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October 2017

Photo of Commissioner Weissenmiller

Greetings from Chair Weisenmiller

Climate change threatens the resiliency of California's electricity system, California and Germany share energy goals

A season of natural catastrophes, from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria to scorching wildfires across the West, signal a major warning to California that large scale disasters are growing in number and magnitude. Our neighbor to the north, Montana, faces potential budget cuts because of a devastating and expensive wildfire season. In California, about half of the 20 largest wildfires ever recorded burned in the last decade . . .


Credit: Primus Power

Energy Commission's Investment Helped Energize Battery Storage Company

Primus received a $95,000 research grant to build and install a low-cost, energy storage battery system

Primus Power CEO Tom Stepien was asked recently what chance his company would have had in successfully developing its battery storage system without support from the Energy Commission. His response was "darned near zero." . . .

HC Development

Credit: California Energy Commission

New Solar Homes Partnership Makes Solar Systems Accessible to Affordable Housing

A stronger focus on offering incentives for installing solar systems

A recent update to the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) Guidebook has brought a stronger focus on offering incentives for installing solar systems in new affordable housing projects . . .

Charger by trees

Credit: Mendocino Land Trust

Energy Commission Supports New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Mendocino County State Parks

Electric vehicles with increased access to Mendocino County's majestic state parks and other tourist destinations

Working with the Mendocino Land Trust, California Department of Parks and Recreation and other partners, the Energy Commission is bringing 18 Level 1 electric vehicle charging stations and 30 Level 2 charging stations to 15 sites throughout Mendocino County . . .

Commissioner McAllister and others

Credit: California Energy Commission

Energy Commissioner Celebrates Zero-Net-Energy Pilot Project

A ZNE building consumes as much energy as it produces annually

The San Diego Unified School District will install light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, a solar photovoltaic system, and a brand new water chiller. It also will upgrade the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems at the school. The upgrades to Vista Grande Elementary's main building are expected to save the district nearly $90,000 every year, according to school officials . . .

Monterey sign

Credit: California Energy Commission

Monterey Regional Airport Uses Solar Array Funded by Energy Commission

Solar array is expected to save the airport $5.5 million in energy savings over 25 years

With more than 30 daily flights that connect travelers to destinations across the globe, the Monterey Regional Airport serves nearly 400,000 commercial passengers every year. The airport has been exploring ways to keep energy costs down while ensuring smooth operations for passengers . . .

Cow Cooling at UCD

Credit: California Energy Commission

Energy Commission Grant Studying How to Help Cows Stay Cool

Heat stress can cause cows to produce less milk

Milk is California's most valued agricultural commodity with $9.4 billion in sales in 2014. Heat stress can cause cows to produce less milk . . .



  • At a test site in Novato, Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) presented the results of a demonstration of its LX1 electric hybrid wheel loader, which vastly outperformed its diesel-powered counterpart in two California field tests. Volvo CE received more than $1.8 million from the Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program for the demonstration project. The program's investments support advancements in alternative, renewable fuels and the vehicles powered by them.
  • The Energy Commission approved the adoption of building energy standards for the cities of Brisbane, Fremont, Healdsburg and Portola Valley that exceed what the state requires. Brisbane will require cool roofs and solar photovoltaic (PV) or solar hot water systems to be installed in all new buildings. Fremont's ordinance will require installation of a minimum amount of solar PV with a new single family homes. Healdsburg will require new single family homes greater than 3,000 square feet to be 15 percent more energy efficient than required by the 2016 Building Energy Efficiency Standards. Portola Valley will require efficiency improvements of 10 percent for new single family homes, buildings, and additions and alterations to existing buildings. The Energy Commission has approved 11 local ordinances that exceed the 2016 standards.
  • The Energy Commission approved a 1 percent interest loan that will save San Rafael $175,000 in annual energy costs. The $1.2 million loan to the city is for energy efficiency measures include retrofitting or replacing building and street lighting fixtures, and enhancing existing energy management control systems with new sensors and automated analysis. Funding for project came from the Energy Commission's Energy Conservation Assistance Act program.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding on renewable energy between the Energy Commission and the Mexican states of Jalisco and Aguascalientes is bearing fruit. Jalisco announced it was expanding its fleet of hybrid vehicles from 22 to 500 vehicles and replacing diesel buses with those that run on natural gas.


  • The Energy Commission participated in Clean Truck and Bus Day at the state capitol in Sacramento. The event, hosted by California State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) in partnership with CALSTART, showcased zero- and near zero-emissions medium- and heavy-duty vehicle technologies, including several projects supported by the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program.
  • The latest renewable energy tracking progress report shows an estimated 29 percent of the state's electric energy retail sales came from renewable energy. Reaching that milestone means California is on track to meeting the goal of getting 50 percent of its electric energy retail sales from renewables by 2030.


  • The Energy Commission awarded $5 million to the Fall River Resource Conservation District to develop and operate a biomass facility in the Burney-Hat Creek area in Shasta County. The research project will help address the unprecedented tree die-off across the state and turn dead trees to energy. The project, one of the state's first commercial community-scale biomass gasification plants, will use forest waste from local high fire hazard zones.
  • The Energy Commission approved 20 research grants to help clean-energy entrepreneurs further develop their early-stage innovations. Grants were awarded through the Energy Commission's California Sustainable Energy Entrepreneur Development (CalSEED) initiative, which helps innovators move their projects from the idea stage to the marketplace. Each grant is for $150,000. The awardees were: Arctica Solar, Correlate Inc., Cuberg, Inc., EnerDapt, Inc., Glint Photonics, Inc., Halo Industries, Inc., Intertie Incorporated, Lucent Optics, Inc., Mark Miles Consulting Inc., Maxout Renewables, Nativus, Opus 12, PARC, PowerFlex Systems, LLC, Sanliang Zhang, Sepion Technologies, South 8 Technologies, Sunswarm Community Solar, and the Sustainable Economies Law Center.
  • California's growing hydrogen refueling network has added four new stations since June. Stations opened in Fremont and San Ramon in the Bay Area and Lawndale and Torrance in Southern California. The state is working to get 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles, such as hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, on California roads by 2025. State initiatives to support adoption of these vehicles include the Energy Commission's investment in an initial network of 100 public hydrogen stations. So far, the Energy Commission has funded 60 hydrogen stations, with 31 now open.
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