energy storage

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

9th Annual Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum

The 9th Annual Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum Call for Proposals ends TODAY!

The 2018 Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum is an opportunity to showcase:
  • Best Practices
  • Local Projects
  • Innovated Strategies for energy efficiency and sustainability
  • Innovative Tools and Technologies
  • and more!
Click here to learn more!


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Resources and Opportunities 

·         Global Green to expand biogas program to 2 California cities

·         2016 Energy Code Presentations

·         Toolkit: Upgrade your parking to high-efficiency lighting solutions

Find more resources and opportunities

Job Announcements

Upcoming events



Find more events

Copyright © 2018 Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator, All rights reserved.
The wEEkly update for Local Governments and their partners.

Our mailing address is:
Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator
980 9th St., Suite 1700
Sacramento, CA 95814

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

The wEEkly Update

For Local Governments and their partners

January 29, 2018


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  Credit: San Diego Tribune

Resources and Opportunities
Find more resources and opportunities

Job Announcements

Upcoming events
Webinar: Creating EE Programs that Better Serve Hispanic Households - Jan 30
17th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference - Feb. 1-3
2018 National Association of State Energy Officials Energy Policy Outlook Conference - Feb 6-9
2018 EPIC Symposium: Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation - Feb 7
Webinar: Using Data to Drive Low Income Energy Solutions: DOE Tool Demo and Case Studies - Feb 8
2nd Annual San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Summit - Mar 14-15
Yosemite Policymakers Conference - Mar 15-18
2018 Business of Clean Energy Symposium - June 4-5
Find more events

Copyright © 2018 Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator, All rights reserved.
The wEEkly update for Local Governments and their partners.

Our mailing address is:
Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator
980 9th St., Suite 1700
Sacramento, CA 95814

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

wEEkly update


New! - EE Coordinator Resources PageCAISO Today's Outlook

You can now find Funding Wizard, links to utility on-bill financing, and other resources on the EE Coordinator Resources Page. This page will continue to be updated but if there is a resource you would like to see posted. Please contact the Coordinator at

Local Government Request:
Has anyone implemented a mandatory or incentive-based SOLAR + STORAGE program/ordinance? We’re considering implementing an ordinance mandating solar PV for residential and non-residential new construction. For a more complete 24-hour-a-day solution, which also increases our resilience, we’re contemplating adding energy storage, either as mandatory installed or wired storage-ready. We’d love to hear from others who have implemented this or have considered doing so. Please reply to Steve Attinger (

Here are your wEEkly updates:

News and Opportunities

9/13 - CPUC Bay Area Meeting for $1 Billion EV Investment Plan
The CPUC Commissioner, Carla Peterman, is holding a public meeting in the City of Richmond’s City Council Chambers to receive input on the Transportation Electrification investment plans proposed by State regulated investor-owned utilitie

Sierra Club Commends Santa Barbara on PACE Energy Program
PACE represents a quadruple win for the city of Santa Barbara. It protects the environment, creates jobs and grows the local economy using only private capital, all while offering leading edge consumer protections.

Garage Ventilation System Achieves 96% Energy Savings
Nagle Energy Solutions (NES) announced its garage-ventilation control system is capturing a 96% reduction in the energy consumed by a sizeable mechanical ventilation system installed recently at the City & County of San Francisco’s Sutter Stockton Garage.

How Customer-Sited Energy Storage Can Reduce California’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions
California will soon release an updated evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions from storage systems participating in the Self-Generation Incentive Program.

UC Berkeley Labor Center finds diversity in renewable energy workforce
UC Berkeley Labor Center’s Green Economy Program found that more than half of entry-level laborers at California renewable energy power plants were people of color.

Wells Fargo commits funding to UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center
UC Davis’ Energy Efficiency Center announced early Wednesday that Wells Fargo has renewed its support with a commitment of $500,000 over the next four years.
Keeping Cows Cool With Less Water and Energy
The new technologies, being tested at UC Davis by the Western Cooling Efficiency Center and the Department of Animal Science, are designed to reduce water by up to 86 percent and electricity by up to 38 percent over conventional methods.

SEEC Calendar 
Click the SEEC Calendar link to view all upcoming events.

10/15-10/18 Behavior, Energy & Climate Change Conference
A conference focused on understanding the behavior and decision-making of individuals and organizations and using that knowledge to accelerate our transition to an energy-efficient and low-carbon future.

Cary Garcia Jr.
Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

wEEkly update


Funding Wizard | Energy Standards Online Resource Center | Energy Code Ace
CAISO Today's Outlook

A great new resource for local governments has launched! offers tools and resources to support local energy efficiency and renewable energy ordinances. The site will serve as a repository for tools and resources to support local energy efficiency and renewable energy ordinances. Key resources available on the site include cost-effectiveness studies, ordinance summaries for internal communications, model language, and document templates. More resources will be included in the future as the site continues to be updated.

Click here for information on this new valuable resource for local governments.

News and Opportunities

Joint Agency Workshop on Senate Bill 350 Low-Income Barriers Study Implementation - Aug. 1st
The Commission and CPUC will jointly conduct a workshop to discuss the implementation of the Low-Income Barriers Study.

California Microgrid Roadmap Scoping Workshop - July 26th
Energy Commission staff will conduct a public workshop with staff from the CPUC and the California California ISO on the California Microgrid Roadmap to develop a plan to accelerate the adoption of microgrids in the state.

San Benito High School to implement energy efficiency program
The project, which includes new light fixtures, "smart" heating and cooling systems, and the installation of solar panels, is expected to save the district $13 million.

California sets the gold standard on good energy policy
"California’s example of self-sufficiency and dedication to producing sound policy can be replicated nationwide. "

Virtual Power Plants: Ready to Serve a Grid Near You
To provide Virtual Power Plant services to the transmission grid, aggregators now draw on a diverse mix of distributed energy resources -- storage, demand response, renewables, microgrids -- from various commercial and residential services.

Water Authority Solicits Proposals for Potential Joint Energy Storage Facility with City of San Diego
“This potential project is an exciting and innovative opportunity to optimize our water facilities to benefit our ratepayers while helping the region as a whole meet its energy needs,” said Mark Muir, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors.

California to Receive $153M in Final Settlement with Volkswagen
The California Air Resources Board announced that it filed a consent decree for its final settlement with the Volkswagen Group of America.

Energy Commission Chair Releases Letter Urging the Future Closure of Aliso Canyon
California Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller released a letter urging the California Public Utilities Commission to plan for the future closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility.

Resources and Publications

Grant: Advancing the Resilience and Environmental Performance of California's Electricity System
The purpose of this solicitation is to fund Applied Research and Development projects that reduce the environmental and public health impacts of electricity generation and make the electricity system less vulnerable to climate impacts. The deadline to submit applications is October 9th, 2017.

Center for Climate Protection: Climate Action Training
The Center for Climate Protection is offering training for Climate Action on several dates in August. The training will be held at the Sonoma Land Trust in Santa Rosa.

Public Agency Energy Strategies Workshop  - July 27th
The Energy Network (SoCal REN) is hosting another public agency workshop next week

Career Opportunities

Energy Planner/Analyst - Humboldt State University

Click here to find previous job announcements

SEEC Calendar 
Click the SEEC Calendar link to view all upcoming events.

