No doubt, the cheapest energy is the energy that we don’t have to produce – energy saved through greater efficiency. It’s also the energy that produces the least greenhouse gas emissions. The California Energy Commission estimates that California’s utility-run energy efficiency programs saved consumer and businesses more than $4 billion from 1997 to 2004. These programs save energy for less than $0.03 per kilowatt-hour — less than half the per kilowatt-hour cost of building new fossil-fuel-fired generation.
Cities and Counties
California’s cities and counties spend a large amount of money every year to operate buildings and provide local services. Through a wide range of projects and practices, they can save money, reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and free up public dollars to provide vital public services. For example, experts estimate that nearly one-third of the energy used to run a typical government building goes to waste, and that savings of about $0.40 per square foot are possible.
In the 2010-2012, energy efficiency program cycle, the investor-owned utilities will spend $265 million on energy efficiency partnerships with local governments. In addition, other aspects of the utilities overall program of $3.1 billion provide opportunities for local governments.
Local Government Sustainable Energy Coalition
The Local Government Sustainable Energy Coalition has successfully educated State policymakers and regulators about the important role local governments play in achieving California’s energy efficiency goals. Thanks to the organization’s active involvement, State policy documents, including the State’s Energy Action Plan, the California Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, and the Assembly Bill 32 Scoping Memo all acknowledge the importance of local governments. In addition, the organization worked with the California Public Utilities Commission and the state’s investor-owned utilities to maximize funds for local governments and to shape effective programs.
The Coalition has submitted formal comments to California regulatory agencies on more than two dozen energy efficiency matters. These topics cover a wide range of subjects, from energy use in buildings to utility program structures. The Coalition continues to closely monitor energy efficiency issues, particular through the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission and the investor-owned utilities.