We believe that energy efficiency and clean energy lead to a better quality of life. Follow our blog for news on energy efforts in California's San Joaquin Valley, green jobs, sustainability, cats with a love of conservation, and occasionally odes to our self-appointed Energy Ambassador, Lionel Richie. Please leave a comment.
used to be considered a non-reusable waste product, but over the last decade or
so, a number of benefits of the gas have come to light and biogas is now
recognized as a renewable energy source for fuel, electricity and thermal
The folks at Unison
Solutions in Dubuque, IA have created BioCNG™,
a system that converts biogas into a gaseous fuel for vehicles, much like your
typical clean natural gas (CNG). Jan Scott, President of Unison Solutions, gave a webinar – “Converting
Biogas into Vehicle Fuel” – for Sustainable City Network
about his company’s work, the process of turning biogas into usable vehicle
fuel and some interesting facts about this renewable energy source.
The customary process for turning biogas into a renewable
energy source seems simple enough. A lot needs to be removed from biogas after
it has been extracted from landfills and digesters and before it can be used
for energy. First, the biogas goes through hydrogen sulfide removal and then it
is compressed. The gas needs to be completely dry, and so the moisture removal
process is crucial. Once this is complete, the gas enters a Siloxane, Volatile
Organice Compounds (VOC) and Carbon Dioxide removal process and then the fuel
is ready for use in boilers, turbines and internal combustion (IC) engines. Unison Solutions notes that BioCNG™ is ready for use in CNG vehicle fueling
stations and CNG vehicles at this point as well.
Jan Scott presented a bunch of inspiring tidbits about CNG
in his webinar.
The one that shocked me the most is that the US ranks 17th in the
world for number of CNG vehicles on the roads (120,000 compared to more than
15.2 million worldwide). There are several existing reports about how much further along
Europe is than we are in the states with these vehicles, but you’ll be
interested to know that no European country is in the top five either. Nearly
19% of all CNG vehicles in the world are in Iran! Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil,
and India complete the top five. Most of these countries are developing
nations, yet they’ve managed to bring far more clean vehicles and the
infrastructure that supports them to their roads than we have.
In 2011 alone, CNG vehicles offset the use of over 350
MILLION gallons of gas. AND 40% of all waste haulers purchased in the same year
were CNG. Imagine what we could do if we took alternative fuel and vehicles a
little more seriously in this country. To top this all off, CNG costs at least
$1.50-$2.00 less per GGE (Gasoline Gallon Equivalent: 120,000 BTU/Gallon) than
gasoline does. That’s huge! (Source: Jan Scott's webinar)
So, not to sound like a broken record, but we have a lot of concepts
and technology out there to get cleaner vehicles on our country's roads. This stuff is far from untapped, but it can
certainly seem that way when I look at how much other countries have
accomplished in this area. America… let’s do better. Seriously.
Look for a Climate Credit from the State of
California on Your October Utility Bill
This month your electricity bill will include a credit identified
as the "California Climate Credit." Twice a year, in April and
October*, your household and millions of others throughout the state will
receive this credit on your electricity bills.
The Climate Credit is a payment to Californians from a program
designed to fight climate change by limiting the amount of greenhouse gas
pollution that our largest industries put into the atmosphere.
This program is one of many developed as a result of landmark
legislation called the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which puts
California at the forefront of efforts to battle climate change. Other programs
under this law increase clean, renewable forms of electricity, promote energy
efficiency in homes and businesses, and require cleaner fuels, and more
efficient cars and trucks.
Together, these programs will aid in reducing greenhouse gas
emissions that trap heat in the atmosphere–helping to clean the air and protect
our food, water, and public health, as well as the beauty of our state.
The Climate Credit is designed to help you join with California in
its efforts to fight climate change and clean the air. You can use the savings
on your electricity bills however you choose, but you can save even more money
by investing the bill savings from your Climate Credit in energy-saving home
upgrades, including more efficient lights and appliances. You can find more
information and receive rebates for these and many other energy efficient
choices for your home at www.EnergyUpgradeCA.org/credit.
