For Immediate Release:
December 19, 2013

Contact: Lori Sinsley (916) 654-4989


Energy Efficiency Guidelines for School Funding
Approved by Energy Commission

SACRAMENTO - California schools are one step closer to receiving $550 million a year for energy efficiency projects that was made possible by voter-approved Proposition 39.

The California Energy Commission today unanimously adopted the California Clean Energy Jobs Act Guidelines, which it was tasked with developing. The vote clears the way for local educational agencies to apply for award funds early next year.

"This program will help our schools save money on energy bills and improve the learning environment for our kids," said Energy Commissioner Andrew McAllister. "These building improvements will help make classrooms more comfortable and productive for California's students and their teachers, while at the same time growing California’s clean energy economy."

"We can and should embrace energy efficiency and renewable resources while freeing up dollars for the classroom and creating new opportunities for our students to learn about the environment," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. "Energy efficiency projects around the state, particularly if they take place in our schools, will help create jobs, protect our environment, save money and create teachable moments for students all at the same time."

The California Clean Energy Jobs Act led to changes in the corporate income tax structure and transfers up to $550 million annually from the General Fund to the Clean Energy Job Creation Fund for five fiscal years.

To prepare the Final Guidelines, Energy Commission staff conducted five statewide workshops and three webinars to gather public comment. After funding legislation was approved in June, Energy Commission staff accelerated the delivery of well-defined, effective program guidelines in an unprecedented six months. As a result, schools can start their projects as early as spring 2014.

Funding recipients may spend money on various types of energy projects including: improving lighting controls and occupancy sensors; replacing incandescent exit signs; installing new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; replacing old boilers and furnaces; sealing ducts; and installing photovoltaic solar panels. Proposed construction projects that are approved in early 2014 are likely to begin next summer.

Legislation passed in June 2013 outlines the details of how the grants will be allocated to California's K-12 schools and community colleges, and includes requirements to ensure the funds deliver expected energy and cost savings.

In the 2013-14 fiscal year, $464 million will be given out as follows:

  • Local educational agencies (LEAs), which include county offices of education, school districts, charter schools, and state special schools, will receive $381 million for energy efficiency and clean energy projects.
  • California community college districts will receive $47 million for energy efficiency and clean energy projects.
  • The Energy Commission will receive $28 million for low-interest and no-interest revolving loans for eligible energy projects and technical assistance.
  • The California Workforce Investment Board will receive $3 million to develop and implement a competitive grant program for eligible workforce training organizations to prepare disadvantaged youth, veterans, and others for employment in clean energy fields.
  • The California Conservation Corps will receive $5 million from the Governor’s 2013-14 Budget to perform energy surveys and other energy conservation-related activities.

The Energy Commission will post the application form ("energy expenditure plan") and handbook to its website in early January 2014. Training sessions and webinars will be available to assist schools with this new process. The Commission will review and approve applicants’ energy project proposals and, the California Department of Education (CDE) will award grant funding in spring of 2014. The CDE grant allocation is based on a formula that includes annual daily attendance and the number of students receiving free and reduced-price meals for the prior fiscal year.

The Energy Commission is collaborating on this effort with the California Department of Education, California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, California Public Utilities Commission, California Workforce Investment Board, the Division of the State Architect, and the California Conservation Corps.

The Energy Commission has also set up a toll-free hotline (855-380-8722) for in-state calls and an out-of-state hotline (916-653-0392) to assist with program questions.

More information is available at:

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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.