SB 350, legislation just passed, gives California energy efficiency a big boost.
It doubles the state’s goal for energy efficiency in buildings, boosting the goal from 8% to about 17% by 2030, says Steven Chadima, director of California initiatives for the Advanced Energy Economy in this podcast.
“The goal here for a lot of this is to see more comprehensive energy efficiency instead of switching out lightbulbs or windows. The idea is to approach buildings more holistically,” he says.
That might mean include improving building envelopes, installing more energy efficiency heating and cooling systems, and participating in demand response programs.
The Advanced Energy Economy also wants to develop energy efficiency financing systems that allow building owners to pay less per month for the improvements than what they would reap in energy savings, he says.
“We need financing options,” Chadima says. “In some of our work at the Advanced Energy Economy, we work with state financing agencies to come up with new and different programs to attract outside capital.”
For example, private capital could be used to buy down interest rates for energy efficiency projects.
Although the legislation was approved to boost California energy efficiency, the details of how it will be accomplished have not yet been worked out.
“The language of the bill hammers out the guidelines and then leaves it to the commissioners to hold specific hearings. These hearings are lengthy; everyone comments and comments on others’ comments,” Chadima says.
The California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission are charged with the task of hammering out those details.
“California has shown that ambitious energy and climate goals can drive innovation and growth, creating significant employment for the state,” said Graham Richard, CEO of Advanced Energy Economy. “This bill sets our sights even higher for renewable energy and energy efficiency. These new goals will continue the state’s leadership in energy innovation and keep the economic momentum going.”
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