7/25 - Webinar: Microgrid Regulatory & Finance Strategies with Case Studies
Proposed microgrids reflect the needs and character of the developers and accordingly emphasize different benefits. Regulatory and finance strategies for microgrids in turn must respond to the varied purposes for their development.

7/28-7/29 - Zero Carbon Zero Net Energy Redwood Retreat
Join Industry Leaders As they present case studies and technical deep dives on ZNE and Zero Carbon strategies.

10/15-10/18 Behavior, Energy & Climate Change Conference
A conference focused on understanding the behavior and decision-making of individuals and organizations and using that knowledge to accelerate our transition to an energy-efficient and low-carbon future.

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

Cary Garcia Jr.
Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

wEEkly Update


Funding Wizard | Energy Standards Online Resource Center | Energy Code Ace
CAISO Today's Outlook

EDAC Conference Call - Monday, June 19th 3:00-4:30PM
The Energy Data Access Committee (EDAC) will hold a conference call on Monday, June 19th to discuss the topic of data privacy rules for local governments. This meeting is public, and there will be time on the agenda for public questions and comment.

LG Request: Sample RFPs for Energy Storage Projects
The Coordinator has received a request from a local government interested in example RFPs that are focused on or include energy storage.

Reminder: Methodologies for SB 350 Energy Efficiency Target Setting - Monday, June 19th 10:00AM
SB 350 requires that the Energy Commission adopt targets by November 2017 that achieve a statewide cumulative doubling of energy efficiency savings in gas and electric final end-uses by 2030.

Career Opportunities

Senior Energy Programs Coordinator Position - County of SLO

Click here to find previous job announcements

SEEC Calendar 
Click the SEEC Calendar link to view all upcoming events.

6/20 - Webinar: Achieving ZNE Goals with Energy Storage
The Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) invites city officials, contractors, and commercial building owners to attend a free webinar on the benefits of on-site energy storage technologies and its impact on zero net energy (ZNE) goals.

6/21 - SEEC Webinar: Creating a Carbon Fund
The webinar will include details on how to set up a Carbon Fund including the steps to do so and typical challenges to implementation.

6/21 - Pathway to 2050
Advanced Energy Economy's annual California energy policy event brings together an influential group of advanced energy business leaders and state policy-makers to discuss opportunities to accelerate California's economy through the growth of advanced energy.

6/27 - BayREN Forum: Local Model Solar Ordinance
The forum will provide local government staff, building professionals, and solar industry representatives an opportunity to surface concerns and challenges regarding the Energy Commission's Model Solar Ordinance and local adoption process.

7/28-7/29 - Zero Carbon Zero Net Energy Redwood Retreat
Join Industry Leaders As they present case studies and technical deep dives on ZNE and Zero Carbon strategies.

10/15-10/18 Behavior, Energy & Climate Change Conference
A conference focused on understanding the behavior and decision-making of individuals and organizations and using that knowledge to accelerate our transition to an energy-efficient and low-carbon future.

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

Cary Garcia Jr.
Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator

Statwide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

wEEkly update

Good afternoon!

Here are your wEEkly updates:

News and Opportunities

LG Input Requested: Energy Impacts of Cannabis Cultivation Workshop
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is holding this workshop February 28th to examine the increase in electricity demand that may be expected from increased cannabis cultivation in California.

RFP: emPower Central Coast "Energy Coach" Program
The emPower Central Coast program of the Energy and Sustainability Division of the County of Santa Barbara requests proposals from qualified professionals to serve by contract as "Energy Coach" primarily for the San Luis Obispo County area.

Joint CEC-CPUC Workshop to support the 2017 Integrated Energy Policy Report
Save the date for a joint California Energy Commission and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Workshop on Greenhouse Gas Target Setting for the Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) Process on February 23, 2017.

Edison and Tesla Unveil Giant Energy Storage System
Southern California Edison and Tesla Motors Inc., installed 400 Tesla PowerPacks in the Mira Loma substation in Ontario, CA. The substation will now add nearly 80 megawatts of energy storage to the state’s electricity grid.

Publications and Resources

Regulating Energy Efficiency - A Primer on the CPUC's Energy Efficiency Programs
A short report from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) that outlines how they currently regulate energy efficiency.

The Growth of America’s Clean Energy & Sustainability Jobs
In addition to the DOE report released earlier this year. The Environmental Defense Fund has released their own report discussing the growth of clean energy and sustainability jobs in the United States.

The Third Wave of Energy Efficiency
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) released a report late last year on the "Third Wave of Energy Efficiency." Advances in consumer electronics can help consumers be more energy efficient.

Can Paying-For-Performance Increase Energy Savings?
Pay for performance (P4P) programs track energy efficiency savings as they occur by using technology data from a building's energy meter.

Career Opportunities

Programs Manager, Sonoma County
Sonoma Clean Power has an opening for a programs manager as they expand their service into Mendocino County. The programs manager will be responsible for significant portions of program design and implementation.

Sustainability Coordinator, San Diego
Reporting to the University of San Diego, Director of Sustainability, this role coordinates the day-to-day operations for the Office of Sustainability. Deadline: Today February 3, 2017

Senior Regional Planner, San Diego
The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is looking for a Senior Regional Planner to support the implementation of San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan and the Sustainable Communities Strategy Deadline: Today February 3, 2017

SEEC Calendar 
Click the Calendar link to view all upcoming events.

2/24 Basic Excel for Energy Auditors
A basic excel class for Energy Auditors focusing on the the fundamentals of Excel.This training will be offered at a very basic level and is not recommended for anyone proficient with advanced Excel functionality, such as macros. Location: San Francisco, CA

3/16-3/19 (Yosemite National Park) Yosemite Policymakers Conference
Join mayors, city council members, county supervisors, city managers, and high-level department heads for the 26th Annual Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

4/26-4/27 Green California Summit (Sacramento)
The Summit provides a forum where innovations in policy, technology and practice can be showcased and shared.

5/5/17 (Long Beach) The Business of Local Energy Symposium 2017
Business of Clean Energy Symposium to convening government, business, and community leaders to accelerate California's shift to a clean energy economy and to exchange ideas about Community Choice Energy programs.

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

Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator
Funding Wizard | Energy Standards Online Resource Center

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

Here are your wEEkly Updates:

News and Opportunities
Targeted Process Evaluation of the Local Government Partnership (LGP) Program
Research into Action (RIA), SCE's consultant preparer, has been for over a year working to craft this study to address three primary subjects: developing new useful criteria to organize and group similar LGPs for the purpose of more easily evaluating the diverse sector; shedding light on the effectiveness of LGP muni retrofits; and further building our body of knowledge on LGP strategic-plan projects. A webinar is being conducted on 11/8 (see calendar section). Comments are due November 16, 2016 via

Energy Department Recognizes UC Berkeley for Leadership in Campus-Wide Energy Innovations
As part of the Obama Administration's effort to cut energy waste in the nation's university buildings and facilities, the Energy Department's Better Buildings Challenge program recognized University of California, Berkeley for its leadership in energy efficiency.

