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Photo of Commissioner Weissenmiller Greetings from Robert Weisenmiller

Chair of the California Energy Commission

Efficient light bulbs, energy performance benchmarking, and outreach to disadvantaged communities highlight California's performance, but more work is needed.

As legislators return to the capitol and we begin a new year I am glad to provide another edition of the California Energy Commission's newsletter, The Spark.

Three new energy efficiency standards went into effect in 2018 that offer consumers the choice of better quality light bulbs. One of the standards is the Energy Independence and Security Act. It is a federal standard that California was permitted to adopt two years ahead of the nation, ensuring consumers here have the option to save energy and money now. Why wait?

In California there are more than 600 million sockets for general service and reflector light bulbs and about half of those are still using old incandescent light bulbs. Approximately 90 percent of electricity used by traditional light bulbs is wasted as heat instead of visible light. LED and compact fluorescent technology make the light bulb more efficient and longer lasting.

Progress is not limited to light bulbs. In the past year, we have pressed for the permanent closure of the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility within 10 years.

The Energy Commission established regulations for the building energy use benchmarking and public disclosure program under Assembly Bill 802. And the Commission began implementing 12 recommendations for State agencies to address the barriers faced by low-income customers in accessing energy efficiency, weatherization, and renewable energy resources. The recommendations also address contracting barriers faced by small businesses in disadvantaged communities.

Measuring more broadly, greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the electricity sector in California are down 24 percent from where they stood in 1990. That progress is worthy of recognition, but continuing the downward trajectory will take our best efforts.

The Global Carbon Project, composed of a group of climate researchers from around the world, reported that after three years of near-negligible change, global carbon dioxide emissions are expected to rise. Even if emissions remained flat, the hope of containing global temperatures to no more than 2 degrees centigrade seems overly optimistic without greater action.

California is doing its part and Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. is succeeding as he encourages others to join us.

The employees of the Energy Commission remain focused on moving forward and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. On behalf of all Californians, we are pursuing energy efficiency savings for homes and businesses, clean energy throughout the grid, realistic ways to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and assurance that energy is accessible to all, in every neighborhood, rich or poor.

So as we embrace 2018, let us be reminded that the challenges ahead loom large, but by working together we can accomplish great things.

Robert B. Weisenmiller,

Chair, California Energy Commission