energy policy

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

Here are your WEEkly Updates:
1. Save the Date! The 7th Annual Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum will take place June 15th-16th, 2016 in Riverside, CA. Planning for the topics and structure of the Forum is underway - you are invited to help shape the Forum by taking a few minutes to complete this survey. If you are new to the Forum, information on past Forums is available here.
2. The new EE Coordinating Committee will be holding its second set of planning meetings at SDG&E’s Energy Innovation Center 2/22-2/23 with webinar access for remote attendees. The first public meeting was held on 1/15 and discussed steps in launching a stakeholder engagement process to vet the Program Administrator EE business plans forthcoming under CPUC proceedings. For more information on participation, please look for updates on or contact Lara Ettenson at NRDC (
3. On Wednesday Feb. 10th, the CEC adopted the final 2015 Integrated Energy Policy Report. This report not only provides a 10-year forecast of electricity consumption and peak demand and natural gas demand throughout California, but also provides energy plant and infrastructure updates, and discusses building efficiency, appliance efficiency and decarbonization toward the 40% GHG reduction by 2030 goal. The full report is available here.
In the same meeting, more than $2 million was awarded to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) for development of a behavior-learning smart thermostat that operates without broadband technology for easier adoption by senior and low-income residences. $1.5 million was also awarded to UC Berkeley for development of advanced smart-charging software to support the increasing number of electric vehicles. Learn more in the CEC’s release.
4. A short article, EPA Undeterred by Supreme Court's Delay of Clean Power Plan, covers this week's status on the Federal Clean Power Plan, and the U.S. EPA's response. 
5. PG&E has launched a new Community Solar Program that will enable customers to choose getting either 50% or 100% of their electricity from solar. Read an overview from Greentech Media, here.
6. Mark Your Calendars: Upcoming Title 24 Energy Code In-Person and Web Trainings. Looking for training resources on California’s current 2013 energy code? Looking ahead to educate yourself on the coming 2016 code? Numerous in-person and web-based trainings will be held around the state by Energy Code Ace are going on now and continue throughout the winter/spring. Visit Energy Code Ace's trainings webpage for more information. 
(For reference, the Energy Code Ace Web site is developed and provided by the California Statewide Codes & Standards Program, which offers free energy code training, tools and resources for those who need to understand and meet the requirements of Title 24, Part 6 and Title 20.)
7. The Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) has completed a draft list of plans and initiatives adopted by California jurisdictions to address climate change. Any changes to the list received by 2/19/16 will be incorporated.
8. The CEC’s Blueprint newsletter for Nov 2015-Feb 2016 is now available on the CEC's website. Highlights include a change in HERS providers, a new computer compliance software system, funding for workforce training through the EPIC program, guidance on radiant barriers, and more.
9. Interested in Energy Performance Contracting? Learn from the City of Dover, NH about their contract for energy efficiency and electrical and mechanical system improvements, through which they are saving approx. $350,000 annually.
10. The tremendous value of using energy data to uncover efficiency opportunities is discussed in Efficiency is a Resource, Data is the Fuel. Energy data developments by the White House, and by PG&E, are highlighted.
11. A legislative California's Clean Economy hearing on Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings was held yesterday at 1pm. Speakers discussed how far EE has come in California buildings, but also some opportunities for improvement: which translate to opportunities for energy and financial savings. Key areas were: smart plug load management, LEDs and lighting controls, retro-commissioning, and building EE in low-income communities. The program will be archived and available for on- demand-viewing and/or download at
12. Navigant's new Smart Energy, Smart Cities report describes how cities are leading key energy transitions, including energy efficiency projects, smart meters, and partnering with utilities on smart grid developments. Read a summary of the report here.
13. Value of the RPS: a new report estimates that Renewable Portfolio Standard implementation nationwide to-date has produced $2.2B in greenhouse gas reduction benefits.
14. Job announcement: UC Davis is seeking a Sr. Director of Development for Energy Programs. Learn more in the job announcement, posted on SJVCEO's website.
15. And, finally, a note from your Statewide Coordinator: an overhaul of the information available at is underway! New developments include addition of the EE Events Calendar, addition of past WEEkly Updates and more news in the EE News tab, a Tag Cloud for searching for information by key word, and featured news and videos. More information is also coming to the Legislative/Proceedings and Resources pages. Best practices being implemented by local governments (Climate Action Plans, EE community programs, municipal projects, etc.) are also being added, and will be searchable via the "Local Governments in Action" tag.

And that's all for this week!

Commission Unveils Plan to Double U.S. Energy Productivity

Last year the nonprofit Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) formed a coalition of energy experts. Now they have unveiled a set of recommendations designed to double U.S. energy productivity by 2030. The ASE's commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy called for expanding the U.S. energy economy through:
  • investments, 
  • modernization, and 
  • education. 
These efforts will target the entire energy structure, including:
  • buildings, 
  • transportation,
  •  manufacturing, 
  • power generation and 
  • natural gas infrastructure.
The Energy 2030 plan maximizes energy productivity by expanding financing opportunities, reforming taxes and regulations, spurring innovation, strengthening standards, and building consumer awareness. The commission also anticipates that the plan will help the United States establish global leadership in energy efficiency. 

If adopted, the plan could help the United States: 
  • add 1.3 million jobs; 
  • cut average household energy costs; 
  • save U.S. businesses $169 billion a year; 
  • increase the gross domestic product by up to 2%; 
  • decrease energy imports by more than $100 billion a year; and 
  • reduce carbon dioxide emissions by one-third.
The Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy will collaborate with its 13 Honorary Congressional Vice Chairs to develop legislative proposals at the national level. The Commission was formed in 2012 by ASE, a nonprofit organization that promotes energy efficiency worldwide through research, education, and advocacy. 