First-of-its-Kind Energy Storage Project
Advanced Microgrid Solutions and the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) launched a landmark water-energy project using advanced energy storage systems to better integrate renewable power, reduce demand on the electric grid and lower costs. The project further enables IEUA to protect its customers while addressing the link between water and the energy needed to process and transport it.

Will California Drivers Get in Electric Cars to Save $13.5 Billion?
A new report (see resource section) indicates that a shift to electric cars and other zero-emission vehicles could save Californians $13.5 billion in health and climate costs by 2050.

USDA Investing More Than $300M in Efficiency, Renewables
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing more than $300 million in projects aimed at increasing use of renewables and energy efficiency options for small businesses through their Rural Energy for America (REAP) program.

Job Opportunity: Energy and Sustainability Analyst, County of Sonoma
The Sonoma County General Services Department seeks a qualified professional to become an Energy and Sustainability (ES) Analyst in their ES Division. Under general direction, the ES analyst plans, develops, coordinates, and implements ES Division customer project support efforts; provides project selection technical support, energy and water evaluation and analysis, and project financing resources; and is responsible for collecting and analyzing data and reporting results. Applications due November 14, 2016.

11/1 (webinar) A Recipe for Award-Winning Online Community Engagement
This highly visual 45-minute webinar will present research findings, proven best practices, practical tips and award-winning case studies to guide agencies towards the successful application of online community engagement for planning projects. Participants will walk away with an understanding about how to leverage digital engagement to achieve unprecedented results using cost-effective tools.

11/2 (San Francisco / dial-in) Coordinating Committee Meeting #11
This meeting is your opportunity to discuss the PA's visions and strategies for achieving maximum cost-effective savings and transforming markets over the next 10 years. The Business Plans set the groundwork for future programs and Implementation Plans.

11/3 (webinar) Boom Chika Boom: Demand Response and Behavior Change
A peer exchange call to discuss demand response and the most effective ways to change behaviors to improve residential energy efficiency.

11/7 (Sacramento / webcast) Workshop on 2030 Target Scoping Plan Update
This workshop will discuss policy scenarios and associated reductions; the Natural and Working Lands Sector, including carbon sequestration scenario modeling and ARB's Natural and Working Lands inventory; and public health implications of climate change and mitigation policies.

11/8 (webinar) Targeted Process Evaluation of the LGP Program
This webinar is to discuss the study background and goals, methods, and findings paired with conclusions and recommendations. 
11/16 (Berkeley) ZNE Workshop for Local Governments
This six-hour workshop will support local governments working to integrate state goals to achieve zero net energy (ZNE) buildings. Learn about examples, emerging trends, new programs and tools to support local government ZNE policy and plan development.

Resources and Reports

Practical Guide to Transforming Energy Data into Better Buildings
This guide uses the lifecycle of energy data as a framework to help you understand what and when data can be collected, and how to best evaluate the data for meaningful insights. The lifecycle follows through the following path: understanding where the data is coming from; aggregating the different data sources; transforming data into actionable insights; taking insights-driven actions; using data to track and evaluate results; leveraging energy insights beyond building management; and 8 steps to get started today.

Clean Air Future: Health and Climate Benefits of Zero Emission Vehicles
This report was produced by the American Lung Association in California to illustrate the billions of dollars in health and other societal damages caused by passenger vehicle pollution today, and to highlight the benefits of the ongoing transition to zero emission technologies across the passenger vehicle fleet.

Electric Company Smart Meter Deployments: Foundation for a Smart Grid
This report describes how electric companies are using smart meter data today to improve grid operations, integrate distributed energy resources, provide customer services, and support innovative pricing. It also describes the growing importance of the distribution system.

Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)
DSIRE is a comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewable energy and energy efficiency organized by state.

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

! Here are your wEEkly updates:

1. Webinar on Energy Technology Competition 8/28: The U.S. Department of Energy will present a live webinar titled “JUMP SIEMENS Call for Innovation” on Friday, August 26th. The Call is seeking innovative ideas for the use of personal “smart” devices to interact with public spaces.

2. Webinar on Hydrogen Infrastructure 8/30: The U.S. Department of Energy will present a live webinar titled “International Hydrogen Infrastructure Update” on Tuesday, August 30th.

3. Energy Storage Summit 12/7-8: The 2016 U.S. Energy Storage Summit will be held in San Francisco this December 7th and 8th – and early bird prices for registration end August 31st! Get the agenda, more information, and/or register.

4. CPUC Decision on the EE Rolling Portfolio Now Final: The CA Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Proposed Decision Providing Guidance for Initial Energy Efficiency Rolling Portfolio Business Plan Filings (R.13-11-005) was voted on this week and was passed. Whether you are developing a business plan for energy efficiency funds and programs in the coming years, or providing feedback on one - or simply plan on seeking energy efficiency program funding – this decision covers a number of topics (Regional Energy Networks, issues by sector, pay for performance programs, third party and statewide programs, M&V) that may be of interest. You can access the Proposed Decision – and its table of contents – here.

5. Rolling Portfolio Background: Need a refresher on R-13-11-005 and the rolling portfolio? Check out coverage on this Proceedings, Decisions, and Legislation page. You can also get involved with current proceedings through the CA Energy Efficiency Coordinating Committee. Or, learn how to interpret CPUC documents and proceedings in this helpful 101 webinar.

6. CEC Staff Report on SoCal Electric Reliability: A new CEC staff report has been made available in preparation for the August 29th workshop on Electric Reliability in Southern California.

7. New Proposed Energy Storage in SoCal: Southern California’s utilities are turning to energy storage developers to get battery projects up and running at a record speed. This week, utilities Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric officially asked the California Public Utilities Commission to approve contracts for more than 50 megawatts’ worth of lithium-ion battery projects. Learn more from Greentech Media.

8. $1.2B in Cap and Trade Proposed by CA Senate: This Wednesday, California’s State Senate proposed a series of clean energy funding initiatives totaling $1.2 billion to address greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector and air pollution in urban environments.

9. Connecting Home Buyers with Metrics to Value EE: We’ve seen a lot of recent studies on how energy efficient homes are worth more; but, communicating this value has been a challenge, making the market slow to respond and leaving dollars and energy efficiency opportunities on the table in our communities. (This is especially unfortunate in low-income households, since connecting homes energy efficiency can help fight poverty.) This week, Greentech Media explores options for creating a easy metric to help home buyers include the value of energy efficiency in their decision making.

10. Low-Rise Mandatory Energy Code Measures Summary: The California Energy Commission (CEC) has just released the 2016 Low-Rise Residential Mandatory Measures Summary – this is a great document to share with your buildings departments as a resource to help designers and permit applicants in your jurisdiction comply with the new energy code.

11. California ZNE Milestone Achieved: The California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission, and the New Buildings Institute (NBI) announced earlier this month California continues the march toward its zero net energy (ZNE) goals, with 108 new and renovated commercial buildings that have been either verified as generating as much energy as they consume or are working toward that target. More on zero net energy here – or, learn about ZNE tracking tools.

12. Waste Collection Zones Reduce GHGs: A new study of New York City reveals that commercial waste collection zones may reduce truck traffic and greenhouse gas emissions associated with waste collection.

