net energy metering

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

wEEkly Update


Peer Request

To complement their work on energy efficiency and sustainability a local government is pursuing virtual net metering projects for their city. The local government is looking for specific details on cost, who paid for the project, payback for tenants, generation going to tenants including $ values, and who is managing allocations. If you can provide a contact or information on this subject please contact me at

Energy Efficiency Research

A UC San Diego graduate student is researching "frontier" energy efficiency policies. They are focused on how cities use existing inspection processes to promote energy efficiency upgrades and deter low-performing or unpermitted improvements. Please contact me at if you are willing to share your experience for this research project.

News and Opportunities

The ‘New Normal’ in America...
Is sustainable energy the new normal? Julia Pyper, Senior Editor at Greentech Media, reviews the 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.

Now Pairing With Energy Storage: Smart Thermostats
Ahead of time-of-use utility rates and the advent of residential energy storage options, smart thermostats paired with energy storage present a new opportunity for enhanced customer savings.

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. Final Deadline Today February 10.

Publications and Resources

New Buildings Institute ZNE Webinars 
The New Buildings Institute will be hosting two webinars focused on Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings. The webinars will focus on planning for districts and urban environments and risk and rewards in the ZNE marketplace.

Career Opportunities

Energy & Climate Program Director, Santa Barbara
The Community Environmental Council is seeking an experienced individual to become their new Energy & Climate Program Director. First round applications will be reviewed on Monday, February 27, 2017.

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. Open until filled.

Project Manager
The Local Government Commission has an immediate opening for a full-time project manager. They are seeking a mission-driven, detail-oriented person with a background in public affairs, local governance, and/or water policy and management.

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!

Cary Garcia Jr.
Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator
Funding Wizard | Energy Standards Online Resource Center

CivicSpark is now recruiting Project Partners for 2017-18
Over the past 3 years, CivicSpark, LGC's Governor's Initiative AmeriCorps program has provided 130,000+ hrs of climate and water capacity-building support to over 100 public agencies. If you are a local government, State agency, or an NGO with a climate or water action project need, visit our website to learn more and apply to receive project support!

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

Here are your wEEkly updates:

Peer-to-Peer Requests

Triple-Bottom-Line Accounting
A local government agency has requested information on cities and counties that practice triple-bottom-line or sustainable accounting. If your city or county has implemented triple-bottom-line accounting, or if you have any related resources, please let me know and I will get you in contact with this agency.

News and Opportunities

California Approves First US Energy Efficiency Standards for Computers
The new standards, approved by California's Energy Commission, requires most computers to draw less power while idle. Laptops are only required to see a slight reduction in power draw since they're already designed to be energy efficient. But only 6% of desktops currently meet the commission's standards. On average, noncompliant desktops will have to reduce their idle power draw by about 30% by 2019 and by about 50% by 2021, the commission says.

An Update on California's Distributed Energy Leadership
In a unanimous decision yesterday, California regulators created a new financial incentive pilot that encourages utilities to invest in DERs instead of more expensive traditional grid investments.

Microgrids Continue to Progress - With Some Bumps in the Road
Microgrids increasingly are being seen as a hedge against grid failure and as a way to more efficiently harness renewable resources. However, there is uncertainty for the future of microgrids as they grow at different rates in different areas and with potential decreases in research and development with the new Administration.
NYC Hospitals Reduce Energy Use by 10%
Transitioning to LEDs, solar panels, upgrading air handling units, replacing boilers, and steam trap replacement have been the common projects that enabled hospitals to reduce energy use.

RFP: Sustainable Communities Planning Grant and Incentives Program: Best Practices Pilot
The Strategic Growth Council in partnership with the Office of Planning and Research is soliciting proposals for an effort to support local land use planning related to climate and the State's statutory planning priorities. The program funding in the amount of $250,000 will be available for applicants to apply for up to $50,000. These grants will support the development and/or implementation of a specific portion of a land use plan, land protection or management practice, or development project. Proposals due January 11, 2017.

Job Opportunity: Energy and Water Coordinator, County of San Luis Obispo
The County of San Luis Obispo Department of Public Works is seeking an innovative and experienced individual who is committed to work as part of a team in delivering a broad range of energy-related projects at County facilities. The position covers a wide range of duties, such as energy monitoring and reporting to researching and implementing program/projects in the County's EnergyWise Plan. Applications due December 29, 2016.
Click the Calendar link to view all upcoming events.

1/25-1/26 (Sacramento) California Climate Change Symposium 2017
This forum aims to share cutting-edge research addressing the impacts of climate change on the state to inform the state's strategies and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to develop programs to safeguard California from a changing climate. Early-bird registration ends today, December 16th.

2/2/17 (St. Louis, MO) New Partners for Smart Growth Conference
Early-bird registration has been extended to December 16th  for the 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference. This conference is the nation's largest smart growth and sustainability event and has been named one of 12 conferences not to miss by Planetizen. Early Bird registration ends today, December 16th.

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. This popular conference always features a timely and inspirational program designed to provide the tools and support policymakers need to implement innovative solutions to address society's most pressing challenges. This year's conference will be no different with its focus on sustaining our progress and protecting the American dream.

5/5/17 (Long Beach) The Business of Local Energy Symposium 2017
The Center for Climate Protection along with the Local Government Commission and the Local Government Sustainable Energy Coalition is offering their third Business of Clean Energy Symposium to convene government, business, and community leaders to accelerate California's shift to a clean energy economy and to exchange ideas about Community Choice Energy programs. Save the date - registration will open in January.

