Supporting Sustainable Communities

From Humboldt to Santa Barbara, cities and counties across our service area are taking action against climate change. PG&E is actively supporting a growing number of these local governments—helping them achieve their greenhouse gas reduction goals through free training, resources, competitive funding and a dedicated new team of PG&E community energy managers.

PG&E is working to provide comprehensive, actionable and economically viable solutions that help local governments address their impact on global climate change—from providing data and assistance with greenhouse gas inventories to on-the-ground training and guidance on climate action plans to tailored strategies for implementing innovative energy efficiency programs.

Assist with Greenhouse Gas Inventories and Climate Action Plans

We are partnering with ICLEI—Local Governments for Sustainability and other regional partners to help cities and counties prepare greenhouse gas inventories and develop effective climate action plans. By connecting communities with PG&E’s incentives and programs, we are helping local governments save money and reduce the carbon footprint of their buildings and facilities.

There were many highlights last year:

  1. We worked with the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments, Great Valley Center and Sierra Business Council to help compile greenhouse gas inventories for more than 60 local governments. These are expected to be completed in 2011 and we plan to get started on roughly 60 more.
  2. We provided aggregated energy consumption and emissions data to more than 225 cities and counties, building on similar reports we have provided since 2006. This data helps cities and counties better understand a key component of their carbon footprint for enhanced planning.
  3. We partnered with ABAG to develop training for cities and counties in the San Francisco Bay Area on benchmarking their facilities’ energy use and identifying energy- and money-saving opportunities. ABAG began offering this hands-on training in 2011.

Provide On-the-Ground Support

We established a new team of community energy managers to help local governments reduce their community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by taking advantage of PG&E programs and incentives. We are working with each local government partner to develop a comprehensive energy management strategy that the local government can implement across its institutional, residential, business and industrial sectors. This includes working with cities to help identify and prioritize opportunities and then partnering to implement them through a sustained local commitment.

By doing so, PG&E is helping local governments to more fully integrate energy issues into their planning and operations, including leveraging their actual energy use data to help guide decisions. Our team offers expertise on green building ordinances, making facilities more energy efficient, increasing use of renewable energy and balancing out greenhouse gas emissions. We are also collaborating with local governments to engage residents, businesses and schools—helping to mobilize the community to save energy and reduce greenhouse gases.

As an example, PG&E played a key role in assisting the City of Fresno with:

  1. Integrating energy strategies into their 2035 General Plan and Master Environmental Impact Report Update, including greenhouse gas reduction goals.
  2. Identifying untapped residential energy saving opportunities through new data management and delivery pathways.
  3. Evaluating 1.2 MW of solar photovoltaic projects.
  4. Coordinating with a university climate adaptation team studying the potential threats and impacts of climate change on Fresno’s systems at the city-level and investigating possible adaptation opportunities.

Funding Innovative Local Projects

Through our new Innovator Pilots program, we are providing competitive funding to local governments for projects that test, demonstrate and measure innovative ways to deliver energy savings. Local, regional and sub-regional governments and non-profit organizations can apply for the funding.

PG&E selected seven projects from our first solicitation process, which are described below. A second solicitation was issued in early 2011.

2010 Innovator Pilot Projects

Local Government Projects
Alameda County Office of Education Implement a countywide program that will provide local school districts with energy managers who coordinate facility energy audits and benchmarking, identify potential energy savings opportunities and provide guidance on financial incentives.
Chico Implement a program to reduce household energy consumption through a combination of residential retrofits and education to encourage behavior change.
Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville Collaborate with QuEST, a local partner, to integrate energy-efficiency services to the commercial community by combining audits for lighting efficiency, space conditioning improvements, renewable energy and demand management strategies into a single transaction to maximize reductions and minimize client costs.

Work with QuEST to address the lack of incentives for tenants to pursue energy efficiency in multi-unit dwellings. The project will identify and pilot technical, informational and policy solutions in collaboration with tenant and landlord groups.
San Jose Launch a Community Energy Championship Fund to provide mini-grants to support small, local and innovative social marketing campaigns to achieve significant and lasting behavior change surrounding energy efficiency.

Implement a program that will allow a limited number of units undergoing standard retrofits through the city’s Single Family Housing Rehab program to receive comprehensive energy-efficiency retrofits, traditionally absent from these programs.
Sierra Business Council Launch the Green Prosperity Workforce Development Program to provide training and outreach to develop grassroots leadership in Latino and Native communities, provide green workforce training and enhance energy use information and management for small businesses and municipalities.

Leveraging Statewide Resources

In addition, PG&E is collaborating with a number of groups on the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative, a new program that provides resources to local governments throughout California.

Launched in 2010, the collaborative provides webinars, peer-to-peer networking, technical assistance, online tools and recognition for local agencies. This includes an annual Beacon Award that recognizes cities and counties that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, adopt policies and programs to address climate change and promote sustainability.

Other partners include San Diego Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas Company, ICLEI, the Institute for Local Government and the Local Government Commission.


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