Southern California Edison

What has SJVCEO been up to?

Hello and happy new years to all of our loyal blog readers! We hope you have had a wonderful holiday and a safe new years.

We apologize for the long delay in posting an organizational update. SJVCEO has been busier than ever and not complaining. Since our last post in March our team has been working non-stop on energy projects, state utility outreach as well as policy work. So lets dig in!

The VIEW Partnership is very excited to say we have our FIRST partner city, City of Visalia, who has reached platinum within the Southern California Edison Energy Leader Partnership. We will be awarding the certificate to the city at our upcoming annual awards luncheon this week. To reach platinum level the city has saved over 2,114,358 kWh which equates to about $613,163 saved in energy costs. That money saved has gone back into the cities general funds and put to good use for the residents of the city.

Image result for HPS lights vs LEDMany of our VIEW partners have looked into and or signed up for the Southern California Edison streetlight retrofit program. In total we have eight cities who are in the que for what is being called the LS1 option E program within the utility. Through this program partners upgrade all Edison owned streetlights to LED and the cost of the upgrade will show as a line item on their bill for up to 20 years. Many of the partners will not see any change to their electricity bills as much of the energy savings will pay for the monthly cost. We are very excited to see how the large scale upgrade in the valley will turnout when complete within the next year.



Much of the partnerships summer and fall was dedicated to community outreach and informational meetings relating to AB2672. During all outreach the partnership provided free flu shots to residents, energy saving information as well as a time to speak with the CPUC commissioners in charge of deciding the direction of the state assembly bill. The partnership will continue to work with the state in outreach in regards to AB2672 and holding its annual energy awareness month events.

Our HDR Partnership has been very busy at work as well. Many partners are moving forward with lighting upgrades as well as the same street lighting program as the VIEW partners, LS1 option E. Our partners did throw a curve ball at Edison when asking if the LED lighting can with stand Mojave desert like conditions. Edison went to their researchers to make sure the equipment being used would hold to those conditions. We are happy to say that the LED technology passes the test but will have a shorter useful life than if it were in more temperate conditions. We are excited to for the upgrades as this change in lighting will help with maintenance and operation of street lighting for partners.

METU is off to a great start for the 2018 program year! Our team was able to close out 2017 with an insulation project in the City of Avenal. This project is projected to save the city more than 1/3 of its current energy costs for one of its largest public facilities and significant source of energy usage for the city. Savings verification reporting for the City of Avenal is planned for the 1st quarter of 2018.

Lighting audits were completed in partnership with PG&E at the end of 2017 for three large publicly-owned facilities in the City of Madera. These projects are anticipated to get underway in the first quarter of 2018.

The City of Arvin has experienced recent personnel changes. However, METU was able to get the new representative up to speed on recent progress and not allow the City of Arvin to lose any of its momentum for continuing energy savings projects. Following a coordination meeting with PG&E and the Kern County Energy watch, METU will assist the city of Arvin with additional lighting projects, HVAC replacement support, as well as assist with the tools to facilitate community outreach to promote PG&E programs.

Last but not least, METU has also been busy with benchmarking efforts for the cities of Sanger and Selma. Municipal Readiness Reports detailing project pipelines will be distributed soon!

This past year has been an adventure for the team, but we are very excited and thankful to continue to do the work that we are allowed to do on behalf of our partners.

Stay tuned for our next update!

What Has SJVCEO Been up to in November

We hope everyone had a wonderful and restful Thanksgiving holiday. Here at SJVCEO we were able to take a few days away from work to enjoy family and friends. Now that we are back to work we are wrapping up items for 2016 as well as beginning the planning process for 2017. 

The VIEW Partnership has wrapped up its last monthly meeting of the year. All of our partners have worked very hard to reach our energy saving goals for the year. The partnership is happy to say that two of our partners, the City of Hanford and Kings County, will be participating in Southern California Edison's Charge Ready Program. This program allows municipalities to partner with them on the instillation of electric vehicle stations on their property. Edison will install and maintain the supporting electrical infrastructure, the cost of which will be covered by the program, and the municipalities will own, operate and maintain qualified charging stations. The projects are just now going through proper channels for approval. The partnership hopes to document the progress of the projects and share that with the public once it completed. 
The partnership has been working  very closely with the City of Avenal over the last month. Our team previously benchmarked the city and has now identified 2-3 key sites that they will focus efforts on.  Staples Energy, who works with the partnership on direct install, is in the process of coordinating a site visit to assess for energy efficiency measures. Hopefully next month we have exciting news that projects are underway.

As for our HDR Partnership we have wrapped up another successful year. SJVCEO and all of the HDR partners are hard at work getting project pipelines together for 2017. A few of the partners are even looking into converting older high pressure sodium streetlights into either LED or a more efficient lighting system. We hope to get our hands on the savings numbers to show how much converting streetlights can save for municipalities. 

