Friday, February 27, 2015

The Green Teams Part III

See? It's just so pretty!
Photo Source:
I was in San Francisco for Super Bowl XLVII; it was devastating. I’ve never seen the city so depressed. There’s hope for 49ers fans, though, as well as a new, shiny stadium. Santa Clara is their new home and, boy is it beautiful. It’s crazy efficient, too! There is a 20,000 square foot green roof… I know, SO cool. The stadium is using reclaimed water for drinkable and irrigation purposes and has incorporated recycled materials into the design. The stadium is also partnering with local vendors to create farm-to-table options for ticket holders. How awesome is that? And in addition to these already ground-breaking inclusions, a local company called SunPower is partnering with the new Levi’s Stadium to supply enough solar panels to produce sufficient electricity to compensate for all the power used for home games each year. True story.

I think (I hope!) the publicity of this installment as well as the one at the Pocono Raceway will help convince solar-naysayers that this great country we live in CAN produce ample amounts of renewable energy and maybe we should start viewing it as a reliable and clean supplier of grid power. I understand there’s a high initial cost, but there are loan and third party programs out there, among others. If solar can be implemented and rewards can be reaped on such a huge scale AND in a setting we all enjoy and support daily as a united community, we should be able to incorporate it on a smaller scale, too, without so much backlash, don’t ya think?

Speaking of renewable energy on a large scale, Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians, installed solar way back in 2007 (the stadium was one of the first in the US to do so). The Indians have really been getting after energy savings through green initiatives. The stadium was also the first in the MLB to install a wind turbine. Installed last year, the turbine incorporates LED lights and kiosks for fans to learn about wind energy. See Mom, sporting events can be educational, too! Furthermore, staff attends an annual class about the stadium’s newest green practices, encouraging them to implement their knowledge at home and in their communities. Start on a small scale and cause a chain reaction… I’ve always believed this is the way to get people on board to save the environment!

The Indians also have some great ideas for future projects, which include following in the footsteps of the 49ers and building a green roof. I know I’ll probably be judged and condemned for saying this, but even though popcorn and hotdogs are the staple snack at baseball games, I am a sucker for fruit right off the tree and veggies right out of the ground. I would be more than happy to pay $20 for that and be able to pick it myself IN THE STADIUM than pay that kind of money for some processed meat and watery beer (sorry Keystone and Miller Light lovers! I’m really just not into it. The commercial above is more up my alley.).  Want to read more about the Indians and their energy-saving super powers? See pages 69-72.

NHL fans, I have not forgotten about you! Plus, even the NCAA is implementing sustainability programs. The big leagues aren’t the only ones who get to have all the fun! Stay tuned, loyal followers. More energy efficiency in sports to come!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Stay Up to Date with SJVCEO: February Update

SJVCEO is moving right along with steam for the month of February. We continue to work with our local government partners on energy upgrades as well as businesses with our energy efficiency energy challenge.

During the month of February SJVCEO launched our Municipal Energy Tune Up (METU) program which works with Fresno, Kern and Madera Counties.  METU will bring energy benchmarking services as well as municipal readiness plans for municipalities within the outlined jurisdictions. This program will collect measureable information from municipal buildings to show energy consumption as well as track energy changes and GHG emissions. Once energy data is collected and analyzed, local governments will be able to set priorities and targets for energy efficiency goals. Our team will also assist municipal staff throughout the life span of projects to make sure that projects are completed to satisfaction. Our staff will be working with two CivicSpark members Zenia Montero and Tommy Ta to speed our projects along. CivicSpark is a new statewide Governor’s Initiative for AmeriCorps, led by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the State of California along with a network of regional organizations to combat the effects of climate change by mobilizing 48 AmeriCorps Members annually to implement innovative local climate change projects in communities across the state.

We are also happy to continue to promote the VIEW Partnerships energy challenge, Kill-A-Watt Krackdown.  The Partnership is making meaningful connections with local business owners to help them improve their bottom line and save energy. We are currently working on setting up informational meetings with local chambers and small business associations. Keep an eye out for promotional information! If you are interested and or have any questions about the energy challenge please contact the VIEW Partnership.

As we continue to be a part of the Electric Vehicle Partnership we are happy to announce that we have updated information on our Facebook group as well as our Linkedin group. If are interested in what the partnership has going on stayed tuned to both pages for information as well as resources.