California's greenhouse gas reduction programs provide a range of
powerful solutions to help slow climate change, one of the greatest challenges
facing society. By gradually reducing emissions each year and moving to cleaner
forms of energy, we are taking an important step to preserve the health and
prosperity of our state for generations to come.
periods vary by utility and may not always coincide with a calendar month. If
you don't see a Climate Credit in the bill that arrives in October, it will
appear in the bill you receive in November.
The CPUC regulates privately owned electric companies and serves
the public interest by protecting consumers and ensuring the provision of safe,
reliable utility service and infrastructure at reasonable rates, with a
commitment to environmental enhancement and a healthy California economy. For
more information about our work contact us at: email@example.com, 800-253-0500, or visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.
Our SJVCEO team continues
to master the art of energy efficiency within our participating jurisdictions
and put projects into motion. Each day we come to work with a new scope of work
to tackle to save others dollars and energy, and enjoy every minute of it!
few of our team members have completed hands on training for integrated demand
side management. This course was presented by Southern California Edison and
was centered on response programs that can benefit municipality’s utility
bills. The presenter also discussed distributed generation and energy storage
technologies. The demand response historical data is currently being
incorporated into the project tracking database that SJVCEO is creating for its
municipalities and utility partners.
a few of our team members attended the California Partnership for the San
Joaquin Valley Summit.
Sarah Farell, our program administrator (and head of our Seattle office) was in town to attend the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley annual summit. This event provided an opportunity for individuals, local
governments, educational institutions, and businesses alike to share currents
about the Valley as well as potential and up-and-coming events and projects in industries such as agriculture, water,
housing, workforce development, energy, transportation, health care, and
education. The event also celebrates the work of a variety of groups. This
year, a “kudos” award went to the co-chairs of the San Joaquin Valley Electric
Vehicle Partnership, Jeannie Lam of Nissan North America and Terry O’Day of NRG
eVgo. This Partnership was set up through the WIB RICO grant by its Action Team
which includes the SJVCEO, Fresno State Office of Community and Economic
Development, the San Joaquin Valley Clean Cities Coalition, Kern Community
College District, and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.
As we move into
the month of October our team is ramping up for all ten of our community outreach events. During these events our team
goes out into the community and shows residence how easy it is to become energy
efficient and save! Also, we have some great giveaway items that draw in the
crowds and in return they walk away with a bit of energy knowledge. Stay tuned
to the SJVCEO and VIEW website to see what upcoming events may be taking place
in your neighborhood.
the mention of the website, that leads us to a very exciting update on our
website work. SJVCEO and the VIEW partnership will be receiving a website an
update this year. We will be rolling out both of our websites in the coming
months, so stay tuned. All of us here at SJVCEO are very excited and we hope
that you are too!
Stay tuned for next month’s update on what the SJVCEO team has
been up to!
your energy usage in the past has been a pain for many home owners and business owners
alike. Now in 2014 there are many options available for download on your smartphone. Having your energy usage at your fingertips
can make it easy to see when and how you can conserve and SAVE!
Most applications offered are compatible with iPhone and Android
operating systems. Most of all they are generally FREE! We have done some investigating and found the top 5 ranking energy
tracking/efficiency apps available today. (Note: these apps are not listed in ranking order)
This app allows you to track your monthly energy usage
month-to-month as well as show you what your carbon footprint may be. The app will also make
recommendations for how to conserve energy based on your energy usage.
This app lets you put in the wattage information of
your appliances so that you gain a clear picture of what it costs to operate
them. The cost is based on watts, hours of use and the cost of electricity in
This app works as a dashboard of energy usage for the consumer. It will
give you insight into where your energy consumption is coming from and how you
rank compared to your neighbors. This app goes beyond the others and allows you
to measure water and natural gas usage if you have those as well.On top of it all the app will help you identify
trouble areas and propose ways to reduce your overall utility bill.
