California

ACEEE Report – State Energy Efficiency Scorecard

The non-profit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released its seventh annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, which ranks states based on energy efficiency policies and programs.

 

ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Scorecard

ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Scorecard (photo – aceee.org)

Massachusetts topped the charts for the third year running, based on its continued commitment to the implementation of the Green Communities Act of 2008.

This law continues to spur more investments in energy efficiency by requiring utilities to save a growing percentage of energy every year through greater efficiency.

Governor Deval Patrick said Massachusetts continues leading the nation in energy efficiency because they consciously made the choice to shape their own future, rather than leave it to chance.

Gov. Patrick added that they will continue to focus on policies that create jobs while decreasing dependence on imported energy sources and protecting the environment by reducing emissions.

The top states in ACEEE’s 2013 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard are (in the order of their ranking) – Massachusetts, California, New York, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Maryland, and Illinois.

This is the first time Illinois is showing up in the top ten on this list. Connecticut also moved up from sixth place and broke into the top five after passing a comprehensive energy bill (Public Act 13-298) earlier this year that authorized a doubling of energy efficiency program opportunities to help businesses and residents in the state reduce their energy bills.

The leading states in building energy codes and compliance were California, Washington and Rhode Island.

Mississippi was one of the few states that showed a huge improvement in their ranking, courtesy of laws passed this year by the Mississippi Legislature mandating an energy code for commercial and public buildings. With the help of this law, Mississippi began implementing lead-by-example programs in public buildings.

Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, who is also president of the Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, said Mississippi was proud to be the most improved state in ACEEE’s State Scorecard. Presley added that they looked forward to seeing Mississippi emerge as a regional leader in tapping the vast economic benefits of energy efficiency.

Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont are leading states in terms of energy efficiency programs and policies targeting the utility sector. California leads the way in energy-efficient transportation policies, along with New York.

California Energy Commissioner Andrew McAllister said California continues to earn its reputation as an energy leader by instituting the most advanced energy efficiency standards in the nation, and for pushing the envelope on ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs.

McAllister said these standards have helped California ratepayers save more than $75 billion since 1975, protected the climate by reducing emissions, and grown the economy with local jobs.

Read the full ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Scorecard – Download (pdf; free registration required)

British Columbia, California, WA, OR Sign Climate Change Action Plan

British Columbia, Canada is teaming up with the West Coast states of California, Oregon and Washington to combat climate change on the North American Pacific Coast.

Pacific Coast Collaborative

Pacific Coast Collaborative (photo – pacificcoastcollaborative.org)

British Columbia’s Premier Christy Clark joined the Governors of the three states after a meeting of the Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC) in San Francisco to sign the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy.

The action plan commits the four governments to a comprehensive strategic alignment for combating climate change and promoting the use of clean energy in a region which has 53 million people and has a combined GDP of $2.8 trillion – this makes it the world’s fifth largest economy.

As part of the agreement, Oregon and Washington will join BC and California as regions that have their own market-based carbon pricing mechanism. Where possible, all four will link their programs to maintain consistency and allow the regional low-carbon economy to expand.

They agreed to take action to expand the use of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), aiming for 10 percent of all new vehicles by 2016.

All four also agreed to transform the market for energy efficiency and lead the way to net-zero buildings. They agreed to harmonize GHG reduction targets for 2050, and develop mid-term targets required for supporting the long-term reduction target.

Another part of the agreement was that all four governments recognize the scientific consensus that climate change had human causes and had very real impacts. They agreed to cooperate with national governments around the world to press for a global agreement on climate change in 2015 at the Conference of Parties in Paris.

BC Environment Minister Mary Polak said climate change was a global issue, and added that by exporting natural gas, BC will be supplying growing markets with a clean burning fossil fuel.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee said the Action Plan represents the best of things that the Pacific Coast governments are already doing, and calls for each of them to do more to meet the moral obligation towards future generations and create jobs by leading in the clean energy economy.

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. said California wasn’t waiting for the rest of the world before taking action on climate change, and they were now teaming up with British Columbia, Oregon and Washington to reduce greenhouse gases.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber said that energy is “the” issue of our time, globally and in Oregon, and no other issue would have a great impact on the state’s quality of life, environment and economy in the coming decade.

Eight-State Coalition Announces Zero-Emission Vehicles Initiative

The Governors of eight U.S. states have signed an agreement for a joint initiative to put 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on the roads in their states by 2025.