13. New Research on Water and EE: Increased coordination between the water and energy sectors breaks down traditional silos and paves the way for an integrative approach to saving energy and water. This week, ACEEE has released a new summary of water-energy efficiency research and best practices, The Energy–Water Nexus: Exploring the Stream of Opportunities, which summarizes past research (see below) and discusses new opportunities, including joint energy and water utility collaboration.

14. Job Announcement: MCE is hiring for a Marketing Manager! Learn more here.

15. RFP Announcement: The City and County of San Francisco Department of the Environment (SFEnvironment) announces a Request for Proposals for As Needed Energy Services for the Department’s energy and climate programs, including energy efficiency, renewable and alternative energy components, and climate protection initiatives.

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

That’s all for this week!

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

Here are your wEEkly updates:

1. Prop 39 Proposed Changes Webinar 7/6: Get the word out to your schools and local educational agencies (LEAs): The California Energy Commission has initiated a substantive changes cycle for the Proposition 39: California Clean Energy Jobs Act – 2016 K-12 Program Implementation Guidelines. Learn more, review the changes and sign up for a CEC webinar to review.

2. Smart Cities Webinar 7/14: This free 1-hour webinar sponsored by DNV GL will feature two contrasting cities – Cambridge, Mass., and San Diego, Calif. – to explore on-going “smart city” initiatives that intersect with climate resiliency, clean and renewable distributed energy, microgrids and zero net energy concepts.

3. SEEC Forum Plenaries online: Miss this year’s SEEC Forum? You can hear from the CEC, CPUC, SGC, OPR, environmental justice leaders, and energy and climate specialists in recordings of the SEEC Forum plenary sessions. Visit the main page for descriptions and Youtube links.

4. New Energy Efficiency 101 resources: As Coordinator I hear about the need for 101 resources from beginner and veteran local government energy leaders alike. Whether its due to staff turnover or transfers, or the wealth of rapidly evolving information on energy best practices in California, it helps to have some introductory resources in one place.  Check out a new (and growing) page of Energy Efficiency 101 resources and presentations on the EECoordinator site – and feel free to request additional information.

5. Low-Income EE resources expansion: SoCal Gas announced a significant expansion of its Energy Savings Assistance Program. As many as 500,000 additional low-income families may now be eligible to receive no-cost energy efficient home upgrades.

6. PACE Savings through HERO: press release from the residential PACE HERO Program released this week announced that Californians Are Saving 10 Billion Kilowatt-Hours Through the HERO Program - roughly equivalent to taking almost a million Americans off the grid for a year or closing two coal-fired power plants for a year.  For more on financing, click here.

7. Commercial EE opportunities: We learned in the SEEC plenary on the State of Local Climate Action that a number of California local governments are seeing high savings in the commercial sector. New coverage from ACEEE shows commercial sector savings, but also a number of remaining opportunities.

8. Motivating Commercial EE: Something to share with your commercial sector partners: stakeholder requests for EE and sustainability information are changing trends in business activities and reporting. A new report shows that 81% of S&P companies produced Sustainability Reports in 2015.

9. Clarifications on heat pump water heater compliance: the CEC’s Advisor Patrick Saxton spoke to requirements for residential heat pump water heaters in the Q&A of the Forum’s opening plenary session. Some additional residential heat pump water heater compliance guidance from follow up with the CEC is available here.

10. New water efficiency standards in effect TODAY: With all the excitement around the new building energy efficiency standards becoming open for cities and counties to adopt by January 1, 2017, we can’t forget about new water efficiency standards! Read an excerpt from the California Energy Commission (CEC)’s blog, and get links for more information here.

11. New EIA study projects the effect of energy policies: Projecting the effect of policies is a challenging but critical part of energy planning and governance. See how the U.S. Energy Information Administration has analyzed U.S. energy policies and released its findings of an estimated 30% increase in clean power from Clean Power Plan implementation.

12. Time-of-Use Service for Residential: A new “time of savings” service offered through a partnership between Nest and SolarCity offers residential customers deeper demand response and EE savings. Learn more here.

13. Procurement templates for energy storage: Clean Energy Group and the Clean Energy States Alliance, with support from Bright Power, Sandia National Laboratories, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity, and the Barr Foundation, have drafted and released a series of energy storage procurement guidance documents for municipalities.

14. Job announcement: Marin County is hiring for a Sustainability Program Planner! For more information click here.

15. Job announcement: MCE is hiring for several positions, including a Customer Programs Specialist and Customer Programs Manager! For more information, click here.

That’s all for this week!

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

Here are your wEEkly updates:

1. SEEC Forum follow up: Thanks to all that attended this year’s 7th Annual SEEC Forum! Experienced, diverse speakers and record attendees helped to make it a great success. If you attended, we are asking for your feedback through this survey to make next year’s even better. Stand by for recorded sessions from the Forum, coming soon!

2. CAF Registration Now Open: Correction from earlier this month: the California Adaptation Forum registration is NOW open! The Forum will take place September 7th-8th in Long Beach.

3. Benchmarking Lunch-and-Learn 6/30: Hear about the current state of benchmarking policy and join in discussion about specific impacts to local governments and other public agencies in this Oxnard lunch-and-learn held by The Energy Network and Ventura County Regional Energy Alliance (VCREA).

4. PG&E Phases Out Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power: citing a number factors, including Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) increases, energy efficiency and renewables goals under SB 350, the growth of distributed energy resources (DERs) and community choice aggregation (CCA), PG&E announced its decision this Tuesday. (Read more here.)

5. Looking for EE and Climate Funding? Over $177 Million is available for state and local government activities on coastal resiliency, health impacts of climate change, HUD Choice Neighborhoods, and more.

6. What’s New in 2016 Energy Code? BayREN’s Codes and Standards Regional Forum was held this week, bringing together local government policymakers and sustainability staff, building department staff, city planners, and energy consultants to learn about the changes to the 2016 building Energy Efficiency Standards for residential and nonresidential buildings.

7. 2016 Reference Ace Now Available: Energy Code Ace has released the 2016 version of their training tools for California Energy Code (Title 24). This is a great, free resource for building departments and professionals alike.

8. Energy efficiency and affordable housing: Finding the best strategies to bring the economic benefits of energy efficiency to low-income households is a hot topic. Learn in this article from Eco Business about case studies in Ann Arbor and Pittsburgh, a study from Energy Efficiency for All, and how to best leverage key resources like the Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC).

9. EDAC Meeting Recap: The quarterly public Energy Data Access Committee meeting was held this week, with significant focus on local government data access for climate action planning – a short recap is available here.

10. White House Announces Energy Storage, Green Button Analysis: Last week the White House announced a new investment in 1.3 GW of energy storage to promote a more flexible, resilient grid – and also shared plans to analyze the use of the Green Button energy data platform in the private sector.

11. Opower and Oracle on utility and energy data: his week, Oracle purchased Opower for $532 million. Hear from both companies on the value they each see in combining forces and how the utility industry is moving to a customer-focused industry, in this exclusive interview by Greentech Media (GTM).

12. Innovations in Duct Sealing: Learn what research out of U.S. DOE, LBNL and EPA has led to a transformation in duct sealing (improving air quality and bringing energy savings) in commercial buildings – with examples from Atlanta and California’s Fountain Valley.