This app has a main
focus on energy efficient home improvements and lowering monthly utility
bills. It will provide you with a range of calculators and guides that will
help reduce your energy consumption and energy loss.
I know that was all a mouthful, but consider this: the RICO
grant program will develop and implement ways to strengthen local economies and
build the alternative fuel and vehicle workforce in California.
What does that mean and who cares, you ask? Well, transportation
fuels account for 38% of greenhouse gas emissions in California. So if we build the ARFV
industry, we’ll find cleaner, more efficient ways to transport goods and people.
To design and manufacture these new methods of transportation, we’ll need
skilled engineers, chemists, machinists, salespersons, etc. Hello new, expanded
workforce! And hello stronger economies!
The SJVCEO’s role
is to promote and generate focus on this grant program through education and
outreach. Now that we are nearly a year into this grant process, we have found several industry employers all over the Valley interested in our efforts. We launched a CNG Partnership, a Biofuels Partnership and an EV Partnership. While the EV Partnership has had the most success, we are still dedicated to expanding the efforts of all ARFV industry employers throughout the Valley. Our air is so polluted and we contribute to it daily with how much we all individually drive, it has only become necessary to bring alternative and renewable fuels and vehicles to this region.
Keep an eye out for press releases about Partnership meetings and join us! We hope to see you and hear from you about our efforts and how we can expand this industry in the Valley.
Over the past month our new SJVCEO team has been on the move and pushing forward! Our team members have been learning the new technologies our utility partners are rolling out, gearing up for community events as well as moving forward with some of our grant extensions. Our team has completed the Energy Insight training with one of our utility partners;
PG&E. Energy Insight will allow our team members to have a clear picture of
where our energy efficiency projects stand with our outside contractors and
PG&E. This database allows our members to follow projects from cradle to
grave to make sure our customers are fully satisfied.
October being energy awareness month we are gearing up for our community
outreach events. These community outreach events allow the SJVCEO team to get
out into the community and show how easy and affordable it is to make energy efficiency
updates. We hope you will stay tuned to the SJVCEO website as well as social media sites, twitter and facebook, for upcoming events.
along with the other SJV Action Team Members – Fresno State Office of Community
and Economic Development (OCED), San Joaquin Valley Clean Cities Coalition (SJVCCC),
San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD), and the Kern
Community College District (KCCD) – for the Workforce Investment Board Regional
Industry Clusters of Opportunity (WIB RICO) grant have received an extension of
funding to continue supporting and expanding the Alternative and Renewable Fuel
and Vehicle Technology (ARFVT) industry in the Valley. We have created two new
Valley-based Partnerships to support this effort; the CNG Partnership and EV
Partnership have gained interest from dealerships, fueling and charging station
manufacturers and deployment, automotive repair establishments, school
districts, etc. Our goal is to clean up the Valley’s air, cut down on GHG
emissions from transportation, build a more extensive and sustainable network
of alternative fueling stations, and educate the Valley’s residents about the
importance and benefits of owning and/or using a cleaner vehicle.
is conducting preliminary research on developing a Cool Roof Policy in the
Valley. The Valley suffers from Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect, which
contributes to poorer air quality, quality of life, life expectancy, and a
higher demand for cooling capabilities. Introducing a Cool Roof Ordinance could
decrease cooling costs in the summer, improve air quality and decrease number
of health issues related to excessive heat. In addition, a Cool Roof Ordinance
could include measures such as cool playgrounds and parking lots, which would
extend people’s abilities to stay outside and enjoy outdoor activities thus
improving their quality of life in the Valley.