Stay tuned for next months update!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

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.   Future of Cities Conference - Feb 26

WRCOG is co-hosting the Future of Cities 2015: A Quest for Sustainability on Feb. 26 at the Riverside Convention Center.  For full details and registration information, please go to this link: .

2.     Decoding Commissioning - Free Title 24, Part 6 Training

Energy Code Ace will be hosting four free webinars to help building department personnel and industry professionals understand the Title 24, Part 6 commissioning requirements.  This interactive event will review:
 - Preparing for the documentation process;
 - Implementing the commissioning measures;
 - Coordination and communication throughout design and construction; and
 - Available job aides and resources.

Space is limited, so register as soon as possible.  Sessions are available:
Date                                             Time
Tuesday, March 10, 2015            9:00 am - 11:00 am
Tuesday, March 10, 2015            2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Wednesday, March 11, 2015      9:00 am - 11:00 am
Thursday, March 12, 2015          9:00 am - 11:00 am

For more information on these free webinars, please contact:
This program is funded by California utility customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission and in support of the California Energy Commission.
Help With the 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards
For assistance with understanding or locating information in the 2013 Energy Standards, contact the Energy Standards Hotline at: (800) 772-3300 (toll-free in California); (916) 654-5106 (outside California); or via email at
For more information:
(If link above doesn't work, please copy entire link into your web browser's URL)

3.     Report: How to Make Your Energy Retrofit Happen
Good report; well worth downloading and reading.  To get the report and some background, go to this link:

4.     How Does Energy Asset Score Differ from Energy Star Score?
The Asset Score is a free, web-based software tool developed by DOE and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) that assesses the physical and structural energy efficiency of commercial and multifamily buildings.  To learn more and find out about an upcoming webinar on how the score compliments Portfolio Manager, go here:

That is all for this week! I will be traveling in Sonoma County and Northern California all next week, so the next Weekly Updates will be on March 6.    

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Contains Solar!

Photovoltaic systems, more commonly known as solar panels, are a great way to hedge against future increases in fuel costs that ultimately drive up utility rates.  They’ve also been known to both increase the life of roofs, as well as property value.  In fact, the State of California wants all new homes to be net-zero energy (i.e. they generate as much energy as they consume) by 2020.  But what happens when all those solar arrays come online and start winding meters backwards?
The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) has actually thought about this question, and provided a chart with how they expect the future to look:


As you can see from the chart, beginning at 8am the net load (actual minus distributed generation like rooftop solar) drops.  While everyone is at work, our solar panels are beginning to generate electricity.  Since most of us aren’t at home, this energy goes straight to where it’s being used and you get a credit on your bill.  The “duck belly” indicates just that, and it only gets bigger as solar becomes increasingly commonplace.  This is fantastic, because when solar distributed generation supplies an abundant amount of electricity, more polluting power plants can be shut down or ramped down.  However, as the workday comes to an end and we all drive home, the sun goes down, we kick on our heaters and air conditioners, resulting in a big load that solar panels can’t support.  That sudden jump in demand around 6pm requires an orchestrated effort on CAISO’s side to ramp up massive plants to meet the state’s need.  But ideally, the demand curve should be flat, making the need to purchase energy very stable and thus reliable and cheaper. 

There’s been a lot of interesting ideas floating around on how to store the energy generated during the day, which would either smooth out or flatten the “duck’s head”.  Smoothing or flattening out the demand curve would presumably make purchasing energy a lot easier and thus cheaper, because electricity has to be consumed (or stored) when generated—if you purchase too much, then you must consume or store it; if you purchase too little, you have rolling blackouts.  Currently PG&E has a reservoir plant that pumps water from a lower reservoir to one higher when energy is in low demand (thus low costs) and feeds it through turbines when prices and demand are higher.  Other ideas include sending excess power to electric water heaters (storing in the sense that you won’t have to heat water as much when hot water is in demand), storing the energy in concrete in the form of heat, forming huge ice blocks that cool large buildings, and of course large-scale batteries.  With battery technology becoming more popular due to hybrid-electric, plug-in electric and all-electric vehicles, we could very well have our grid supported solely by renewables and stored energy technologies in the coming years. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Green Teams Part II

I try to be energy conscious and waste as little as I can. Then again, I am lucky to live in a part of the country that allows me use public transportation (or walk) to almost any destination, does not have air conditioning in any apartments and has compost and recycling bins nearly everywhere. (For those of you that don't know, I moved to Seattle! and am happily still working full-time for the Clean Energy Organization.) I never use a hair dryer for more than a few minutes and only run big appliances (laundry, dishwasher) after peak hours. My microwave and stove get used once a day, max. But this is energy use on a very small scale for one very small person. 