13. Sustainable Products and Projects of the Year: Environmental Leader released its new list of Products and Projects of the Year this week. Products range from solar panels to chiller modules; programs range from Hilton’s LightStay program to Bloomberg LP’s Water Risk Valuation Tool. Get ideas for products or approaches to apply in your community!

14. EVs for Economic Reasons: In coverage from North Bay Public Media, learn about how economic considerations are the primary driver toward electric vehicles in Sonoma County.

15. Is Residential Ready for Storage? Learn best practices in making solar homes energy storage-ready.

16. New Solar Homes Partnership: Join the California Energy Commission (CEC) for a workshop on the New Solar Homes Partnership July 8th.

17. AB 793 Compliance Guidance: In a June 10th release, CPUC Judges have requested that the state’s IOUs propose to the Commission comprehensive, innovative, and scalable programs designed to meet the requirements of Public Utilities Code Section 717, and designed to meet the needs of consumers and the marketplace, by August 1, 2016. Learn more and get a review of AB 793 here.

18. Zero Net Energy Review: The document ZNE Evaluation Methodologies: Phase 1 – Draft Report, which PG&E contracted with TRC to complete, is now posted to the CPUC’s EE Public Document’s Area for public comment.

19. Job Announcements: the City of Thousand Oaks is hiring for two Sustainability Analysts and a Sustainability Division Manager! Learn more here.

20. Job Announcement: ICLEI is hiring for a Program Officer, Network Relations! Learn more here.

21. RFP: Lancaster Choice Energy (LCE) seeks a qualified consultant to support LCE’s development of an Energy Efficiency Business Plan for 2016. This support would include program design, budget creation, cost effective analysis, an application for funding under the ‘elect’ option to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and any required auditing and reporting.

22. RFP: Itron, Inc. – operating under contract to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) – invites qualified applicants to respond to this Request for Qualifications (RFQ), Subcontractors to Conduct Process Evaluations of California’s 2015 Local Government Energy Efficiency Programs.

That’s all for this week!

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

Here are your wEEkly updates:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s all for this week!

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

Here are our WEEkly Updates:
  1. SB 350 and AB 802: Impacts and Implications for Local Governments (video)
    In case you missed the webinar last week with CEC Commissioners Hochschild and McAllister, here is the webinar recording.
  2. How Smart Meters are Changing Energy Efficiency in California
    New advanced metering infrastructure that can measure customer load with increased granularity has created opportunities for variable rate structures, effective demand response and increased customer control over their energy use. And now, with the ability to compare real-time usage to historical baselines, the industry can begin to more accurately value "efficiency as energy," and PG&E is working with NRDC and The Utility Reform Network to develop a pilot program that will do just that.
  3. U.S. Energy Storage Summit: The Energy Storage Future (video)
    This GTM Research presentation will share results from the most recent U.S. Energy Storage Monitor report and provide the platform for the summit's discussions on the future of the U.S. energy storage market.
  4. How Energy Efficiency Cuts Costs for a 2°C Future
    This report analyzes how energy efficiency policies and programs in Brazil, China, Europe, India, Mexico and the US can reduce the cost of economy-wide decarbonization y up to $250 billion per year for these regions, with no net cost to society through 2030. Related articles from this week: Why energy efficiency is the cheapest path to climate action and Energy efficiency is the largest contributor to reducing CO2 emissions.
  5. 5 Trends that Will Disrupt Energy Management in 2016
    BluePillar's new eBook, Facility of the Future Series: 5 Trends that Will Disrupt Energy Management in 2016, discusses the 5 trends that will disrupt energy management in 2016 and how you can take control of your facility's energy future.
  6. California and Germany, Opposites with a Common Energy Goal
    One is a European country known as "the powerhouse of Europe" that struggles against soggy winters and seemingly endless gray skies. The other is a digitally driven American state, known as "the Golden State," for its abundant sunshine and year-round growing season. One is determined to lead an energy transformation through carefully drafted laws and regulations; the other is driven by an inventive spirit of boundary-pushing and experimentation.
  7. 12/14 - Leveraging Benchmarking to Build Your Business
    This full-day workshop is targeted for businesses to learn strategies for generating leads; how to price benchmarking-related offerings; how to cross-sell and up-sell your other offerings; how to demonstrate the value of efficiency in terms that clients understand and value; and how to motivate the various stakeholders to act on energy efficiency measures.
  8. Energy Calendar
    If you have any events you would like to see added to this calendar, please send details to

And that is all for this week!

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

Here are your wEEkly updates:
  1. Draft LGP REN EM&V Roadmap
    The comment period is now open until 5pm on Sunday, November 30th for the REN and LGP chapters of the EM&V Roadmap. This is an update for version 6 of 2013-2015 EM&V Evaluation Plan.
  2. Database of Energy Incentives & Rebates
    A comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the U.S.
  3. Energy Storage in the Fast Lane
    The energy storage industry is growing quickly. It is being driven, according to experts, by the parallel growth of on-site energy generation and an increasingly attractive list of operational and financial benefits.
  4. Benchmarking Training in San Francisco, sponsored by PG&E
    12/1 - Benchmarking Your Commercial Building: Learn how to benchmark your building's energy performance with the help of PG&E's Web Services.
    12/1 - You've Benchmarked Your Building: What's Next?: Learn how to set targets for improvement - estimating the actual amount of energy savings needed, which low-/no-cost capital upgrades might produce various magnitudes of savings, and more.
    12/14 - Benchmarking as a Business
  5. Energy Calendar
    If you have any events you would like to see added to this calendar, please send details to

That is it for this week!

Believe it or not: liquid batteries make energy storage real and affordable

The headline from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) says, "It's Official: Wind Energy Can Be Stored Cheaply"' but gosh--cheap just sounds  Energy storage is more than just a cool advancement in technology, it is the Holy Grail. Grid level storage will make alternative and renewable energy available to the mass market with regularity and at a truly affordable rate. It's energy storage that will make harnessing temperamental energy sources like wind and solar plausible as a solution to our world energy needs.  It's energy storage that is the missing link.  To include cheap in the sentence seems somewhat demeaning ( although it is a press release from MIT and if Good Will Hunting taught me anything it's that those MIT guys know their stuff!).

Turns out one MIT guy in particular knows his stuff about grid level electrical storage and how to make it cost effective. Professor Donald Sadoway has developed the liquid metal battery; a device as he says, invented to the price point of the electric market.  Professor Sadoway's TED talk about his liquid metal battery is entertaining (colored chalk!) and actually makes simple sense of something that should be much more complicated.  

Donald Sadoway: solving energy's biggest challenge, like a boss. 

Seducing a fossil-fuel Frankenstein

Peter Boyle and Madeline Kahn
At the point Gene Wilder realizes something is wrong with his creation in "Young Frankenstein," he asks a big-eyed Marty Feldman whose brain he actually ended up implanting into Peter Boyle's head.

"Promise you won't be angry?" says Igor.

"I won't be angry," says the doctor.

But this is classic Wilder. His hair is wild, love-interest Terri Garr is in the background semi-breathless. He will go nuts. After all, Igor's answer is "Abby Something, Abby Normal."

The result is classic. "Are you saying I put an abnormal brain into a 7 1/2-foot-long, 54-inch wide gorilla?" Wilder asks, grasping the earnest Igor by the neck and hefting him off the ground like a rag sidekick.

