For Immediate Release: December 8, 2011
Media Contact: Percy D. Della - 916-654-4989


Wine country localities benefit from improved lighting and other upgrades

Savings in electricity costs are anticipated by two California wine country localities because of energy upgrades made possible by a combination of low interest loans and federal stimulus funds.

"Improvements in energy efficiency will help these communities reduce energy waste drastically," said California Energy Commission Chair Robert Weisenmiller. "Their savings free up dollars that could be spent to dispense other crucial public services."

The town of Yountville in Napa County replaced 110 high pressure sodium streetlights with energy efficient light emitting diode (LED) fixtures. It also switched exit signs to LEDs, improved motion sensors, heating, ventilating and air conditioning units at its town hall, community hall and post office and upgraded insulation at its corporation yard.

Funding came from a combination of a $200,473 low-interest loan from the Energy Commission's Energy Conservation Assistance Account (ECAA) and a $25,000 federal stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The projects, completed earlier this year, are expected to reduce the town's annual energy use by an estimated $21,060 a year and cut its annual greenhouse gas emissions by about 44 tons of CO2 a year.

The city of Fort Bragg (Mendocino County) was awarded a federal stimulus grant of $36,458 from the DOE. The grant enabled the city to replace old, inefficient lighting with energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs, energy efficient fluorescent lighting and switch exit signs to LEDs at the Town Hall, wastewater treatment facility and Guest House Museum. It also replaced a 20-horsepower pump to a more energy efficient model at its wastewater treatment plant.

The improvements completed middle of this year will cut the city's electricity bill by $5,620 and reduce its greenhouse emissions by 13 tons of CO2 every year.

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Federal stimulus funds to small cities and counties awarded under the ARRA's Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) and administered by the Energy Commission are providing more than $33 million to 201 eligible localities throughout California. Large cities and counties are receiving funding directly from the US DOE. For more information about ARRA funded programs, click on:

Between 1979 and June 2011, over $263 million in ECAA loans to local governments, public schools and hospitals, public care institutions and other agencies have been allocated to more than 760 recipients. For more information on the ECAA loan program, visit:

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, six basic responsibilities guide the Energy Commission as it sets state energy policy: forecasting future energy needs; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state's appliance and building efficiency standards; supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs; developing renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry and transportation; planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies.

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