SCREAMS inefficiency
Photo Source:
So what happens when, instead of being in charge of just your own energy use, you’re suddenly in charge of hosting tens, even hundreds, of thousands of fans (who are hungry and thirsty, cold or hot, and may be seated far from the action of the game) in a stadium that holds all of these people, food and ticketing staff, security plus the stars of the event and their managers, coaches, team owners, etc? Not only is there a need for several food and beverage booths, powerful HVAC systems, jumbotrons, surround sound speaker systems, expansive locker rooms, and numerous multi-stall bathrooms, but everything (and by everything, I mean every nook and cranny) has to be brightly lit and perfectly air conditioned. That sentence included A LOT of energy-draining things, which can only mean that the energy needed to power all of them is nothing shy of A TON. And as I mentioned in Part I of this mini-series, it seems hypocritical to live as I do and work where I do when I also snatch up every opportunity I get to go to one of these events.

We energy-enthusiast sports fans got lucky, though, because the industry has been significantly decreasing its energy use for a few years now. At this massive scale, energy use will always be high, but hosting these events in a LEED building or incorporating solar panels does make a difference. Take the Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania for example. In 2010, 40,000 solar panels were installed; they power the entire facility and cut the raceway’s annual energy bill by over $500,000! That’s a lot of savings! It was also the first raceway to participate in the Dream Machine program, which provides a fast and easy way for fans to recycle. You can read more about these and other green initiatives here; and think about incorporating similar practices yourself because as the Raceway itself declares, “it’s not that tricky”.

Photo Source:
I've been playing tennis for nearly two decades now and learning that the US Open Tennis Center in Queens has been going green since they launched a pilot program in 2008 with NRDC (thanks to the amazing Billie Jean King, see pages 24-26) made me very ecstatic indeed! Initiatives cover recycling, transportation, energy management, and many more facets of the jam-packed two-week event, including event merchandise. The Center reduced water flow by 75 percent (!!!) in 2011 with new low-flow faucets; all match balls are reused in summer camps or donated to community organizations; all tennis ball canisters are taken apart so each metal and plastic component can be recycled separately and correctly. Plus, the Center composts almost all of its waste, down to the cooking oil. What does this amount to each year? HUGE savings and hundreds of tons of waste diverted from landfills. Can’t beat that!

NFL and MLB fans, stay tuned for Part III!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tesla Motors Comes to the San Joaquin Valley

A Tesla – either model, I’m not picky – is my dream car. I could go 200+ miles on a full charge, and make it across the country using the Supercharge stations that have been strategically placed along a Northern route, with more concentrated near big cities.

Unfortunately, I don’t now, and probably never will, have the means to support or validate a purchase with such a hefty price tag. In the San Joaquin Valley the roads boast a fairly good number of Chevy Volts and Nissan Leafs, but only a handful of Teslas. Teslas are far too expensive for most of those in the Valley and Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, has not shown much interest in the more underserved areas of America. The San Joaquin Valley, for example, is massive. Yet there is only one Tesla Supercharge Station at Tejon Ranch in Lebec and one at Harris Ranch near Coalinga; most stations in California are along the coast. Just check out the map below that displays the Supercharge Station Network; it skips over the much of the country I would have expected:

Photo Source:

Additionally, this charging technology is not very adaptable to other Electric Vehicle (EV) models and there doesn’t seem to be a movement to alter this any time soon. The technical issues that prohibit this should be easily fixable. Connectors for electric vehicle charging should be the same across all electric vehicles just as they are for gas cars. It would be absurd if we had one gas station specifically for Toyotas, one for Hondas, one for BMWs, etc. So why is this any different for electric cars? Yes, Tesla batteries are far bigger than those in other electric vehicles, which is necessary for the 200 mile range. Gas stations have various options for customers, and so Supercharge Stations should, too.