The U.S. energy industry has installed a series of protocols into its collective head that spew nothing but carbon. So far, solar has a long way to go, even though incremental advances appear to be made on a monthly basis.

Solar developments shine

A couple that come to mind involve a breakthrough by IBM researchers to squeeze more solar power out of cheaper materials and a move by the California Public Utilities Commission that could spur innovation in energy storage for alternative energy projects. Ulicia Wang of says IBM's solar cells made of easy-to-access copper, zinc, tin and sulfur onvert 11.1 percent of sunlight into electricity for a 10 percent gain. The material is important because it uses no rare earth elements, like indium and gallium, which can be difficult to source.

The CPUC in an August 2012 report, Resolution E-4522, gives kudos to three of five proposed solar projects in California that use molten salt to store energy and provide power after the sun goes down. Southern California Edison has requested approval of power purchase agreements for the projects, all developed by Oakland, Calif.-based BrightSource Energy Inc. Each has a 200 megawatt capacity and use mirrors to convert sunlight to heat.

However, the energy storage option earn high marks on the projects, strangely dubbed Siberian 1, Siberian 2 and Sonoran West. "These three projects compare favorably on a price and value basis," the report says.

That's substantial progress.

Carbon earthforms

But decades of domination by the oil industry have been a lot like a Peter Boyle character on the loose. Alternative energy developments are like throwing a bag of marbles at his feet in hopes he stumbles. Not a chance, really.

The fossil fuel industry is entombed in U.S. corporate culture. Just check out the new cars on the road. Maybe they're not as big as before the economic collapse, but they still burn gasoline. A major shift to solar-extracted hydrogen or full-on electric is about as likely as veganism being a part of an election-year GOP platform.

I'm at a loss for deducing a solution. I work at a job that chips away at the problem project by project. It makes me feel like I'm doing a part, just not very significant.

Seduce fossil Frankenstein

Maybe we need Madeline Kahn or somebody like her. She could seduce the monster (metaphorically embodied by Boyle in his greatest role after "Joe"). Where to find this person? Maybe an idea would get the public up in arms (pitchforks, torches, etc.).

Super cheap energy would work. Not natural gas, although granted it's a good bridge fuel.

Just a distraction really. The Frankenstein fossil fuel monster running amok could use a diversion. Madeline is pretty convincing in the Mel Brooks classic. Ideas?

Small stuff drives clean energy movement; but battles loom

My great-grandfather made and lost three fortunes and used to say, "Don't sweat the small stuff."

However, clean energy appears to thrive on the small stuff, despite or perhaps because of the fledgling sector's rather uncertain future. Incremental advances in solar and LED technology have dropped prices and are improving performance, while breakthroughs in biofuel technologies are encouraging the private sector to capitalize promising companies.

The U.S. Department of Energy has been in on the act, issuing rounds of small grants and encouraging clean energy development with seed money in the first half of 2011. The agency announced $11 million for the oft-overlooked geothermal sector, with $6.6 million going to California projects. The agency also committed a partial guarantee for a $1.4 billion loan to support Project Amp, which supports installation of solar panels on industrial buildings across the country.

The private sector, meanwhile, hasn't been sitting on its hands. Chicago-based S&C Electric Co. provided Southern California Edison with an electric storage device that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly on the scenic Catalina Island, Calif. The island is off-grid and relies on diesel generation for its power.

"S&C continues to innovate new solutions," said Jim Sember, an S&C vice president, in a statement.

On an entirely different front, but no less important, is San Diego-based Genomatica, which won the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award. Judges said, according to a statement, "By producing the exact same chemicals made today from fossil fuels, but from renewable feedstocks, Genomatica's technology has the potential for broad industry impact."

And the company may do it more cheaply. Major corporations are lining up.

The small stuff is especially important because the winnowing process in the energy sector is not expected to be resolved soon. The oil industry expects to remain dominant for decades and coal will continue to be a big player despite its environmental drawbacks.

Michael T. Klare, author of "Rising Powers Shrinking Planet," says in a recent post on TomDispatch that he believes it will take 30 years for "experimental energy systems like hydrogen power, cellulosic ethanol, wave power, algae fuel and advanced nuclear reactors to make it from the laboratory to full-scale industrial development."

Klare says some will survive, some won't. He likens the coming vetting process to the 30 Years War, between European powers in what is now Germany from 1618 to 1648. The sometime religious conflict was punctuated by fierce battles and loss of life. For instance, Klare says, an eventual shift from petroleum could be intensely risky and potentially fatal for the world's oil corporations.

Meanwhile, other corporations are doing what they can to reduce their exposure to energy costs. SC Johnson, the Racine, Wis.-based maker of Pledge and Glade products, is but one of many looking to enhance efficiency. The company says it reduced its greenhouse gas emissions from operations by nearly a third over the past six years by installing a methane and natural gas co-generation plant for its domestic operations, a palm shell generation system in Indonesia -- reducing diesel use by 80 percent and wind power.

In the United Kingdom, Ricoh has debuted a solar and wind powered billboard along London's M4 motorway that's lit only when the weather's conducive. The company already has a version up in New York's Times Square. And in Fresno, the city has added solar-powered parking meters that accept debit cards.

I'm not certain if we needed that last one. But the innovations keep coming. Whether there will be a battle of technologies similar to "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" remains to be seen.

Top 8 clean energy job sectors for Class of 2011

Listening to the graduation speeches made my mind wander.

In between a lot of "hopes," "follow your dreams" and reminisces that could have been read from an old Archies comic, I thought of the reality facing the class of 2011. It isn't pretty. High jobless rates, declining wages and an uncertain economy add up to a fast-food career. For all the pundits know, the United States is on track to follow Japan's 20 years of economic malaise.

Yeah, I'm a cynic. Twenty-four years of journalism can do that.

So I tried to imagine a better spin. Where are the bright spots?

For almost two years now, I've worked on the outskirts of clean energy and energy efficiency, consuming all the news I can find on the direction of this business. From what I can tell, it's about to take off on a number of fronts. But the rush just isn't there -- yet. And some technologies may go bust.

However, some clean energy sectors show promise for job growth. Here's a look at some that crossed my desk recently that may even give a philosophy major a chance at a job:

1. Electric cars -- The era of a fossil-fuel free automobile provides untold opportunity and likely a dump truck load of challenges for engineers, planners, mechanics and sales people. Here's a mode of transportation straight out of movie version of a Phillip K. Dick sci-fi novel. How it's really going to work nobody really knows. But many of us have high hopes. Planners will have to figure out how to install sufficient recharging stations. I foresee business owners getting into the picture. Imagine ads like this: "Low on power? Stop by the Sports Grill. Free charge with two draft beers. Micro brews extra." And tow truck drivers should be in an excellent position to retrieve vehicles with bone-dry batteries.