See the ASE press release and the full reportPDF.

Photo Credit: Craig Miller Productions

Somewhat clandestine converts climb aboard clean energy bus

Bill Clinton's getting downright green.

And he's not the only one. A whole slew of corporate magnates, political leaders and members of the establishment are buying into the economic benefits of energy savings and renewables.

In an interview in which Clinton discussed clean energy, jobs and how the two could resurrect the stagnant economy, he suggests increasing energy efficiency retrofits of government buildings and universities and decentralize energy generation by adding renewable sources.

"Big centralized power stations would be used for things like manufacturing," he says.

Making it work

Clinton advises approaching clean energy from a capitalist perspective with the questions: "How can we make a dollar out of this?" and "How can we put people to work?" He spoke with Aaron Task on Yahoo's Daily Ticker.

But the former president appears to be pointing out the obvious. The green clean energy movement looks as if it will rocket ahead without any assistance from the White House or Congress. Not that a nod from a jobs package would hurt.

In an interview with Smart Grid News that appeared on, economists Ahmad Faruqui and Doug Mitarotonda of The Brattle Group predict U.S. electricity demand will decline between 5 percent and 15 percent over the next decade. This despite an increase in personal electronics use. The two economists cite a "new wave of energy efficiency" where building managers and electricity consumers monitor energy use and adjust accordingly via new technology.

Solar bounds past setbacks

And despite the setback of Solyndra's bankruptcy and federal investigation, solar doesn't look to be slowing down. According to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association's latest quarterly U.S. Solar Market Insight report, the domestic photovoltaics market grew 69 percent in second quarter 2011 from the same period a year earlier.

"The U.S. remains poised to install 1,750 megawatts of PV in 2011, double last year's total and enough to power 350,000 homes," writes

In a followup story,'s Eric Wesoff reports that the United States has surpassed the 1 gigawatt, or 1 billion watt, mark for installed solar and looks to pass the 2 gigawatt threshold next year.

Industry posts growth

Not too shabby. And prospects look good for that trend to continue. The Solar Foundation's latest study finds 100,237 jobs in the industry as of August 2011 and growth of 6.8 percent in August 2011 from the same period a year earlier.

Brian Keane, president of nonprofit SmartPower, says policymakers would be wise to study those numbers carefully. He says Solyndra's demise is outweighed by "countless industry success stories" and cites SolarCity's contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to install 160,000 rooftop solar installations on military housing complexes at 124 military bases across 34 states.

"The company hopes to fill many of those jobs with veterans and military family members," Keane says in a piece on Huffington Post.

Corporate buy-in

The corporate end is also making renewable waves. Behemoth Walmart, the No. 1 U.S. employer, has announced a plan to install solar panels on about 60 more stores in California, which means more than three quarters of its outlets in the state will be so equipped.

Kim Saylors-Laster, Walmart vice president of energy, says in a statement: "California presents a great opportunity for Walmart to make significant progress toward our sustainability goals."

Just can't beat that.

The Environmental Defense Fund's Climate Corps, a crew of 96 graduate students, worked this year with 78 companies, cities and universities to find energy efficiency measures. The corps found installed savings of 600 million kilowatt hours annually and total lifetime energy savings of $650 million.

And CalPERS and CalSTERS plan to invest about $1 billion in energy efficiency projects. "Kind of a big deal," says

Green crossing party lines

And on the political spectrum, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is shooting to the head of the green column with his policies and practices as he works to make one of the nation's most important cities relevant in an age of climate unrest. Shawn Lesser of the International Business Times says Bloomberg "has been instrumental in motivating a number of other large cities to make changes."

The New York mayor's top 10 list of clean energy initiatives has received a lot of press and likely will be scrutinized by other cities across the globe. Bloomberg severed his ties with the GOP in 2007 to become an independent.

And I'm not sure on this account, but I believe the wise investment in energy efficiency and energy management in buildings and manufacturing will attract other high-ranking members of the Republican Party into the ranks of green believers. And as solar and wind energy costs continue to fall, more likely will adopt a friendlier public posture to renewables.

Sean Patrick Hazlett of says other clean energy friendly folks in the GOP include presidential candidates Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and George Schultz at the Hoover Institution.

Lighting up the grid

Expect dramatic change in how electricity is produced, marketed and used in the next decade. Boulder, Colo.-based Pike Research says in a recent report that "the past decade has seen tremendous growth in competitive electricity procurement by commercial, industrial and institutional purchasers." It also says electricity is a $360 billion per year market in this country.

Everybody's looking for the best deal. Combine that with mandates like California's Global Warming Solutions Act, which calls for a third of energy generation to come renewable sources by 2020, and opportunities for purveyors of green energy will benefit. Investments made now could pay off in spades down the road.

They could tank too. Everything depends on the art of the deal, and that's why the entry of shrewd business people is a good thing for clean energy.

Clean energy worth billions

The evidence, however, mounts that this clean energy stuff may be worthwhile. Justin Gillis of the New York Times reports that a business consortium that includes Lockheed Martin and Barclays bank plans to invest about $650 million to install energy efficiency retrofits to buildings in Sacramento and Miami.

Gillis writes that many people believe the program could be worth billions. He says the consortium was formed by the Carbon War Room, a nonprofit environmental group set up by British corporate heavyweight Richard Branson of The Virgin Group "to tackle the world’s climate and energy problems in cost-saving ways."

I plan to monitor this industry closely and collect additional anecdotes that illustrate trends. I hope to see continued expansion, especially in employment. I tell colleagues to think positive thoughts.