It's so pretty! I'll take one in every color.
Photo Source:
There is a little light at the end of this tunnel, though. Not only will Tesla Motors be expanding the Supercharge Station Network and has agreed to consider letting other brands of electric cars use their network, but Tesla is also opening a manufacturing facility in the San Joaquin Valley! This new facility in Lathrop will initially require approximately 125 employees, which will surely bring necessary economic and workforce development into the Valley. Tesla Motors may just be the next Alternative Vehicle employer our Regional Industry Clusters of Opportunity (RICO) grant Action Team needs to involve in our EV Partnership!

In addition, supercharge stations will be open and able to charge vehicles other than Teslas. Good news all around!

As Tesla Motors moves to the Valley, the company plans to expand its production and sell 35,000 vehicles this year alone. Hopefully this growth promotes and increases manufacturing jobs in the US. And who knows? Maybe it will even lower that initial price tag a bit. There are rumors about it; so I know I’m not the only one selfishly hoping to see this new EV soon!

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

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.     Energy efficiency and community resilience: making the connection to keep the lights on and our homes warm

The following information is from ACEEE.  “ACEEE is kicking off a new research project this year to identify the connection between efficiency and resilience, and to identify opportunities for integrating energy efficiency into resilience strategies. As part of our research report, we’ll explore how efficiency can be specifically implemented to enhance resilience and which specific efficiency measures result in what resilience benefits. For example, what do investments in improved public transit systems mean for community resilience? Or which specific efficiency measures implemented by water utilities result in which resilience benefits? We’ll also work to determine which metrics are appropriate to measure efficiency-related resilience, and explore the opportunities in policy and program development to integrate efficiency into resilience efforts and vice versa.

We anticipate releasing our research report this coming summer. We are very interested in your thoughts, as members of the energy efficiency and resilience communities, on how you view the efficiency-resilience interconnection. We’re interested to hear your suggestions about valuable literature, case studies, potential metrics, and policy and program opportunities. Those interested should feel free to email David Ribeiro .” 

I encourage everyone that receives the Weekly Updates to send your thoughts and comments on the interconnection to David.


2.     ARB Positions Available

The following positions are available at the Air Resources Board: Help lead our Sustainable Communities Research Program:

Provide technical and policy direction on investments of cap-and-trade revenue in transportation and sustainable land use.

3.     LGC Position Available: Project Manager for Climate and Energy
The Local Government Commission has an immediate full-time position for a project manager.  We are seeking a motivated, committed person with a background in climate change and energy policies or programs with a strong technical underpinning.   Interested parties should review the job specifications at this link: .  Applicants should send their resume with cover letter to, Attn: Erin Hauge.  Position is open until filled.

4.     Postdoctoral Research Awards Open
In order to spur innovation in solar energy, the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is now accepting applications for postdoctoral researchers in solar energy to participate in the EERE Postdoctoral Research Awards. The EERE Postdoctoral Research Awards support research on energy efficiency and renewable energy to help solve our nation’s energy challenges. This year, this exciting program will offer up to five recent Ph.D. recipients the opportunity to conduct applied research projects to advance breakthrough solar energy technologies at universities, national laboratories and other research facilities during the fall of 2015. Former recipients of the EERE Postdoctoral Research Awards are now faculty and staff scientists at major research institutions and national laboratories.
Potential research topics for these awards include behavioral and data science to lower solar electricity cost, systems integration, concentrating solar power, and photovoltaic cells, modules, and materials. The awards will provide a highly competitive two-year stipend with health insurance as well as allowance for travel, relocation, and research expenses. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, complete all requirements for their Ph.D. by May 31, 2015, and have a Ph.D. for no more than five years. Applications are due May 7, 2015. Apply today and learn more about former awardees.

5.     The Energy Coalition is hiring
The Energy Coalition is seeking a Project Coordinator to help support Local Government Partnerships. To learn more, visit their website Application deadline: 2/27/15

6.     R.13-11-005: Notice of 2013-2014 Spillover Evaluation Plan Webinar
CPUC staff, DNV-GL, and Itron will host a one-hour public webinar on Tuesday, February 17, 2015, 10-11am PST to present and solicit comments on the draft spillover evaluation plans. The plans outline the research strategies and methods that will be used for identifying and quantifying the energy efficiency savings from spillover attributable to the 2013-2014 portfolio of residential and non-residential programs..  Detailed webinar information, including call-in numbers and webinar link, are below:

à Join Lync Meeting     

Join by Phone
Find a local number
Participant code: 8587242671

The draft evaluation plans are posted on the CPUC’s Public Document Area ( and will be open for comment until February 24, 2015. Documents and comment links can be found by searching for the term ‘spillover.’

