Energy Commission Holding Workshop on Workforce Training Opportunities for Alternative Fuels

The California Energy Commission is holding a workshop on Aug. 25 to gather input from stakeholders to help develop how investments in workforce training for alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies will be made.

The staff workshop starts at 9 a.m. at the Energy Commission headquarters, 1516 Ninth Street. All stakeholders, including potential solicitation applicants, vehicle manufacturers, investors, community groups, and other government organizations, are encouraged to attend and participate.



The Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP) provides up to $100 million annually for technology to reduce the state’s reliance on fossil fuels, curtail greenhouse gases and meet clean air standards. These projects reduce the state’s reliance on petroleum and helps California with its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

To date, the ARFVTP has invested more than $30 million in training and development in alternative renewable fuels and advanced vehicle technology. Under the ARFVTP 2016-17 Investment Plan Update, $2.5 million will be invested in workforce training to prepare a workforce to meet California’s growing clean fuels market.

During the workshop, the Energy Commission’s investments in workforce training will be reviewed and information will be gathered to help develop future funding opportunities. The workshop will include presentations from partner agencies such as the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office that have received training funds. There will also be discussions on the challenges for workforce training such as how to serve underserved communities, public transit agency needs, and increasing career interest in the clean fuels market.

More about the workshop can be found here.

The Pathway to 2050 Is A Road Paved With Renewables

Looking into the state’s distant and recent past may yield a clue or two about California’s energy future.

That was a focus of California Energy Commissioner David Hochschild during his closing speech at Pathway to 2050, an advanced energy conference held Aug. 10 in Sacramento.

This annual gathering of movers and shakers in the renewable and advanced energy world had topics ranging from decarbonizing transportation to scaling energy capital and energy storage.

In Hochschild’s estimation, the state has come a long way in a short amount of time with renewable energy.



“Critics said where we are today with renewables was not possible five or 10 years ago,” said Hochschild. “We were at 12 percent of renewables in 2008 and now we’re at 26 percent.”

A decade ago, some prevalent notions about renewable energy included that using more renewable energy would hurt the economy, raise unemployment and cause rolling blackouts.

“None of the calamities predicted have come to pass,” Hochschild said.

In some cases, the opposite has happened.

“Since about 2001, the state’s GDP has grown 28 percent and emissions have fallen 8 percent,” Hochschild said.



He cited Tesla as an example of the kind of growth happening - where technology is advancing at a fast clip along with the public’s adoption of that technology.

The 5.4 million-square-foot Tesla electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Fremont is the largest manufacturing operation in California. General Motors and Toyota once jointly operated the plant, which produced 50,000 Tesla cars in 2015.

“Tesla now employs more people at this plant than GM did,” Hochschild said.

That growth has happened rapidly. It took GM over 100 years to become a $50 billion company. It has taken Tesla only 13 years to reach the $34 billion mark, he said.

“As a result of our bold policies, from cap and trade to our Renewables Portfolio Standard, we now have more clean tech venture capital coming into California than all of Europe and China combined,” said Hochschild.

Comisionado McAllister Discute Barreras a Eficiencia Energética en Comunidades de Bajos Ingresos

Comisionado de Energía de California Andrew McAllister apareció en Univisión en Sacramento para discutir eficiencia energética obstáculos para comunidades de bajos ingresos.

Su entrevista de 16 de Agosto en la programa “Despierta Sacramento!” por Univisión se enfocó en las esfuerzas de California en energía límpia y eficiencia energética. McAllister tocó sobre lo que está haciendo la comisión para ayudar a romper barreras en comunidades de bajos ingresos.

“Estamos preparando un reporte para identificar políticas principales de energía para recomendar a los legisladores y también mejore de programas para educar más eficazmente a las comunidades y a propocionar oportunidades para empleo,” dijo McAllister.



Su entrevista con la estación de television en español vinó menos que una semana después de un taller de la Comisión de Energía en el 12 de Agosto que se enfocó en barreras y recomendaciones para aumentar aceso a energía renovable, energía eficiencia y oportunidades de contratación de pequeño negocios para comunidades de bajos ingresos.

El taller fue parte del alcance público que está conduciendo la Comisión de Energía por parte del estudio de barreras por Senate Bill 350 (SB 350), el cual que resumirá las barreras y ofrecer soluciones posibles. Bajo de SB 350, la legislatura dirigió a la Comisión de Energía a completar y publicar el estudio por enero de 2017.

SB 350 aumenta la meta de adquisición de electricidad renovable de California de 33 por ciento en el año 2020 a 50 por ciento en el año 2030.

Hojas informativas sobre el estudio de barreras están disponible en ingles, español, chino, hmong, vietnamita, coreano y tagalo.

Vea la entrevista de McAllister aquí.

