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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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