Zero Emission Vehicles

Zero Emission Vehicles (photo – oregon.gov)

The eight states that are signatories to the MOU are California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The MOU signed by the Governors commits them to pursue the following actions:-

– Alignment of building codes in order to make it easier to build EV charging stations;

– Lead-by-example to include ZEVs in public fleets, and set targets for governmental ZEV purchases;

– Evaluate and consider providing incentives, financial or otherwise, for promoting ZEVs;

– Consider setting up favorable electricity tariffs for home EV charging systems;

– Development of common standards for charging networks and roadway signs;

– Encourage ZEV market growth by establishing public-private partnerships with automobile manufacturers, corporate fleet owners, electricity and hydrogen providers, and other stakeholders;

– Share research and coordinate education and outreach campaigns to highlight the benefits of ZEVs and promote their use; and

– Pursue assessment and development of infrastructure and other requirements for commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

States with ZEV programs together account for 27 percent of the U.S. automobile market, and by working together they can help create more consumer demand and lower ZEV costs through economies of scale and expanding the choices available to consumers.

There are currently 16 ZEV models available in the U.S., produced by eight automobile manufacturers.

Nine of them are electric vehicles that run on batteries, while five are hybrids that can run on both gasoline as well as batteries. The remaining two are powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

By 2015, every major automaker is expected to have ZEVs on sale or lease. Electric car sales in the U.S. jumped to 52,000 in 2012, more than thrice the sales in 2011. This year, more than 40,000 plug-in cars have already been sold in the first two quarters.

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. said this was not just an agreement, but a serious and profoundly important commitment.

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley said they were excited to be collaborating with other states to ensure the success of Zev programs.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber said this initiative will helps states reduce transportation-related air pollution and GHG, enhance energy diversity, save money for consumers, and promote economic growth.

Roche Announces $285M Expansion in California

Basel, Switzerland-based pharmaceuticals giant Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) announced an expansion of its global manufacturing network to increase production capabilities of biologic medicines.

Genentech in South San Francisco

Genentech in South San Francisco (photo – roche.com)

Among the facilities being expanded are Roche’s Genentech biologics manufacturing facilities in Oceanside and Vacaville, California.

Genentech is a wholly owned part of the Roche Group.

Roche is investing $285 million for expanding these two facilities, and will create more than 250 new jobs in Oceanside and Vacaville over the next four years. These will be skilled jobs ranging from technicians and engineers to scientists.

Once this new expansion is complete, the Vacaville facility will be the world’s largest biotech manufacturing facility, and the largest of Roche’s biologic manufacturing units.

Roche, which has biologics manufacturing units spread across the U.S., Europe and Asia, already has the largest production capacity among all biologic medicine manufacturers.

Overall, Roche is planning to invest 800 million Swiss francs ($877 million) for the expansions, which also include facilities in Penzberg, Germany and in Basel, Switzerland.

Roche is constructing an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) production facility in Basel, and adding manufacturing capacity and refurbishing equipment at the Penzberg facility.

The expansions are expected to create a total of 500 jobs, Including the 250 jobs in California, 200 jobs in Penzberg and another 50 in Basel.

Daniel O’Day, COO of Roche’s Pharmaceuticals Division, said that biologic medicines play an important part in improving patients’ lives, and have become an essential part of modern medicine. He said that Roche is committed towards making the investments necessary for ensuring ongoing and high-quality supply of these medicines.

O’Day added that increasing manufacturing capacity highlights the company’s confidence in research and development of new biologic medicines to help serve unmet needs.

Apart from Vacaville and Oceanside, Genentech also has a facility in Hillsboro, Oregon. The company is headquartered in South San Francisco, California.

Genentech CEO Ian Clark said the new jobs will bring Genentech’s manufacturing workforce in California close to around 3,000. The company employs a total of about 10,000 people in California. Overall, Genentech has around 12,300 employees, including 1,200 researchers and scientists.

Genentech’s workforce is part Roche’s 82,000-strong army of employees. Last year, Roche poured more than eight billion Swiss francs ($8.7 billion) into R&D. The company generated 2012 revenues worth 45.5 billion Swiss francs ($49.9 billion).

