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California launches the nation's largest energy efficiency plan

The state of California has approved a new energy efficiency plan, providing $3.1 billion for programs from PG&E, Sempra Energy and Edison International.  The state is interested in providing financial benefits for programs designed to persuade home owners to use less energy.

Specifically, the $3.1 billion budget approved by the California Public Utilities Commission will help pave the way to savings of 7,000 gigawatt hours, 150 million metric therms of natural gas, and 1,500 megawatts of electricity.

City, county, and regional agencies will receive up to $265 million when they create energy-efficiency efforts.  Home owners will be able to monitor energy-usage statistics when they log onto the internet, the plan states.

"Capturing the full energy efficiency potential in the state requires more than simply providing rebates to support the installation of the latest and greatest widget," according to Michael Peevey, the state's commission president.

According to the state commission, energy  savings would be the same as three 500 megawatt power plants.  Furthermore, the new state-led programs would create between 15,000 and 18,000 new jobs, while also eliminating almost 3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions across the state.

"The focus is to shift priorities away from rebates for widgets to sustained energy savings in the built environment," California Public Utilities Commission member Dian Grueneich told the media.  "These numbers are breathtaking in their own right."

Due to the faltering economy, energy conservation and efficiency have been popular among consumers and companies interested in reducing costs.

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"The California Experiment"
By Spacecomber on 9/25/2009 5:30:41 PM , Rating: 4
The Atlantic Monthly has an article on how California is basically driving the alternative energy movement at this time. Of course, if any state has the favorable climate for pulling this off, if would be California, but it will be interesting to see how this succeeds.

As the author of the article describes what that state has been doing, it is to "rely on efficiency first, use regulation to create markets, use markets to create constituencies".

The article is available online, here:

RE: "The California Experiment"
By knutjb on 9/26/2009 12:03:33 AM , Rating: 4
Interesting article that manages to omit a few key facts. The industrial base that provided so much of Ca's tax base have been exiting Ca since the seventies and there is VERY LITTLE remaining. Since industrial users consume the largest chunk of energy and their exodus from the state was not taken into account the conclusion of the article is extraordinarily misleading.

The reference to the Arab oil embargo as the start of fuel efficiencystandards is incorrect too. Ca was pushing POLLUTION standards, there weren't any EPA mileage standards as of that time. The idea might have been there but there wasn't an infrastructure to reliably measure it. That is why the Cash for Clunkers omitted cars from before 89(?)even though most surely would have qualified.
PG 2
he focus on efficiency has produced huge savings: though per kilowatt electricity rates are higher in California than in most other places, consumers pay lower electricity bills because they use so much less power than people elsewhere.
Explain that to my family in SoCal who pay significantly higher electric bills than I do in Idaho. BTW we both use about the same kW hours. I lost interest after reading that.

Efficiency will only get you so far. The population IS growing so more generation WILL be required and Ca is really dumping its pollution and generation problems into the surrounding states who ARE expanding. Just ask Texas and Nevada. Watch to see when Silicon Valley moves out from over taxation like the rest of the industrial employers and there are no more deep pockets to steal from to fund Ca's foolish public policy.

Come on, only Ca has the gumption to be more efficient than the rest of us?. What an insult. I miss the beach but not the INSANE POLITICIANS who ARE destroying the state. Who else would cut the water on America's bread basket. Instead of finding a rational solution they, yet again, go to a radical answer that affects ALL of us, watch your food prices.

RE: "The California Experiment"
By Spuke on 9/26/2009 1:06:12 AM , Rating: 1
Explain that to my family in SoCal who pay significantly higher electric bills than I do in Idaho. BTW we both use about the same kW hours. I lost interest after reading that.
According to the Energy Information Administration, the average electricity usage is 580kW per month at a cost of $14.42 per kW in CA. It surprised me at first but I remembered that a good chunk of CA rarely uses their A/C (or even their heat).

I know that in the winter, early spring and late fall, even though I live in the desert, my usage ranges between 500kW to 600kW per month. This past August was the lowest I've ever paid for electricity because it was really dry and I was able to use the evaporative cooler (swamp cooler...I have a huge unit plumbed into the HVAC ducting) and not the A/C. Usually, my August bill is around $170-$190 (1000+kW). This year it was $114 (800kW).

RE: "The California Experiment"
By Reclaimer77 on 9/27/2009 10:40:59 AM , Rating: 1
California has serious energy demands, that aren't being met, that can't simply be addressed by more efficiency.

The author is an idiot. You can pretty much stop reading after you see someone say "use regulation to create markets". In this country the only thing that creates viable thriving markets is the private sector, not some lumbering beurocratic government.

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