Energy Commission Funds Los Angeles Energy Innovation Cluster to Aid Entrepreneurs

The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator received a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission to establish a Los Angeles Regional Energy Innovation Cluster (LA REIC) that will support clean energy entrepreneurship and networking opportunities in the Southern California coastal region.

The LA REIC will be the central coordinating organization for clean energy start-up companies in the Los Angeles Region and will provide access to resources and facilities to help entrepreneurs commercialize their innovations. The LA REIC will work with key stakeholders in Los Angeles, Orange, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties to identify the region’s energy needs and connect them with energy technology solutions being developed by early-stage business ventures and universities.

Photo Credit: Laura Rudich
The LA REIC was one of several projects brought before the Energy Commission for action at the Aug. 10 business meeting and funded through its Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program, which provides grants for innovative technologies and approaches that bring clean energy ideas to market.

EPIC funding was also approved for five projects that identify, test and demonstrate water and energy savings or that develop new approaches that accelerate the deployment of drought resilience strategies. Grants totaling $5 million were awarded to UC Davis, Porifera, Inc., Altex Technologies Corp., Lawrence Livermore National Security LLC and Kennedy/Jenks Consultants.

Photo Credit: Gary Leonard
The Energy Commission also approved a $1.5 million EPIC grant for the City of Santa Monica to plan and design a microgrid that will incorporate renewable energy, energy storage and electric vehicle charging. The grant stems from the Energy Commission’s EPIC Challenge launched earlier this year. Teams made up of private and governmental entities are competing against each other to demonstrate strategies that could become models to help accelerate the development of zero net energy communities.

UC Berkeley received a $1.8 million EPIC grant to demonstrate the energy savings and increased user satisfaction possible by pairing comfort-sensing ceiling fans with learning thermostats. Comfort-sensing ceiling fans have built-in technology that automatically adjusts fan speed to the home environment, while learning thermostats automatically adjust home heating and cooling controls based on space conditions and user’s schedule. UC Berkeley will install the integrated fan/thermostat system in low income multi-family housing in disadvantaged communities throughout the state.

Information on these projects can be found in the backup materials for the August business meeting.

Energy Commissioner McAllister Discusses Barriers to Energy Efficiency in Low-Income Communities

California Energy Commissioner Andrew McAllister appeared on Univision in Sacramento to discuss energy efficiency hurdles for low-income communities.

His Aug. 16 interview on Univision’s “Despierta Sacramento!” focused on California’s efforts in clean energy and energy efficiency. McAllister touched on what the Energy Commission is doing to help break down barriers in low-income communities.

"We’re preparing a report to identify key energy policies that we will recommend to lawmakers, as well as program improvements to more effectively educate communities and provide opportunities for employment,” said McAllister.



His interview with the Spanish television station came less than a week after an Aug. 12 workshop at the Energy Commission that focused on barriers and recommendations to increase access to renewable energy, energy efficiency and small business contracting opportunities for low-income communities.

The workshop was part of the public outreach that the Energy Commission is conducting for the Senate Bill 350 barriers study, which will summarize the barriers and offer possible solutions. Under SB 350, the Legislature directed the Energy Commission to complete and publish the study by January 2017.

SB 350, which Governor Edmund Brown Jr. signed into law October 2015, established new energy efficiency and renewable electricity targets by 2030 to support California's long-term climate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

SB 350 increases California’s renewable electricity procurement goal from 33 percent by 2020 to 50 percent by 2030.

Fact sheets about the barriers study are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hmong, Vietnamese, Korean, and Tagalog.

View McAllister’s interview here.

Undercover Work at the State’s Central Heating and Cooling Plant

Under the sidewalks of downtown Sacramento lays a labyrinth of narrow, sweltering and faintly lit concrete tunnels stretching out for more than two miles.

The tunnels are part of the Central Heating and Cooling Plant — a facility that delivers hot and cold water that heats and cools more than five million square feet of state buildings, including the headquarters for the California Energy Commission.


  

On a hot day, the plant at 6th and Q streets moves more than 14,000 gallons of water per minute, said Kaeyrie Rodriguez, chief engineer for the plant, which is operated by the California Department of General Services. The oversized pipes, valves, fans, chillers, boilers and other equipment operate around the clock, 365 days a year, serving 23 state-owned buildings.

The facility, which was built in 1968 and completed a major renovation in 2010, is a LEED platinum plant that was designed to provide safer and more reliable heating and cooling to state buildings, expand capacity, plus improve energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.

While the plant features highly efficient gas-fired steam boilers and other equipment, a passerby might mistake it for something else.


  


When renovating, planners wanted a look that blended in with the downtown landscape. What they got was a clean, modern building and a new 140-foot tall thermal energy water silo with urban camouflage – a powder and royal blue paint scheme surrounded by silver cladding that doubles as a modern art piece.