Go-Biz, Auto Makers Team Up to Support ZEV Infrastructure in California

The California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) announced an initiative to facilitate and accelerate the permitting and establishment of hydrogen fueling and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

California ZEV roadmap

California ZEV roadmap (photo – opr.ca.gov)

The initiative came about after automotive companies including GM, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai approached Go-Biz earlier this year and pointed out the need for more hydrogen and EV charging stations to support their plans for increasing zero emission vehicle (ZEV) fleets.

California accounts for almost 40 percent of the U.S. market for plug-in electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are slated for launch in the 2015-17 timeframe.

Jim Pisz, North American business strategy corporate manager for Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., said that when Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell vehicle comes to the market in 2015, a reliable and convenient fueling infrastructure must be ready for customers.

Pisz said they were excited to be partnering with Go-Biz for ensuring the necessary hydrogen infrastructure is in place for successfully launching fuel cell technology in California.

Under this new initiative, Go-Biz will work not only with the auto makers, but also with federal, state and local agencies, hydrogen station developers and hosts, EV regional planners, installers and station hosts, and other interested parties.

The effort will be spearheaded by a new position created at Go-Biz that is being funded with $300,000 provided by the California Energy Commission.

This new position will engage local and state partners for identifying and eliminating barriers to development. The project manager will report directly to the Deputy Director of Permitting at GO-Biz.

Go-Biz Director Kish Rajan said California is a world leader in zero emission technology, and the state’s infrastructure needs to reflect that dynamism.

Earlier this year, California came up with an action plan that provides a roadmap for achieving the state’s goal of having 1.5 million ZEVs on California roadways by 2025.

Director Rajan said Go-Biz was partnering with automotive companies to ensure that California has the necessary infrastructure for meeting the goal of delivering more hydrogen and electric vehicles to market.

 

Google Invests $103M In California Solar Power Project

Silver Ridge Power, LLC and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced that Google is investing $103 million in the Mount Signal Solar project in Imperial County, California.

Mount Signal Solar project

Mount Signal Solar project (photo – google.com)

The 265.7 MW, also known as Imperial Valley Solar 1, is a giant utility-scale solar power generation project that is currently under construction on a 1,963-acre site.

This project is credited with creating 900 construction jobs in a part of the state that has high unemployment.

Once operational in 2014, the project will produce enough clean renewable energy to power more than 80,000 homes in California.

The renewable energy produced by Mount Signal Solar will be sold to the San Diego Gas & Electric Company, which has signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with Silver Ridge Power.

This $103 million is Google’s 13th renewable energy investment. One of the other projects is a $178 million investment in BrightSource Energy’s 377 MW utility-scale solar project called Ivanpah located in the Mojave Desert in California.

Another $157 million was pumped by Google into two projects adding up to a combined 270 MW at the Alta Wind Energy Center (AWEC) in the Tehachapi Mountains in Kern County, CA.

Four Recurrent Energy solar photovoltaic (PV) projects near Sacramento, CA also got $94 million from Google. These four projects together have a capacity of 88 MW, enough to power more than 13,000 homes.

All put together, Google has invested more than $1 billion on renewable energy projects in California, Texas, Iowa, Oregon, Germany and South Africa that together represent a power generation capacity of more than 2GW – enough power for more than 500,000 homes.

Kojo Ako-Asare, Head of Corporate Finance, Google, said the Mount Signal Solar investment is a reflection of Google’s commitment towards the renewable energy sector, and their strong belief that renewable energy investments make business sense.

He added that this was the first time Silver Ridge Power had partnered with a tech company, and said they appreciate Silver Ridge Power’s innovative approach and hoped for more such partnerships in future.

Silver Ridge Power is a joint venture between Riverstone Holdings, LLC and The AES Corporation (NYSE:AES). It was formed specifically to develop, own and operate a portfolio of utility-scale solar power plants.

The Imperial Valley Solar 1 project, developed by 8minutenergy Renewables and taken up for construction by AES, accounts for more than half of Silver Ridge Power’s total capacity of 522 MW in the U.S. and six other countries.

Silver Ridge Power CEO Robert Hemphill said they were pleased to have a world-class partner such as Google for their flagship Mount Signal Solar project.

California Governor Signs Bill Expanding iHub Innovation Network

On Oct 4, 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to codify and expand the state’s iHub innovation network that creates economic opportunities for startups.

California Innovation Hub - iHub

California Innovation Hub – iHub (photo – asmdc.org)

AB 250 was introduced by Assemblymember Chris Holden from Pasadena.