2. Energy storage -- Should renewable energy continue its expansion and even accelerate its development, a big push will be on finding ways to sequester that power for later use. Wind turbines generate energy when the wind blows and sit idle when it doesn't. Likewise, solar panels don't do a lick of good when the sun sets. With nuclear looking like a dim variable these days because of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi disaster, utilities are scrambling not only with electrical grid upgrades but for a power source that can complement these down times. Ucilia Wang of Earth2tech reports on a promising development from General Electric that incorporates natural gas-fueled power plants with renewable energy. The natural gas kicks in when power generation from the other slows. "This hybrid power plant strategy could be even more effective in promoting renewable electricity generation than any plan to sell stand-alone solar or wind farm equipment," Wang writes. There you go. Other ideas like water storage for later generation need to be refined by engineers and the solutions marketed to cities and power companies across the nation. And here's one that boggles the mind: A pilot project for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority would use lithium-ion battery technology to store captured energy from rail cars "through a regenerative braking process and then utilize the energy for accelerating trains," according to a statement. This would supply "megawatt level energy storage" and potentially 32 more projects. Jobs would materialize in construction and across the board as projects of all sorts crank up.

3. Wind -- From offshore on the East Coast to farm fields in Eastern Washington, this sector is gaining speed. California's Sierra Mountains offer great promise of continued development. Construction has started on a 120-megawatt wind turbine project near Tehachapi started early in 2011, and the Tehachapi Wind Energy Storage Project was recommended by the California Energy Commission for $1 million in Public Interest Energy Research Program funds. Meanwhile, Southern California Edison has invested heavily in its Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project, which will deliver the energy to market. Construction on the project is now under way. And that's just a sliver of what's going on. Jobs in construction and maintenance are just the obvious ones. Development and innovation will continue, employing scientists, engineers and support teams.

4. Energy efficiency -- Long considered the "low-hanging fruit" of conservation efforts, energy efficiency is also the most cost-effective and simple to do. In fact, many solar installers ask homeowners to also get an energy audit. Auditors identify areas in a house where energy conservation measures can complement a new solar system. This sector extends to municipal buildings, commercial buildings and anything that uses power, like street lights. At the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization, we administer energy efficiency projects for 36 jurisdictions in two of our grants that will save 5.4 million kWh. Jobs in this sector aren't huge unless weatherization is factored in. I also expect a massive shift in design as lessons learned in the past few years are incorporated into future building plans. That will mean more jobs for those who can develop and market products that enhance energy efficiency. Insulation companies may expect to do a bang-up business, for instance.

5. Building information modeling -- This may be a sleeper. Building information systems are expected to become increasingly important and complex, enabling programmers to optimize environmental controls and save money. Cost savings in a building with such features can save a third or more over a conventional building in which each thermostat, light and utility system is operated by hand. While it sounds like something out of "2001: A Space Odyssey," this management practice is all the rage in high-rise towers and smaller commercial buildings. Homes may not be too far behind. Jobs would be in computer technology, development, installation and operation and maintenance -- all relatively high-tech and well paid. Of course, nobody wants to hear the mainframe say something like HAL 9000 told spaceman Dave: "I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen."

6. Climate change -- This one may be contentious, but the data, melting polar ice and weird weather give even the biggest doubter pause. Nation magazine columnist Alexander Cockburn rightly points out the flaws in the technical arguments (read his "Anthropogenic Global Warming is a Farce" article for an blatant example of what opponents cite.) However, even if we're just experiencing a temporary warming trend similar to the "highly inconvenient Medieval Warm Period, running from 800 to 1300 AD, with temperatures in excess of the highest we saw in the 20th century," it will still mess with Bangladesh, New Orleans and any other seaside concentration of humanity. There will be huge challenges, leading to all sorts of suffering and economic disaster and, of course, opportunity for the forward-thinking municipal planners and entrepreneurs. Likewise, the air isn't getting any better and won't until we figure out a way to slow or stop pumping millions of tons of pollutants into the skies every minute. Jobs include scientists, movers, engineers and every level of medical practitioner.

7. Solar -- We came across a list of 93 solar projects representing 64,000 acres of panels planned for the San Joaquin Valley. These are the projects that have no problem passing state wildlife review. That's huge, and the scenario is likely being repeated elsewhere across the country where sunny days outnumber cloudy ones. I believe that once those Valley projects are built, others will follow. Analysts and people in the business agree that solar power will reach cost parity with fossil fuels in five years or less. That means solar will go nuts. Expect every rooftop in the Valley to have solar. At least owners will be scheduling installation or thinking about it after receiving the AC bill.

8. Biofuels -- This is one of my favorites. Advances in algae fuel are bringing the concept of farming pond scum for your car closer to reality. Isobutanol and cellulosic ethanol offer very real returns. And biodiesel from various crops shows increasing promise as crude oil prices creep up and show every indication of remaining high. Jobs? Who the heck knows? This is a big variable that could rattle the entire industry, shake up the Middle East and provide national energy security or go the way of cold fusion. I'm hoping for the former.

So there's hope. Jobs won't look like they did. But will evolve.

I often wonder what will become of journalism now that my beloved newsprint sector has dwindled to near extinction. Maybe the electronic newsroom will experience a resurgence and drag old veterans like myself back for another shot at daily news glory. Maybe not.

Whatever happens, I just hope clean energy offers our graduates opportunity. And decent pay.

Photo: My wife Peggy and son Calvin at Clovis High School graduation. That's me in the background with my granddaughter on my shoulders.

Tehachapi wind batteries get stimulus money

A San Joaquin Valley project that banks wind energy in batteries and could change the course and perception of renewable power appears on track to receive some federal stimulus funds.

The concept is a big one. Should storage batteries prove successful even in a limited sense, renewable energy based on whims of Mother Nature would increase substantially in value and stature on Wall Street. This would mean even when the wind dies or the sun drops below the horizon, stored energy could be released to make up for the slack in production.

The Tehachapi Wind Energy Storage Project was recommended by the California Energy Commission just before the new year for $1 million in Public Interest Energy Research Program funds. The amount is a fraction of about $25 million applied for by Southern California Edison but likely enough to get the project rolling. Its overall cost is a about $55 million, according to

The application to the National Energy Technology Laboratory says the project's "is to evaluate the performance of utility scale lithium-ion battery technology."

Southern California Edison says big battery systems would improve grid performance by better integrating wind energy generation in improving grid performance with the results helping to "accelerate the advancement of reliable, clean, secure, renewable energy resources and technologies."

Study into the project began in 2008 between SCE, Quanta Technology and wind power developer Oak Creek Energy. The site resides in the windy Tehachapi Mountains and would tap into the 66 kilovolt Antelope-Bailey wind turbine system.

Also involved in the project is A123Systems, which opened the largest lithium-ion automotive battery plant this past fall in Livonia, Mich. In a past interview with my former co-worker Jeff St. John, Paul De Martini, SCE vice president of advanced technologies, said his employer wanted A123 to develop "a 32-megawatt-hour battery out of racks of smaller batteries."

The concept fits nicely with California's Global Warming Solutions Act, which seeks to cap greenhouse gas emissions at 1990s levels by 2020. Part of that effort includes requiring utilities to get a third of their power from renewable sources.

Already, SCE says it can deliver 2,700 megawatts of clean electricity for about 17 percent of its total portfolio.

Last year was a big for wind energy news, with offshore getting a lot of attention and its first approved project near Nantucket. And solar projects continue to make news.