Our Municipal Energy Tune-Up program has been hard at work for the Month of November.  Project staff continue to work with the City of Taft as well as actively reaching out to Wasco, Shafter, and McFarland for participation.  Additionally, we are working with the Fresno EDC to outreach to cities in Fresno County. Our staff is continuing to benchmark for the County of Kern and has also earmarked additional sites so that they will be ready to go once additional project funding has been allotted.  The county is planning to make very aggressive efforts for projects over the next 12 months.



That's All For This Month!



Kracking Down on Energy Usage!

The VIEW Partnership is proud to be partnering with our utility partners to bring energy savings to small and medium sized businesses in our jurisdictions. Below you will find a flyer for our upcoming meeting in Tulare. This meeting will touch upon energy efficiency and how our energy challenge, Kill-A-Watt Krackdown, can benefit your business!




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


I got the power--no you got the power!

Alright, it's no secret around the SJVCEO offices that I love me some Carl and Eddy. I always insist on Carl and Eddy posters for our community events, I've included C&E in a quarterly report to my board, and I may have tweeted about these guys once or twice.


Really--I think they're great! What, you don't believe me?  How about now?


What if I told you I make the rest of team SJVCEO live over in Carl? (what can I say, I like my space)



Carl and Eddy were a stroke of genius; somewhere, someone very smart said, "I bet people would listen more if the message came from talking houses."  Well, perhaps it wasn't quite like that, but Carl and Eddy get the job done.  Market research on these two showed that their fans had an 85% recall rate on the information in the videos.  They're so effective that SCE received a Buildy Award for "Customer-Focused Innovation" for the series.  It turns out that I'm not the only one who's fallen hard for these two talking houses.

So, what is my favorite rap session with these guys?  Oh, I'm partial to "I got the power"


Of course, that shows a bit of nostalgia on my part because "I got the power" was my first Carl and Eddy video way back in 2010.  At the time I thought, "well guys, that's nice, but you're still living south of the Grapevine. Call me when you get to the Valley".  Good news: they're here!

Better yet, Southern California Edison (SCE) is here and they're bringing SmartConnect to the Valley.

I learned this when a news release from SCE crossed my desk last week announcing that SmartConnnect is coming to the San Joaquin Valley.  Here are the highlights, just in case you don't want to click through:

In a statement, Ken Devore, director of SCE's Edison SmartConnect program said, "Smart meters will empower our customers to become better managers of their electricity usage through new tools, programs and services that will help them save energy and money, and help protect the environment." Whoa, whoa, whoa--hold the phone, Mr. Devore!  Customers managing their electricity? That is what we at the SJVCEO love to hear!  In fact, we live and breath by the adage, "you can't manage what you can't measure."  Intelligent metering, by design, will allow the average homeowner to acurately, and in real time see the measure of their energy use and with that information make informed choices about how they want to use their energy. Whether by savings for that extra day of AC when it hits 106 degrees, or deploying no-cost conservation tricks around the house to make sure the energy bill stays within budget.  Smart metering allows all of us to make smart choices, and it puts the power in our hands.  

My good friend Eddy says he's got the power, but I hate to break to you Eddy--with SmartConnect, we all have the power!  



FLEX ALERT for August 14, 2012


FLEX ALERT! The California Independent SystemOperator—or as I like to think of them, the magic elves that ensure our electric grid keeps running—has issued a Flex Alert for today, August 14th.  

In a Flex Alert we are asked to conserve power to make sure that there is enough to keep the AC on (screw the lights, all I care about in 109 is the AC!).  And, from someone who was without power from 5pm-1am on Friday I can say it’s not what you want to experience! So, what can you do at the office and at home?

Well, thanks to our friends at Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric Company we have plenty of no cost ways to conserve: 

NO-COST WAYS TO SAVE ENERGY AT WORK from SCE Energy Tips for Home and Office, R-647-V1-0910

Office Equipment

  • Turn off your screen savers. There is a common misconception that screen savers reduce a monitors energy use; they do not. Today’s screen savers actually waste power by keeping your computer active.
  • Configure your computer’s sleep mode to turn off your monitor after 10 minutes and your hard disks after 20 minutes.
  • Insure that coffee pots, radios or other equipment have been switched off when not in use.
  • At the end of the work day, turn off all equipment every night — especially monitors and printers. Monitors usually consume twice the electricity as CPUs.

Office Lighting

  • Turn off lights at your workstation and utilize the natural light coming from your office or building windows.
  • Use only the lights you need. Switch off lighting that is unnecessary.
  • Always turn off lights in unoccupied rooms or areas that are not used as frequently during work hours, such as conference rooms or break rooms.
  • Many areas may be overlit. Use multi-switching to turn off a portion of the lights, if possible.

