California on Track for Major Energy Savings

Solar project at Fort Hunter Liggett in California. Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Flickr Creative Commons

The California Energy Commission (CEC) unanimously adopted energy-saving targets as mandated by the Clean Energy & Pollution Reduction Act (Senate Bill 350). The CEC report concludes that meeting the energy-savings target is well within the state’s grasp. Current and planned initiatives—such as advancing building energy codes and equipment efficiency standards as well as voluntary energy efficiency programs—are projected to fall just 4% short of the estimated target.

This is part of the state’s efforts to meet its target of doubling statewide energy efficiency savings by 2030. The National Resources Defense Council writes that Energy efficiency is critical to accomplishing the state’s clean energy vision as it cuts energy waste, saves customers money, and reduces the cost of renewable energy targets by lowering the overall need for electricity.

Much of the untapped energy efficiency potential to meet the targets can be achieved by improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings, as well as appliances and other devices used in those buildings, as laid out in the Energy Commission’s Existing Building Energy Efficiency Action Plan.

On Track

The California Public Utilities Commission recently announced that the state’s major utilities are on track to meet or exceed the its target of 33% renewable energy by 2020 and investor-owned utilities project they will actually get to 50% by then.

The state’s gains in renewable energy capacity come at a time when major manufacturers in the United States have ambitious goals around inexpensive renewable energy, but struggle to access the clean energy they need. In September, David Gardiner and Associates found that of the 160 largest global manufacturing companies with a national footprint, 25% had established renewable energy targets. More than a dozen are aiming for 100% renewable energy.

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