For convenience, below are direct links to the plan documents:

If you have any questions about the plans or webinar, please contact Dan Buch (; Vincent Greco (; or Jean Shelton (

That is all for this week!    

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Would You Stream Your Energy Data Like A Netflix Movie?

As we embark on the the second month of 2015 we have already seen how our government feels about a clean energy future in the United States. The Obama administration is pushing for an 80 percent greenhouse gas emission reduction by the year 2025.[i] But, wait to get those reductions don’t "we the people"need to make a change too? Homeowners as well as business owners are not large government entities that have endless amounts of disposal income. So, where does one start to becoming “green”?   Well let us here at SJVCEO help to point you in the right direction, since we have a bit of experience with energy benchmarking and upgrades.

When SJVCEO takes on a project with one of our local governments we always start with gathering energy usage data. To some this task may seem daunting, but trust us this step can be pretty easy when you have the right tools. The obvious choice would be to get your utility data downloaded monthly from your utility website. But, for those of us that like to know the up to the minute data there are a few new options on the market this year.

The first option for those types is wattvision. This product has you set up a sensor on your meter outside and connect that to the gateway that transmits the data. Your energy usage is then stored in the “cloud” of wattvision. Then you are able to login and access your up to the minute energy data, which comes in intervals of 15 seconds. This device will also alert you when you have an energy spike; that’s only if you tell the app to do so.  Wattvision also has a fun competitive nature about it. The product will allow you to share and compare with other users. Who knows you may even show up on their “Top Energy Savers Leaderboard.”

The second option would be the PowerCost. This tool has s sensor that is installed on your meter and will information wirelessly to a hand held monitor, pictures to the left. This tool allows you to see your kilowatt usage as well as cost per hour. PowerCost as is developed to work with 3rd party apps. One app that the company recommendeds is PloWatt.

Now we come to the third and final option Bidgely HomeBeat Energy Monitor. This device takes energy usage collection to a whole new level. This device doesn’t need to have anything connected to your meter, since it uses a specific program that allows it to wirelessly communicate.  This energy monitor collects data every 5 to 10 seconds and can be called somewhat of a “detective”. [ii]  This gadget can be put to detective mode, which will then allow you to see how much energy is being used by household items. One other fun item that Bidgely has to offer is the customer support tool. This tool helps to show utility customers why their utility bills are as high as they are. It makes it easier on everyone involved when it comes to billing disputes.

When all is said and done energy saving is in the hands of those that use the energy. If we are aiming to hit the 80 percent reduction we all need to make a change. Take the first step in making that change by monitoring your energy usage today!

[i] “The Obama-Biden Plan”, Feb., 9, 2015,

[ii] “Bidgely’s New Real-Time Energy Disaggregation Tools”, Feb., 9, 2015,

Monday, February 9, 2015

Learning Energy Efficiency won’t end with VIEW!

In my final days with San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization, I look back at the last 8 months with heartfelt gratitude. It was here where I finally found a workplace in Fresno that I could call home. I experienced the lowest amount of work-related stress in 3 years as well as low employee turnover. Work stress and employee turnover are some of the workplace observations that are supremely important to me. I learned here tons of information about solar energy, Home Energy Tune-Up, and investor owned utility relations. 

I wanted to take a moment to discuss solar energy because ever since my boss informed me about EEMs: Energy Efficiency Measures, I now stare at roofs of houses that have solar panels on them. In case you hadn’t heard, EEMs are any kind of projects that reduces energy usage in any given building. For example, investing in double paned windows or an energy star washer/dryer would qualify as an EEM. When I pass by homes that have panels, I do a panel count and just by that alone, I think I can decipher whether the owners to these houses have in fact done their EEMs. For example, go to google maps and view the northeast corner of Friant and Audubon; click on earth view and do the count. Did they do their EEMs? I’ll let you decide.

I also wanted to share that my energy efficiency and renewable energy knowledge won’t end here with SJVCEO. Google has been working on driverless technology for several years. If you were to google “driverless car” you would discover innovation at its finest. These vehicles are operated completely by computers. As CBS news reported, these vehicles “can be programmed to not break traffic laws. They do not drink and drive. Their reaction times are quicker and they can be optimized to smooth traffic flows, improve fuel economy, and reduce emissions.”[1] Along with demonstrating innovation, Google is contributing to energy efficiency. Having computers doing the work on operating a car will clean up the freeways. Interstates 99 and 5, two freeways that cross the state of California will never look better. Better and safer driving practices will improve everything from emissions to traffic pattern. Can you picture what the Los Angeles’s 405 and 101 freeways would look like during rush hour? 