Resources and Reports

2017 Building Intelligence Predictions
Podcast on building intelligence to accelerate savings, equity growth, occupant satisfaction and the arrival of smart, connected cities in 2017.

Re-Assessment of Net Energy Production and GHG Emissions Avoidance After 40 Years of Photovoltaics Development
This report shows strong downward trends of environmental impact of photovoltaic production, following the experience of curve law, and shows a break-even between the cumulative disadvantages and benefits of photovoltaics, for both energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, occurs between 1997 and 2018 depending on photovoltaic performance and model uncertainties.

The Benefits of Solar + Storage for Commercial and Public Buildings
A combined solar + storage system can firm and smooth the energy used onsite, reducing demand charge risk due to solar intermittency, and results in more reliable reduction of energy and demand charge-related electricity expenses. Additionally, a combined solution can enhance the resilience of a building's power supply, a key consideration for critical facilities in the face of increasingly common power outages in some areas.

The Challenge of Decarbonizing the U.S. Power Sector: Encouraging Innovation and Aligning Stakeholder Interests
This working paper describes current U.S. power sector trends and relevant environmental goals, ways that technology innovation could proceed or be interrupted, and three emerging low- and zero-carbon technologies generally considered leading options for meeting the decarbonization challenges. It concludes with ideas from a range of experts to meet GHG reduction goals and accelerate innovation to advance low-carbon generation.


And that's all for this week! 

Farmers say measure helps generate renewable energy

A bill in the California Legislature would make it easier for farmers and others to cleanly convert agricultural waste like almond hulls into electricity and feed it into the energy grid, supporters contend.

The measure, SB 489, which has been dubbed the Renewable Energy Equity Act, would give bioenergy the same regulatory bragging rights now given to other forms of alternative energy.

Current regulations make bioenergy systems costly to connect to the state's energy grid and thus more difficult to economically justify, proponents of the bill say. State law allows solar, wind, biogas and fuel cell power generating systems of 1 megawatt or less to connect to the grid through a simpler process called net energy metering.

SB 489 would allow small bioenergy systems to do the same. In a similar measure, Gov. Schwarznegger in October 2009 signed AB 920 into law, requiring California utilities to compensate homeowners with solar systems for surplus energy produced.

Net energy metering

The net energy metering program allows utility customers who generate their own power to get paid for the power they feed back into the grid. Credit earned offsets a customer's utility bill.

Net energy metering is "an important element of the policy framework supporting direct customer investment in grid-tied distributed renewable energy generation," according to the California Public Utilities Commission.

A fact sheet produced by state Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Sacramento, says connecting other forms of clean energy to the grid now "requires going through the longer, more arduous, and very expensive feed-in-tariff process."

Wolk says that for smaller energy producers, costs incurred by the longer process often outweigh the benefits.

Dixon Ridge Farms

Katrina Schwartz writes in KQED's Climate Watch blog about Russ Lester, owner of Dixon Ridge Farms in Yolo County, and his efforts to get the rules changed. Lester has installed a 50-kilowatt biogasifier that burns walnut shells at high temperatures to create fuel to run his generator and heat to dry his walnuts, Schwartz says.

Lester, who grows organic walnuts, is among about 50 groups and individuals listed by the California Climate & Agriculture Network, or CalCAN, as supporting Wolk's measure. The bill has passed the Senate and its first two Assembly committees. It next heads to the Appropriations Committee and then to the full Assembly.

CalCAN says SB 489 will allow agricultural businesses to more easily and economically convert agricultural waste into clean renewable energy, help reduce the need for new power plants and transmission infrastructure and save money on their power bills. "Expanding the program will also help the state reach both its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals and also its renewable energy goals," officials say.

A number of manufacturers of multiple technologies advertised as "clean and green" may benefit from SB 489.

Bioenergy lights up rural India

Kate Greene of reports on a similar move by startup Husk Power Systems, based in the state of Bihar, India rolling out rice husk-using biomass power plants to rural areas of the populous Asian nation. The plants are small, about 40 megawatts -- but bring power to communities that often relied on kerosene for lighting.

The Husk Power website quotes Rambalak Yadav, a teacher the "remote and run-down village of Tamkuha, literally meaning Fog of Darkness," as saying, "After 60 independent years, we have found freedom from darkness."

While the effect in this country is much less pronounced, the results of local energy are the same. And for Husk, the concept is proving successful. The company has installed at least 30 of the plants and plans to increase that number a couple thousand in the next several years.

Bioenergy gets government support

The U.S. Department of Energy also believes in bioenergy, releasing the report, "U.S. Billion-Ton Update: Biomass Supply for a Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industry" in August 2011. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven says the study identifies resources "that can help grow America’s bioenergy industry and support new economic opportunities for rural America."

Chu says developing the next generation of American biofuels and bioenergy will help diversify the nation's energy portfolio, reduce dependence on foreign oil and produce new clean energy jobs.

I learned about a couple of bioenergy systems back in 2009 at a trade show. Both touted better-than-fossil-fuel emissions. One involved biomass gasification, the other pyrolytic thermal conversion of biomass. Both involved turning animal waste into gas and listed emissions that met strict air-quality standards.

I came away after talking with the representatives thinking American ingenuity is truly an amazing thing.

Photo: Courtesy McDougall Trading, a company that represents more than 40 almond hullers in California.