Lastly, SJVCEO is continuously
developing a project tracking database. This database will provide a
centralized location of data from multiple sources including Energy Star Portfolio Manager and the Utilities Program Management. Current plans of the database
will be ready to share at the Local Government Commission for Central California in
Paso Robles on October 10th.
tuned for next month’s update on what the SJVCEO team has been up to!
sponsoring a CCSE- administered rebate
program for zero-emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Whether you want to buy
or lease one of these light-duty vehicles, you can get up to $2,500 through the
Rebate Project. The website has an extensive list of eligible vehicles, links
to apply for the rebates easily online, project statistics, and informative
The Drive Clean! Rebate Program,
administered by the SJVAPCD, offers up to $3,000 for new vehicles purchases and
leases. Check the eligible
vehicle list and apply for your well-deserved rebate using this fillable
W9 form. If you need more information about all these vehicles, check out
this DriveClean Buying Guide. You
can access a quick vehicle compare and a Plug-In EV Resource Center or even calculate
your savings by rebates and incentives.
also has a Vanpool
Voucher program to promote carpools for SJV residents. So many people
commute 20 miles or more for work by themselves in inefficient vehicles, and this
rideshare program would alleviate congestion on the roads and vehicle
emissions. The incentive is worth up to $360 a year and you can apply using
form. The SJVAPCD has a number of other grants and incentive programs that
target improving our air quality. Check them out here!
If you manage
a fleet that only operates in California, you could be eligible for this Hybrid and Zero-Emission
Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP). Vouchers are somewhat
limited, but they are worth anywhere from $6,000 to $45,000 for each qualified new
hybrid or electric truck or bus you buy. Eligible vehicles can be found here
and the website has information for all dealers, fleets and vehicle makers. As long
as your fleet operates only in California, it is eligible for this project, no
matter the size or whether it is private or public.
There is a
lot to take advantage of and I suggest you look into these if you’re considering
a new vehicle! The technologies are only getting better and our air seems to
only be getting worse, especially with this recent drought. So, do your part!
For those of you who know who Joseph Oldham is you likely are on his email distribution list and receive this update each week. We are grateful that Joseph has agreed to allow our little blog to re-post his weekly update. If you have an interest in the happenings of energy efficiency and local government throughout California this is the update for you! If you love the information here, but want more in depth features be sure to check out Joseph's quarterly newsletter, CURRENTS.
1.2013 Non-Residential Energy Code Checklists
The California Statewide
Codes & Standards Program is pleased to announce the release of 9 new Checklists designed to help
"decode" California's 2013 building energy code. These easy-to-use
checklists provide step-by-step guidance on Title 24, Part 6 requirements for
nonresidential plans checks and field inspections. Download and print them for
easy "low-tech" use in the field. To access more information, go
to these links:
The City of Berkeley is seeking
examples of RFPs for water and energy performance contracts. If you have one, please send it to
Neal De Snoo firstname.lastname@example.org.
3.Solar Roadmapping Update
Cities and counties interested in
increasing use of solar in their communities should consider a solar road
mapping program funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE). Solar Roadmap makes
it easier, faster, and more affordable for communities to install solar and
transform their solar market. Solar Roadmap works by unlocking
communities’ full solar market potential through five key focus areas: Solar
Market Development; Project Financing Tools; Permitting Process Improvements;
Planning and Zoning Standards; and Interconnection Processes.
This DOE-led program:
·Requires minimal staff time
·Provides proven approaches to
streamline processes, reduce staff staff time. and increase efficiency;
·Requires no financial commitment
or cost to participate. Funding already provided by DOE;
·Provides free solar technical
feasibility assistance for sites and consulting over the next 2 years; and,
·Currently has over 70 city and
county participants in California.
If you would like to learn more or determine how you
might participate in this program, please get in touch with Karly Zimmerman at
Strategic Energy Innovations at 415.507.1430; email@example.com
5.SCHEDULE CHANGE for Public Workshops on the
Investment of Cap-and-Trade
Auction Proceeds to Benefit Disadvantaged Communities
HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED TO SEPTEMBER
The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) and Air
Resources Board (ARB) invite you to participate in public
workshops to discuss investment of Cap-and-Trade auction
proceeds. Topics will include: the identification of
disadvantaged communities, development of guidance on maximizing
the benefits to disadvantaged communities, and how to determine
what counts as benefiting those communities.
