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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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How this is paid for (the real answer)
By pjkenned on 9/25/2009 8:04:54 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I'm pretty sure this is part of the Demand Response 2009-2011 Decision which had the proposed Decision on or about August 28. There's about a 30 day period for the CPUC to adopt a decision based upon the ALJ's proposed decision, so the timing makes sense. Generally how these programs are funded is that the California IOU's spend $XYZ on demand response programs that tend to operate when the temperatures reach the mid to high 90's. It depends on which IOU because SDG&E, for example, actually has more population in cooler coaster temperature zones than PG&E which has most of the central valley. When the temperature gets hot, in the afternoons, air conditioners are going full blast. This creates the need to use "peak" generation capacity which is, say 10x more expensive than normal generation. Think some company buys a surplus jet engine and it becomes economically viable for say 4-5 hours on 15 or so afternoons a year to burn jet fuel to run the turbine and produce electricity. (Not exactly accurate, but pretty close, and easy to visualize). That marginal generation capacity costs in excess of $1.50/kWh.

So how is this $3.1b paid for? Simple, the IOU's presented plans to reduce the peak demand for that really expensive electricity generation. The CPUC's Division of Ratepayer Advocates, and other ratepayer groups litigate the amount of benefits that the programs are projected to achieve, and then litigate the costs to provide those programs.

Also note in the article that the purpose of this is also to avoid the need to build new power plants. Power plants cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars (and up) range, so not having to build the new power plants, and passing those costs off to ratepayers is another way you save over $3.1b with the programs.

That's how the $3.1b gets paid for if anyone was wondering :)

RE: How this is paid for (the real answer)
By Jeffk464 on 9/26/2009 12:04:06 AM , Rating: 2
**d *****t, what does the CA legislature not understand about being broke. They keep raising taxes and increasing spending while we keep going further and further into deficit spending.

By pjkenned on 9/26/2009 11:24:50 AM , Rating: 2
CA legislature does not touch this. The $3.1b doesn't get paid for out of taxes.

Rather, you receive debits and credits to your electric bill. So you may get a $50/ year extra charge for electricity. If you participate, even a little bit, in the demand response programs, you probably, over a summer/year, get a $60-150 credit back.

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