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

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