What I’ve learned from my experiences with solar energy and with driverless technology that energy efficiency needs to be approached responsibly (i.e. EEMs) and needs to be done now. Back to the Future’s Marty McFly traveled 30 years into the future: 2015 to be exact. The future is now. I believe that Google’s innovations are exemplary of forward progress and I’d like to think that Kings and Tulare counties have an opportunity to be exemplary in energy efficiency. We have the data and the sources, so let’s get on it.

It has been a pleasure. 

P.S. You have the power to conserve!

[1] “Could driverless cars do wonders for the economy?”, CBS News, accessed February 5, 2015,

Friday, February 6, 2015

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update

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.   NRDC Clean Energy Solutions Advocate job in San Francisco

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is soliciting applications for an immediate opening in San Francisco for a full-time Clean Energy Solutions Advocate with strong analytical and advocacy skills to promote clean energy solutions that cost-effectively reduce environmental impacts and combat global warming. Applications are requested no later than February 17, 2015.

Applicants should submit a cover letter with salary requirements, resume and writing sample online. To apply, please visit and upload your resume and cover letter; please then click on Add Documents in the Member Profile menu that will appear after you create your profile to add the writing sample. No phone calls or faxes please. Please reference where you saw this posting. NRDC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. 

If you are having technical difficulty while applying, please reach out to Customer Care by dialing 1-866-803-9663.

2.     Request for Proposals RFP-14-311 - Technical Assistance for the Energy Research and Development Division EPIC Program

Request for Proposals RFP-14-311 - Technical Assistance for the Energy Research and Development Division EPIC Program

Deadline to Submit Proposals: March 12, 2015 by 3:00 p.m.

Purpose of RFP

The purpose of this Request for Proposal (RFP) is to hire an experienced, full-service contractor team (composed of a Contractor and subcontractors) to provide technical support services for the California Energy Commission's Energy Research and Development Division's (ERDD) Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) Program.

The Energy Commission is seeking technical expertise regarding energy-related support activities for the EPIC Program, including: energy efficiency and demand response for buildings and the industrial, agricultural and water sectors; advanced grid technologies; transmission and distribution; clean advanced electrical generation; energy-related environmental research; energy smart communities; renewable energy technologies; transportation; market facilitation; program planning and evaluation; and technology transfer.

Energy Commission staff will hold one Pre-Bid Conference to discuss the RFP with Bidders.  Participation is optional but encouraged.  Bidders may attend the conference in-person, via the internet (WebEx, see instructions below), or via conference call on the date and at the time and location listed below.  Please call (916) 654-4381 or refer to the Energy Commission's website at to confirm the date and time.

 Pre-Bid Conference
 Friday, February 13, 2015
10:00 am (Pacific Standard Time)
 California Energy Commission
 Art Rosenfeld Room (formerly Hearing Room A)
 1516 9th Street
 Sacramento, CA 95814

WebEx Instructions:
To join the WebEx meeting, go to and enter the meeting number and password below:
Meeting Number: 921 515 843
Meeting Password: meeting@10

For more information:

3.   Notices of Proposed Action - Rulemaking on 2016 Building Energy Efficiency Standards

The Notices of Proposed Action for the 2016 revisions to the Title 24 Part 6 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, and separately for the voluntary provisions in Title 24 Part 11, are now available on our website, here: These are provided in advance of formal publication by the Office of Administrative Law to better facilitate public review and comment.  The 45-Day public comment period will begin on the date of formal publication by the Office of Administrative Law, currently anticipated to be February 13, 2016.

For more information:
(If link above doesn't work, please copy entire link into your web browser's URL)

That is all for this week!    

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Would You Kill-A-Watt to Save A Lot?

This year the VIEW, Valley Innovative Energy Watch, is launching its first ever Kill-A-Watt Krackdown energy challenge. Do not let the name scare you away from taking the challenge. This challenge will help you to better understand energy efficiency as well as help your pocket book.

If you or your business are interested in joining this energy challenge please contact us at the VIEW Partnership. 

Oahu...That's A lot of Renewables!

