Congratulations to Riverside, California’s ‘Coolest City’

Energy Upgrade CaliforniaRedirecting to a non-government site, the California Air Resources BoardRedirecting to a non-government site (CARB) and the University of California’s Renewable and Appropriate Energy LaboratoryRedirecting to a non-government site named Western customer the city of RiversideRedirecting to a non-government site the winner of the CoolCalifornia City ChallengeRedirecting to a non-government site. The competition between 10 California cities to reduce their carbon footprint and better manage energy use began April 1. The cities earned points by individual households, small businesses and teams in the community by tracking their energy use and vehicle emissions.

Pictured from L to R: ARB Board Member Barbara Riordan, Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey, ARB Board Member Judy Mitchell, & ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. (Photo by California Air Resources Board)
Pictured from L to R: ARB Board Member Barbara Riordan, Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey, ARB Board Member Judy Mitchell, & ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. (Photo by California Air Resources Board)

The California Air Resources Board recognized the cities at its Oct. 23 meeting. Riverside competed alongside Arcata, Burlingame, Claremont, Corona, Chula Vista, Long Beach, Lynwood, Mission Viejo and Rancho Cucamonga. Claremont and Rancho Cucamonga, respectively, claimed the honor of second and third “Cool California Cities” in a hard-fought battle.

All participating cities will receive a portion of $100,000 prize based on their total points, with Riverside receiving the largest amount—$32,950. The prize money will go toward city programs that help the environment.

Getting residents involved
The challenge cities engaged nearly 4,000 households and civic groups in total to take simple, everyday actions to reduce their carbon footprint. Participants logged their monthly energy data and motor vehicle miles onto a website that determines how much carbon is being cut and calculates how many points those actions generated for each household and municipality.

More than 1,100 Riverside residents tracked their energy savings online and helped the city win the contest. Participants installed energy-efficient light bulbs, took to bicycles and walking and learned to think twice about turning appliances on. With fewer than half as many residents taking the challenge, Claremont came within 200,000 points of matching Riverside’s score of 3.5 million. Some steps contestants took, such as investing in rooftop solar or purchasing electric vehicles, will provide carbon reductions and additional savings for many years.

More than a game
Not only did the challenge save residents energy and money, it also demonstrated that cities play an important role in the state’s efforts to fight climate change and move toward a cleaner, more sustainable economy. Now in its second year, the competition had 40 percent more households and 60 percent more greenhouse gas reductions in half the time. Altogether, participants saved more than 800,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, equivalent to removing more than 140 California homes from the grid or 80 automobiles from the road for a year.

Cash prizes for civic improvements, bragging rights and recognition are not the only reasons the cities took the challenge. CARB and its program partners also gained valuable information about how to motivate individuals to take voluntary steps to curb their carbon footprints. Voluntary actions are part of California’s ambitious climate plan, and CARB is developing tools and resources to support these non-regulatory efforts.

Participating cities realize that the challenge of energy management is not a one-time event. Managing energy efficiently, saving money and making homes and businesses more comfortable is a way of life. In taking the challenge, all of California’s “Cool Cities” are learning best practices to make their communities healthier and more sustainable, and that makes all of them winners.

Source: Fierce Energy via LinkedIn Utility Energy ForumRedirecting to a non-government site, 10/28/14

Presentations Now Online from 33rd Utility Energy Forum

We enjoyed meeting all the customers who attended the Utility Energy Forum Redirecting to a non-government site last week—your participation made the event entertaining as well as educational. Special thanks go out to sponsors Sacramento Municipal Utility District Redirecting to a non-government site, City of Palo Alto Utilities Redirecting to a non-government site, Imperial Irrigation District Redirecting to a non-government site, Riverside Public Utilities Redirecting to a non-government site, Roseville Electric Redirecting to a non-government site and Silicon Valley Power Redirecting to a non-government site for their hard work putting together a program that addressed regional utilities’ most pressing concerns.

Now you can revisit the presentations to pick up some tips for your own programs, or find out what you missed if you were unable to join us.  You can also learn more about the UEF sponsors and exhibitors.

Attendees who didn’t fill out the paper survey at the forum can still complete an online survey Redirecting to a non-government site. Your two cents worth helps the planning committee make the UEF better each year.

Circle May 14-16, 2014, on your calendar so you don’t miss next year’s Utility Energy Forum. Western customers in the Rocky Mountain Region, will want to save Oct. 8-10, 2013, for the Rocky Mountain Utility Efficiency Exchange Redirecting to a non-government site.

And if you don’t have an event in your region that brings together utility colleagues to share challenges and solutions, contact your Energy Services representative and get one started!  In the meantime, consider joining Linkedin Group Discussions Redirecting to a non-government site.

Riverside hits 5-MW mark for solar power

Western congratulates the city of Riverside, Calif., for reaching a solar milestone early this month by surpassing the 5-megawatt mark. A megawatt is enough to power about 650 homes.

More than 450 residential, commercial, and city-funded solar energy systems are now producing local, clean renewable energy in Riverside, said Riverside Public Utilities Redirecting to a non-government site.

A 7.35-kilowatt system at the California Citrus State Historic Park, located in the city’s historic orange grove greenbelt, plus a number of smaller residential projects that went on line the first week of September helped to push Riverside over the 5-MW mark.

Riverside has seen about a 1-MW increase in solar generation annually since 2009.

“A key component in our plan to create a clean and green city was to increase our use of renewable energy resources and to make those technologies available to our residents,” said Riverside Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge.

Riverside Public Utilities, which provides energy services to more than 106,000 metered customers in the city, currently gets nearly 20 percent of its total power mix from renewable energy resources. Source: Public Power Daily, 9/18/12