In California, a variety of projects continue to make news. The Mount Diablo Unified School District in San Jose plans a solar system that covers 51 schools and generates 11.2 megawatts. In the San Joaquin Valley's Westlands Water District, a solar project covering 30,000 acres of privately owned farmland retired because of high soil salinity has been proposed.

Should more of these projects move into the construction phase -- like the 400-megawatt solar thermal Ivanpah project in eastern San Bernardino County, only a few miles from Nevada, which broke ground late last year -- storage systems will continue to gain interest.

And oil prices continue to climb. This week the fossil fuel hovered around the $90 per barrel mark and indicated a one-year forecast of $103. Of course, the media's been playing up $5 a gallon gas arriving in the United States by summer.

Gas prices can be a big motivator and may spur sales of electric cars, which could increase demand for electricity and potentially make more expensive renewables more appealing. But that's if planets align. And the public has proven fickle in its support for clean energy.

Such things just increase the stakes of the storage game. Success of the Tehachapi project could scale back or end the need for backup by fossil-fuel fired generating plants.

And that is a big deal.

Molecule may take counter-culture solar mainstream

When I was a kid in Fairbanks, I spent a lot of time at Denny Mehner's cabin.

Denny was a former professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks who had purchased a bit of remote land studded with old miners' cabins. A renaissance man and informal leader of our rather large counter-culture group, he painstakingly restored one of the buildings using wood he reclaimed from either the tumbledown facilities near the underground mine site nearby or from the many outbuildings slowly being reclaimed by boreal forest.

But his house had no electricity. Nor did it have running water. The outhouse was just off the front porch and behind a stand of trees. I once declined its use when I saw a somewhat angry 2-year-old brown bear in one of those trees one summer. Most of our homes were like his, small and easy to heat with wood stoves but without modern conveniences.  

To power his tiny turntable and play his Dylan, folk rock and Stones records, Denny used a number of automobile batteries that he rotated, charging them with jumper cables affixed to the old International pickup he'd purchased surplus from the Alaska Department of Transportation.

The system wasn't fancy, but it worked.

Remote power has gotten a lot more sophisticated since 1969-70. Should Denny have the cash, he could now purchase several solar panels for about $850 each and wire them up to his bank of batteries. Of course, there's the problem of Fairbanks winters when light dwindles to a trickle during the deep sub-zero winters.

Researchers at MIT have come up with a technological breakthrough that could make renewable-powered energy systems like Denny's self-supporting. In other words, a solar-powered home could be converted to supply electricity 24 hours a day without being hooked up to the grid.

Total independence. The hippies I grew up amongst would have loved it. Heck, I would have loved it. Kerosene lamps and candles, no TV and no electric pump to provide running water go only so far.

The breakthrough concept has to do with a molecule discovered in 1996 called fulvalene diruthenium. It absorbs sunlight then releases the energy as heat when combined with a catalyst.

According to an MIT press release, the process by which the molecule releases this energy while remaining stable indefinitely "could form the basis of a rechargeable battery to store heat rather than electricity."

One drawback. Fulvalene diruthenium is rare and expensive to the tune of about $650 per 100 grams of bulk product, according to The pure stuff is more than twice the cost. MIT officials said the team led by Jeffrey Grossman, the Carl Richard Soderberg associate professor of power engineering in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, will continue its research to find to "find similar chemicals based on more abundant, less expensive materials."

Should the team's search for a replacement chemical prove successful, solar power could enter an entirely new and more versatile phase. No longer would homes and businesses have to rely on the grid after sunset.

"It takes many of the advantages of solar-thermal energy, but stores the heat in the form of a fuel," Grossman said in the MIT release. "It’s reversible, and it’s stable over a long term. You can use it where you want, on demand. You could put the fuel in the sun, charge it up, then use the heat, and place the same fuel back in the sun to recharge."

Denny's still around though I haven't spoken with him for more than three decades. His son is an artist and works at the same university where his father once taught. My family got running water when we moved from our 18-by-32-foot log cabin to Anchorage in 1976. (Showers!)

I heard Denny built himself a massive round-log home down Goldstream Road from our cabin. You can bet it had bathrooms and electric lights.

The philosophy of his band of merry pranksters back then was self sufficiency and doing more with less. They wanted to live with nature, not in competition with it. The Last Whole Earth Catalog and Diet For a Small Planet were amongst the best read and followed books. So was the concept of super-insulated homes as many of the counter-culture group were highly educated and part of UAF's engineering programs. Denny built many homes with huge R values before anybody really knew what that was.

Here's a link to with the latest book from Ed McGrath. I inherited the first book of his, published in 1978, from some of mom's friends after they stayed on our floor after hitchhiking from Fairbanks. I read and reread it and still believe it to be one of the standard-bearers of the superinsulated movement.

As I grow older -- I'm hitting 50 this month -- I realize that many of the goals they pursued have gone from the fringe to mainstream. Energy efficiency, green energy, net-zero energy buildings and the like continue to win greater popularity with each passing year.

I wonder what Denny would say.

Photo: Ruthenium courtesy Tomihahndorf.

Storing Energy Is Key to Renewable Power

Energy storage, as guest columnist Rick Phelps of High Sierra Energy Foundation, noted in this recent blog, is crucial to the whole renewables effort. After all, wind and solar are intermittent, and we need to find ways to economically save the power for later use.

That's where two projects come in. In the first, Colorado-based Ice Energy has received $24 million in investment financing to support its deployment of utility-scale energy-storage projects, including a 53-megawatt project under way with the Southern California Public Power Authority, which includes 12 entities, including Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and municipal utilities in Anaheim, Riverside, Burbank and Glendale.

The joint powers authority delivers electricity to 2 million customers over an area of 7,000 square miles.

In the other, Southern California Edison announced an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy for a $25 million stimulus grant to develop and conduct a comprehensive demonstration of lithium-ion battery storage for energy generated by wind projects.

The DOE funding is one of 32 stimulus grants awarded late last year to demonstrate advanced Smart Grid technologies and integrated systems under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
SCE will use the funds to integrate wind-powered generation from the Tehachapi region in Southern California into the electric grid to help the state meet its ambitious renewable energy goals.

The $25 million DOE grant matches funds totaling $30 million provided by SCE and its partners, including a $1 million grant from the California Energy Commission, resulting in a total project cost of almost $60 million.

Meanwhile, the Ice Energy project would help reduce peak energy demand in California by shifting up to 40% to off-peak periods, which improves the reliability of the power grid. That leads to lower daytime energy consumption, increased efficiency, lower bills and a smaller environmental footprint.

"By using storage to change how - and more importantly when - energy is consumed by air conditioning, we can offset enough peak serve the equivalent of 10,000 homes," said Bill Carnahan, executive director of the power authority.

Ice Energy's system stores energy at thousands of locations and uses Smart Grid technology to intelligently dispatch the energy during peak periods. The $24 million provides the company with working and capital growth. The money came from several investment groups.

Not to be outdone are two utilities in Hawaii, which received a total of $2.1 million in federal stimulus money for energy-storage programs. $1.2 million is going to Maui Electric Co. and $900,000 is earmarked for Hawaii Electric Light Co.

The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization is a nonprofit dedicated to improving our region's quality of life by increasing its production and use of clean and alternative energy. The SJVCEO works with cities and counties and public and private organizations to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout the eight-county region of