It was approved by the State Assembly and Senate in late August, and sent to the Governor for his signature on Sept 9, 2013.

AB 250 officially creates the California Innovation Hub (iHub) Program housed under the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz).

The bill also creates an iHub Accelerator Fund to allow private sector funding for the program.

California already has a network of 12 iHubs that cover economic sectors ranging from agriculture to life science, medical technology and bio-mass.

These iHubs operate under a cooperative agreement between Go-Biz and partners in the geographic region in question, including local governments, economic development authorities, financial institutions, incubators, angel and VC investors, public universities, community colleges and research institutions.

Assemblymember Holden explained that they want to put California into a position to incubate and cultivate young companies developing new technologies for promoting conservation and other public policy goals.

Holden said that establishing the iHub Accelerator Fund encourages innovation by allowing California to compete for grant funding from the private sector, foundations, and from the federal government.

In 2013 alone, California’s iHubs have received $1.3 million in federal funding. This includes a $1 million grant to create an AgTech Innovation Center in the Sacramento area to help ranchers and farmers grow their business.

The Coachella Valley Economic Partnership in Palm Springs, CA got $200,000 for developing a strategy to enhance the region’s capacity for attracting manufacturing investments and increasing export sales.

China Lake Technologies got $100,000 for developing a strategy for creating jobs in the Kern County region’s bio-products sector.

GO-Biz Director Kish Rajan and other state officials will be in Riverside on Oct 8, 2013 for the “Innovation Hub Announcement and Expo.”

Rajan said in a statement that California was already home to the largest state sponsored innovation hub network in the U.S., and the announcement being made will bring in new partners and resources to the initiative and further California’s status as a global leader in innovation.

Organic Transit Opens Vehicle Production Facility in San Jose, CA

Durham, North Carolina-based Organic Transit announced that it is expanding its operations in Durham to a bigger facility, and also opening a new production facility to assemble their ELF pedal plus electric vehicle in San Jose, California.

Organic Transit's ELF at Good Karma Bikes in San Jose, CA

Organic Transit’s ELF at Good Karma Bikes in San Jose, CA (photo – organictransit.com)

Organic Transit was launched in 2011, and got its initial boost using a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign through which it got $225,789 and 51 orders to start producing the ELF.

The company has since sold more than 200 vehicles through their website.

The three-wheel ELF is technically and legally a bicycle which can be driven on bike paths and sidewalks, and does not need a driving license.

You may use the pedals to generate electricity, but it also has solar panels for charging the battery, which has a 30-mile range. The vehicle is currently priced at $5,000.

Every ELF vehicle is made of recycled and recyclable material, gives the equivalent of 1,800 mpg, and reduces Co2 emissions by as much as six tons per year.

Their old headquarters in Durham is located in a retail furniture store which the company has now outgrown.

The new location they are moving into in downtown Durham is bigger at 7,500 square feet, and Organic Transit is planning to make use of sustainable design for the building renovations.

Rob Cotter, founder and CEO of Organic Transit, said they were planning to use recycled and upcycled material for the buildout, and the building was being renovated to include LED lighting and skylights, green walls, bee hives and edible gardens.

The second part of the announcement is that Organic Transit has opened a new manufacturing facility in San Jose, CA in partnership with non-profit Good Karma Bikes (GKB).

GKB provides low-income and homeless people with bicycles so that they get the freedom and benefits of being able to travel and move around easily. GKB also provides those interested with training on how to be a bicycle mechanic. It’s actually a proper course with certification that helps those trained in getting jobs.

Organic Transit is leasing space from GKB in San Jose. The company hopes to produce more vehicles per day with the establishment of the new production space in San Jose.

Cotter says interest in the ELF has been huge on the West Coast, and their partnership with GKB will help the company service customers in California and other western states.

CitiesAlive Green Roof and Wall Conference

The 11th Annual CitiesAlive Green Roof and Wall Conference is scheduled to take place October 23-26, 2013 in San Francisco, California.

CitiesAlive Conference in San Francisco, CA

CitiesAlive Conference in San Francisco, CA (photo – citiesalive.org)

The conference is organized by industry association Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC), with active support and participation from the City of San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and the Planning Department.

The conference theme is “Securing urban resiliency with living architecture: Food РWater – Energy.”

This year’s CitiesAlive conference will feature more than 100 presentations, case studies, panel discussions and sessions that will focus on how living architecture improves the resiliency of communities.