The workshop will be held in three locations as indicated below;
each workshop will cover the same topics.
FRESNO Workshop: August 25, 2014
LOS ANGELES Workshop: August 26, 2014 OAKLAND Workshop: September 3, 2014 (NEW DATE)
The dates that workshop materials will be available have also
been updated. CalEPA will release information about approaches
to identifying disadvantaged communities by August 15th and ARB
will release draft interim guidance for State agencies to
maximize benefits in disadvantaged communities, including
criteria to determine which projects benefit disadvantaged
communities, by August 20th.
The detailed notice for these workshops and workshop materials on
the investment of auction proceeds to benefit disadvantaged
communities will be made available at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/auctionproceeds
6.Program Opportunity Notice - PON-14-305 - Demonstrating
Bioenergy Solutions That Support California's Industries, the Environment, and
Notice - PON-14-305
Electric Program Investment Charge
Demonstrating Bioenergy Solutions That Support California's Industries, the
Environment, and the Grid
Deadline to Submit Applications: November 7, 2014 by 3:00 p.m.
Purpose of Solicitation
The purpose of this solicitation is to fund technology demonstration and
deployment projects that demonstrate and appraise the operational and
performance characteristics of pre-commercial biomass conversion technologies,
generation systems, and development strategies.
Energy Commission staff will hold one Pre-Application Workshop to discuss the
solicitation with applicants. Participation is optional but encouraged.
Applicants may attend the workshop in-person, via WebEx, or via conference call
on the date and at the time and location listed below.
August 21, 2014 workshop:
California Energy Commission
1516 9th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Hearing Room A
August 26, 2014 workshop:
South Coast Air Quality Management District
21865 Copley Drive
Diamond bar, CA 91765
7.Whole House Draft
Report Posted for Review and Comment on Public Document Area Site
The draft report for
the Whole House Impact Evaluation has been posted to the PDA site. To view the document and/or provide
comments on the report visit the PDA athttp://www.energydataweb.com/cpuc,
click on the “Search” tab at the top of the page then scroll down to the bottom
and type the following in the search box:
Comments should be
uploaded to the website by clicking the comment box.
Comments are due by August 27, 2014 on the Public
Document Area. Final report will be posted on September 5, 2014.
It's that time of year again! Colleges and preK-12 schools are opening their doors for another year of teaching and learning. Most of you - whether you’re a student, teacher or parent - will have an
emptier home over the next 9-10 months. An emptier home provides endless
opportunities to lower that energy bill! Here are some energy-saving tips that
I follow as well as others from energyinyourlife.com:
off the thermostat completely, or...
up the thermostat to 78 degrees or higher when using AC
Turn down the thermostat to 68 degrees or lower when using heat
the temperature remotely using a programmable thermostat and your smartphone
out all the food you’ll use from the fridge at once - opening it multiple times uses an exorbitant amount of unnecessary energy
'An Air Alert is a notification that the Valley is currently
experiencing conditions that may lead to exceeding a health-based ozone
(smog) standard. Air Alerts are issued Valley-wide. In addition to the negative effects on our health, ozone exceedances
can also result in monetary penalties to the Valley. This would impose
severe financial burdens on Valley businesses and, ultimately, our
residents.When an Air Alert is called by the Air District, Valley residents and
businesses are advised to put into place measures that reduce vehicle
How can you help?
Utilize other modes of transportation such as riding mass transit, walking, or bicycling
Bundle your errands
Don't let your car idle - turn it off when waiting for an extended period of time!
The SJVCEO fully supports efforts to keep the San Joaquin Valley and its
residents safe and healthy. Employees at Professional Exchange, the
association management company which houses the SJVCEO, are doing their part by
eating lunch in the office break room instead of using their vehicles to
look for food elsewhere. Great job!