Office Miscellaneous

  • Wear layered clothing so you can adjust to temperatures and stay comfortable.
  • Print two-sided whenever possible.

NO-COST WAYS TO SAVE ENERGY AT HOME

  • Set thermostat at 78 or turn off, if away
  • Cool with fans & draw drapes
  • Turn off unnecessary lights and appliances
  • Use major appliances in morning or late evening
 Thank you for doing your part to conserve energy!  

Solar could unlock path to clean energy; the sooner the better

The man with gnarled hands was a legend in Skagit County.

Many in the Washington state farming region said he could find water in a desert. The man's name eludes me and I'm sure he passed from this world, but he developed a reputation for finding the shortest route to tap fresh ground water. He charged nothing, and people from all walks swore by his skills.

I feel like asking that old water witcher for his advice now. But rather than water, I'd ask him to work his magic on the clean energy industry. Maybe take that fresh-cut Y-shaped branch and point to the shortest route for unlocking thousands of jobs in the promising sector.

Kind of a wise man (or woman) on the mountain thing.

After several years of hype, the clean energy industry appears on the verge. Solar's finally looking like it's got the chops to compete. Biofuel breakthroughs may propel relatively cheap new sources of U.S.-made fuel into the domestic pipeline. And wind continues to kick up dust, not to mention a bubbly hillbilly cousin, geothermal.

Nuclear's Fukushima shuffle appears to have added shine to the green sector. Nuclear power's reliance on huge government subsidies don't help it much either. And Germany's backing off nuclear further burnishes renewables's image.

Clint Wilder, senior editor of Portland, Ore.-based consultant Clean Edge Inc., offers an explanation for the recent spate of news. "Follow the money," he writes in a post.

Businesses from a variety of sectors and borders are looking to cleantech for opportunity, Wilder says. Among the examples he mentions is a $1 billion investment by European oil giant Total in SunPower.

Adam Browning of grist.com reports that the global solar photovoltaic market went from $2.5 billion in 2000 to $71.2 billion in 2010. Browning also writes about how the New York Solar Jobs Act, which seeks to build 5 gigawatts of solar in the state by 2025, has attracted the promotional efforts of "The Bachelorette's" Ryan Park and spots on the CBS Super Screen in Times Square.

A number of sources predict solar will reach parity with fossil fuels, most recently General Electric's Mark Little, global research director, who in a recent interview with Bloomberg estimates five years.

The U.S. Department of Energy also has contributed to the effort, most recently allocating $27 million to standardize regulatory procedures, reduce fees and "reduce the overall costs associated with permitting and installation," officials say. DOE also has established a $12.5 million challenge to encourage cities and counties to compete to streamline and digitize permitting processes.

In California, my employer, the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization, which largely administers clean energy grants for local governments, has uncovered a list of 93 solar projects in our valley that are either in the regulatory process or being proposed, and, according to California Department of Fish and Game, have little or no environmental impact to wildlife resources.

The projects represent about 8,600 megawatts and would cover about 64,000 acres. That's real progress and furthers the University of California, Merced's declaration of this as Solar Valley.

And I came across a juicy statistic in a piece by Michael Moynihan on Huffington Post about the new guy President Obama wants as Secretary of Commerce. Nominee John Bryson, former CEO of Edison International. Southern California Edison, looks like a good pick for cleantech. His legacy? A subsidiary of Edison International, writes Moynihan, buys 65 percent of all solar power generated in the United States.

The San Joaquin Valley contributes a big portion of that sun-harvested energy and will provide more, soon. My colleague and I have been saying for the past year that our region is a Petri dish for clean energy, with all its attributes. I hope we're right. With jobless rates in rural parts of this region pushing 40 percent and national rates climbing, we could use the economic activity.

The need couldn't be greater. The International Energy Agency says that after a dip in 2009 because of the global financial crisis, "energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions in 2010 were the highest in history."

The IEA says it estimates that 80 percent of projected energy-related emissions in 2020 are "already locked in, as they will come from power plants that are currently in place or under construction today."

But recognition of coming trouble is starting to dawn. While the topic remains ultra-controversial and mostly off limits in Congress, others in the international arena are less afraid to address the symptoms of climate change. The Associated Press reports that in Sao Paulo, Brazil at the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit officials from the World Bank and 40 cities from around the world pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is optimistic. "This unique partnership with the World Bank will help solve many of the problems that cities face in obtaining financing for climate-related projects," he tells the AP.

Sounds good, but it's likely just a drop in the bucket. Change, the saying goes, doesn't happen overnight.

We could use that old water witcher right about now. Maybe he's already here. Bill McKibben and his 350.org offer some pretty good directions on how to get there.