Steven Peck, founder and president of GRHC, said the case for greening cities has never been stronger, and the experts coming together at CitiesAlive will explore the many links between a city’s roofs and walls and their role in creating urban resilience.

The welcome address will be given by Peck and Emilio Cruz, assistant manager for Infrastructure, SFPUC. The sessions scheduled for the conference are divided into four tracks – Design; Research; Policy; and a fourth track called “On the Roof With.”

One of the highlights of the conference will be the panel discussion on the “emerging role of the designer to improve resiliency in the face of climate change.”

Panel members for this discussion include:-

Peter Busby, managing director for Perkins+Will;

Jeff Joslin, director of Current Planning, San Francisco Planning Department;

Eric Corey Freed, principal at organicARCHITECT; and

Christina Weber, Business & Community Development at DIRTT Environmental Solutions.

The policy track includes several interesting presentations, including one by Keith Agoada, founder of Sky Vegetables, who will provide detailed insights on the realities of the economics and marketing required for widespread adoption of commercial urban agriculture.

San Francisco Planning Department’s Jeff Joslin will talk about municipal strategies for green roofs and walls.

Dave LaClergue, urban designer for the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development, will talk about Seattle Green Factor Рa code standard created to improve the quality and quantity of urban landscaping.

Alice Coker, who works at the Bureau of Environmental Services, City of Portland, Oregon, will provide updates about Portland’s Ecoroof Program.

John Rahaim, director of San Francisco Planning Department, said that CitiesAlive will serve to highlight San Francisco’s innovative green efforts in the past and future, and will provide an opportunity to learn about best practices as the City further refines and advances sustainability practices and policies.

What: CitiesAlive Green Roof and Wall Conference

When: October 23-26, 2013

Where: San Francisco Marriott Marquis, San Francisco, California

EDA Awards $21M in Grants to Projects Creating 2500 Jobs in 11 States

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced $21.1 million in grants being awarded to 16 economic development projects in 11 states.

EDA

Photo credit – eda.gov

It is expected that the projects being funded will raise $505 million in additional investments, and will create a combined total of more than 2,500 jobs.

The list of 16 projects includes four recipients in California. The Cities of Mt. Shasta and Imperial are getting $3 million each, while Delano and Yuba are getting $1.8 million each.

The City of Imperial is getting $3 million to help it support the development of the Alliance and Innovative Regional Center, which is an EB-5 investment initiative. This center is expected to create more than 640 jobs by helping provide green cards to foreigners who invest in qualified projects and help create jobs.

Mt. Shasta is getting $3 million for making water infrastructure improvements that will allow the city to provide support for a new water bottling plant. This project is expected to generate $20 million in private investments and will create 60 new jobs.

Yuba is likewise getting $1.8 million for water system improvements that will enable an expansion of Yuba County Airport Industrial Park and support continued manufacturing growth. This project will help create 150 jobs.

Delano is also getting $1.8 million for building a rail spur connecting the city to an industrial park, which is expected to boost commercial activity at the park and provide more employment opportunities.

Dothan, Alabama is getting $1 million from the EDA to help build up aerospace sector activity at Dothan-Houston County Airport Authority. The grant will be used for roadway and water system improvements, which is expected to be helpful for an MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) project at the airport that is expected to generate $7.5 million in private investment and create 300 new jobs.

In Miami, Florida, the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency is getting $600,000 for a historic rehabilitation project. The City of Miami Hospitality and Culinary Institute will be housed in the rehabilitated church. This project is expected to create 139 jobs while expanding training opportunities for hospitality workers.

The Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, is getting a $1.5 million grant that will help establish the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship in a renovated downtown property that housed a bank.

The city of Florence, South Carolina is getting $1 million to make water system improvements that will facilitate a $27 million expansion at the Honda plant. This project will help retain 600 jobs and create 65 new jobs.

The rest of the grants are as follows:-

Avoyelles Parish Port Commission of Simmesport, Louisiana – $1.2 million

LaSalle Parish Police Jury of Jena, Louisiana – $500,000

City of Jonesburg, Missouri – $1.9 million

Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center of Choctaw, Oklahoma – $300,000

City of Moore, Oklahoma – $300,000

Redevelopment Authority of Easton Pennsylvania – $1.5 million

South Plains Community College of Levelland, Texas – $475,000

Cedar City, Corporation of Cedar City, Utah – $935,900

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