For Immediate Release: February 9, 2012
Media Contact: Percy D. Della - 916-654-4989


Hercules Flexes Muscles for Energy Efficiency

The City of Hercules, named after the Greek demigod, is flexing its muscles when it comes to energy efficiency.

To trim its budget without shedding jobs or essential services, the Contra Costa community of 25,000 along the coast of San Pablo Bay, has zeroed in on its energy bills with an upgrade of its high-pressure sodium street lights to light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

The project, courtesy of a federal block grant targeted 161 street lights that consumed 100 watts and replaced them with brighter, 63-watt LED fixtures on several blocks of Sycamore Avenue and Refugio Valley Road.

Lower electric consumption from the LEDs will result in immediate savings of 40,195 kWh, or $4,823 in the city's energy costs every year. The city will also cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 14 pounds annually.

For the project completed last year, Hercules utilized a $126,555 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Administered by the California Energy Commission, the block grants are meant to help small cities and counties achieve their energy efficiency goals.

With the upgrade, the city has replaced eight percent of the traditional street lights with LEDs. City officials plan to retrofit more as funds become available.

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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:

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.