Oahu and the Hawaiian islands are true paradise with lush green hills for miles upon miles. But, during my latest trip to the island of Oahu I noticed something dramatically different creeping up through those lush hills. Can you spot it?

No don't try to look for Waldo, but a wind turbine! Sure, I have read all of the articles on the renewable energy being used/produced on the island, but not until I was able to witness it firsthand did it really sink in. Oahu has a lot of renewable energy! It was hard not to miss the towering white pillars coming out of the green tropical landscape and how every apartment or home had at least one solar panel. As I sat in the rented Jeep Wrangler, yes we had to ride in island style I couldn't help to think...can the island’s small population really get the benefits of the energy produced?

The Hawaiian islands have a perfect storm of great weather and high utility rates for renewables. The island of Oahu alone has roughly 12% of customers with rooftop solar whereas a normal US City has roughly 0.5%.[ii] That number alone is pretty staggering. How can such a small island have so much solar? Well when solar became main stream in Hawaii residents enthusiastically jumped on board. They jumped on board at an alarming rate to the utilities to where HECO, Hawaii Electric Light Company, had to start limiting the permits for solar. The utility is now hoping to come out with a new set of credits that would be more complete. The current net-metering tariff system would be replaced by credits that would be half as much as current rates.

An article from GreenTech Media stated that the Hawaiian Islands are actually facing a very tough debacle when it comes to renewable's. HECO completed a study that showed midday solar is exceeding demand and then drops off leaving them with a steep ramp up in demand once families return home for the evening. That in turn creates what is referred to as a "Nessie curve", pictured to the right.[i] With the electrical grid becoming overwhelmed it in turn can create grid instability.

Don’t get me wrong I think renewable are a great thing for the US, but they also come with a cautionary tale. As the Hawaiian islands continue to battle the renewable debacle the rest of the US will be watching to learn from their practices.

[i] “Charting Hawaii’s Spectacular Solar Growth”, Jan., 29, 2015,

[ii] EIA: Wind, Solar Seen As Attractive Alternatives For Hawaii”, Jan., 28, 2015,

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Driving Bans in a Car-Dependent World

Last October, photos and reports from Beijing surfaced, showing dense smog covering much of the City. People couldn't see across the street, let alone down a city block. While the photos and reports were disturbing, they were not shocking to many of us. Maybe if the reports came from a city like Paris, we would be more appalled, right? Well, raise your eyebrows and say “Whaaat??” because, that’s right, Paris had a spike in Air Quality Index (AQI) levels and, in late March, was 20 points higher than Beijing’s! To give you an idea about what this means: a good AQI is under 50 and Paris’s AQI reached 185. Yeah. 185. 

Yikes! Paris isn't so pretty this way.
Photo Source: The New York Times
In an attempt to mitigate this, a partial driving ban was imposed for the first time in two decades. What is a partial driving ban, you ask? Well some vehicles, like those carrying three or more people and electric and hybrid cars were not fined or stopped. Hundreds of police officers were authorized to stop and fine vehicles that did not fit those criteria.

The day this article was published, the police were only fining those with even-numbered license plates, but this must have changed day-to-day to persuade people to not drive. Other incentives to not drive around Paris were the reduction of the speed limit to only 20kph (or 12mph) and free public transportation. The city lost over $5.5 Million in transportation revenue each day there is no fee for public transit, but there would have been far bigger costs down the line if the City did not take this action.

Photo Source: The New York Times
The ban ended at midnight Monday, March 17, 2014, as did the free public transportation. It is important to note, however, that the free public transportation probably saved those who need to commute farther than one can walk or bike in a decent amount of time. A partial driving ban in Paris was possible because the public transportation system could handle that – financially, not for an extended time period, but in capacity and density of stations around the City, yes. Free public transportation is an extra incentive, but access to public transportation is always available in this City.

So think about the San Joaquin Valley for a moment. We generally don’t have AQI levels above 100, but they can get close. What if we had a spike like Paris, or we constantly had AQIs above 150 like Beijing? How would we handle a (partial) driving ban??

The good news is that the SJVCEO and other community partners are developing and expanding the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle (ARFV) Technology industry here in the Valley with the Workforce Investment Board Regional Industry Clusters of Opportunity (WIB RICO II) grant from the Energy Commission. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District also has some funding for carpooling services, but how many people will actually take advantage? I hope the answer is all that are eligible. We have such great opportunity here in the Valley. Why not take advantage of it?