California Approves $13.5 Million in Loans for Energy-Efficient Upgrades to Schools

Grants for alternative and renewable fuel projects totaling nearly $8 million also approved

Sacramento – The California Energy Commission approved $13.5 million for energy efficiency measures to 14 schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Joaquin County and Orange County during its monthly business meeting today. The Energy Commission also approved grants to four entities to develop and research alternative and renewable fuel projects.

Energy Conservation Assistance Act

Three school districts received loans through the Energy Conservation Assistance Act (ECAA), a zero- or low-interest loan program providing funds to public entities. School districts, charter schools, county offices of education, state special schools and community college districts are eligible for a zero-percent interest rate loan. Funding is provided by the Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39) through ECAA-Ed and must be used for energy projects.

Awardees for the $13.5 million include:

*Campbell Union School District: $7.5 million for energy efficiency measures and solar installation projects at 11 schools, which includes 10 charter schools. The individual projects will be paid back between 11 and 18 years and collectively will save more than $480,000 annually.

*Newport Mesa Unified School District: $3 million for renewable energy measures at the school district's facilities. Based on the loan amount and California Solar Initiative incentives, the payback is roughly six years. The projects will save more than $460,000 annually.

*Patterson Joint Unified School District: $3 million to install solar photovoltaic panels at two school district sites. The project is estimated to save the district more than $165,000 in annual energy costs. Based on the loan amount, the payback is about 18 years.

Alternative fuel and vehicles

The Energy Commission approved grants and contracts through the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP), which supports the development and use of alternative and renewable fuel projects and advanced transportation technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on petroleum-based fuels.

Awardees for the $7.7 million include:

*South Coast Air Quality Management District: $1.4 million to install overhead wire infrastructure to demonstrate zero-emission truck operations along the I-710 corridor in Los Angeles County.

*CalSTART, Inc.: $900,000 grant to develop and demonstrate an innovative, battery/fuel cell hybrid zero-emission transit bus that could reduce the price of fuel cell hybrid buses by up to 70 percent.

*Pacific Ethanol Development, LLC: $3 million grant to develop and use sorghum feedstock that will lead to the production of low-carbon transportation fuel in Madera and Stockton.

*The City of San Mateo: $2.4 million grant to produce low-carbon biomethane from the unused digester gas generated at the city's wastewater treatment plant. The biomethane will be used to fuel fleet vehicles. According to city officials, this project will create 2 full-time jobs and 15-20 part-time jobs.

Other actions

*The Energy Commission approved regulations creating an administrative process to enforce compliance with California's energy and water efficiency standards for appliances. Once approved by the Office of Administrative Law, the process will allow the Energy Commission to impose monetary penalties for violations of the Appliance Efficiency Regulations. The new enforcement process is the result of Senator Fran Pavley's (D – Agoura Hills) 2011 bill, SB 454, which gave the Energy Commission this additional authority because without adequate enforcement of the regulations, energy and water savings totaling billions of dollars since they were enacted will not be realized.

*The California Advanced Lighting Controls Training Program and the National Lighting Contractors Association of America were approved to become Acceptance Test Technician Certification Providers. They will train and certify field technicians and employers on the Building Energy Efficiency Standards lighting control acceptance tests.

A detailed list of all items before the Commission at today's business meeting can be found online.

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