They also made sure the facility was quiet. There is very little noise except for what sounds like a water fountain somewhere off in the distance. That sound comes from the massive evaporative cooling tower on top of the main building. There, eight fans with blades larger than most commercial aircraft propellers remove heat from large water droplets raining down into huge collecting pools with the force and din of a Midwest downpour.

What’s more, the facility uses photovoltaic panels in the parking lot to generate electricity for the office and support areas.


Stanford Students Learn About Energy

This summer, the California Energy Commission hosted four Stanford University students under public service summer fellowships to work with commissioners and advisors on projects ranging from renewable energy integration to international energy policy. The Stanford Energy Internships in California program (SEIC) has provided opportunity for the students to learn about the State’s pioneering energy work and provided hands-on experience at the intersection of energy technology and policy.

Alexandria Smith, the only undergraduate SEIC fellow at the Energy Commission spent the summer in Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller’s office coordinating and providing assistance to the California Public Utilities Commission and More Than Smart initiative to transform the distribution grid to a modern, flexible distributed energy system.

From left to right: Commissioner David Hochschild, Terra Weeks, Alexandria Smith, Stanford Senior Research Scholar Dian Grueneich, Chairman Robert Weisenmiller, Jeffrey Lin, Esteban Guerrero, Commissioner Andrew McAllister, Commissioner Janea Scott.
“This internship has been such a fantastic opportunity to engage with leaders in energy policy, and I am amazed at the collaboration between government, communities, nonprofits, and businesses to reach resolutions that will help achieve the state’s energy goals,” said Smith, who looks forward to her junior year in the Stanford Earth Systems Program.

Terra Weeks and Esteban Guerrero both spent the summer working in Commissioner David Hochschild’s office with a focus on renewable energy policy. Weeks, a Master’s student in Stanford’s Atmosphere & Energy program, focused on developing new policy concepts to increase solar deployment on new construction and provide solar access to low-income communities.

“The SEIC program offers a rare and exciting opportunity to step into a state agency and contribute to highly impactful renewable energy programs and policies that serve as global models for clean energy leadership,” said Weeks.

As the first Environmental Equity Fellow under Commissioner Hochschild, Guerrero contributed to the implementation of Senate Bill 350 through direct participation in the upcoming Energy Commission’s Barriers Study. Esteban also helped organize the visit of and host a delegation from Mexico, as part of the ongoing California-Mexico MOU work. He has already graduated with Master’s degrees in Management Science & Engineering and Public Policy, and looks forward to his extended stay at the Commission to see to the completion of the Barriers Study in December.

Jeffrey Lin, a PhD student in electrical engineering and public policy, is a fellow under Commissioner Andrew McAllister, working on data analytics for energy use in school sites participating in the California Clean Energy Jobs Act (also known as the Proposition 39 K-12 Program). Additionally, Lin studied the proposed 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, in relation to zero net-energy buildings.

In its inaugural year, Stanford Energy Internships in California placed 10 students across various California agencies in addition to the Energy Commission, including the California Air Resources Board, the California Department of Water Resources, California Public Utilities Commission and also at the California Independent System Operator. The Stanford Energy Internships in California is a partnership between the Precourt Institute for Energy, the Bill Lane Center for the American West, and Stanford in Government. The Energy Commission looks forward to an ongoing SEIC partnership to engage students in public service.

Energy Commission Workshop on Barriers That Low-Income and Disadvantaged Communities Face with Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

The California Energy Commission is holding a workshop to discuss the barriers that low-income and disadvantaged communities face when considering adopting renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.

The workshop, which begins at 9 a.m. on August 12 at the Energy Commission headquarters in Sacramento, will gather the input from community organizations, industry, state agencies, and local government.



Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller will preside over the workshop, which the other Energy Commissioners are scheduled to attend. Commissioners and executive officers from other agencies may also attend and participate in the meeting.

The panel and roundtable discussions during the workshop will focus on barriers and recommendations to increase access to renewable energy, energy efficiency and small business contracting opportunities for low-income and disadvantaged communities.

The meeting is part of the public outreach that the Energy Commission is conducting for the Senate Bill 350 barriers study, which will summarize the barriers and offer possible solutions.

Under SB 350, the Legislature directed the Energy Commission to complete and publish the study by January 2017. The Energy Commission plans to publish the draft study in September 2016 and hold a workshop to gather input on it.



SB 350, which Governor Edmund Brown Jr. signed into law October 2015, established new energy efficiency and renewable electricity targets by 2030 to support California's long-term climate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

SB 350 increases California’s renewable electricity procurement goal from 33 percent by 2020 to 50 percent by 2030. This will increase the use of Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) eligible resources, including solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal. It also requires the state to double statewide energy efficiency savings in electricity and natural gas end uses by 2030.

More about the August 12 workshop can be found here. Fact sheets about the study are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hmong, Vietnamese, Korean, and Tagalog.