SAN DIEGO–The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) launched a large-scale program Thursday to help local governments in the county cut energy use, lower their utility bills, and free up taxpayer dollars for important government services.
The Energy Roadmap Program will evaluate government operations and create customized “Energy Roadmaps” for each jurisdiction. The Roadmaps will detail what equipment and policy changes participants can make to achieve cost savings while at the same time reaching their sustainability goals and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Given the difficult budget situations that cities are facing, we are excited about working with SANDAG to help develop key savings opportunities for local governments, especially those that have not had the resources to dedicate to an energy-efficiency program,” said Eugene Mitchell, regional vice president of external affairs for SDG&E. “Sharing our expertise to help cities ‘go green’ and help save taxpayer dollars is a great combination.”
At no cost, the Energy Roadmap Program will provide energy management plans to jurisdictions that have not had the resources to develop them on their own.
“By combining the energy and transportation expertise of SDG&E and SANDAG, this program will help local governments use less electricity, natural gas, and transportation fuel – all while saving money,” SANDAG Chief Deputy Executive Director Renée Wasmund said.
In addition to identifying ways that local governments can reduce their energy use, the Energy Roadmap Program will detail opportunities to promote and support community-wide energy savings. Key focus areas of each Roadmap will include:
· Building assessments
· Clean transportation opportunities
· Training and education for staff
· Available partnerships, grants, and funding
· Emerging-technology demonstrations
· General plan and policy recommendations
· Public engagement and education
· Workforce education and training
The Energy Roadmap Program was designed and developed based on lessons learned from pilot projects conducted with the cities of Carlsbad, Poway, Solana Beach, and Imperial Beach as part of the SANDAG Sustainable Region Program. The pilot program was launched in 2005.
As a result of its participation in the pilot, Carlsbad has saved 109,500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy per year and cut energy costs by 5 percent. Also as a result of the pilot program, Solana Beach is using stimulus dollars to undertake a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning retrofit at its city hall. When completed, it is expected to save more than 46,500 kWh of energy and almost $7,000 in costs per year.
The 12 cities that did not participate in the pilot program or that don’t already have an energy-efficiency partnership with SDG&E will be given first priority to participate in the Energy Roadmap Program. They are: Coronado, Del Mar, El Cajon, Encinitas, Escondido, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, National City, Oceanside, San Marcos, Santee, and Vista.
The Energy Roadmap Program will run from July 2010 through December 2012. During that time, SANDAG also will make available to the pilot cities some program offerings that were not developed until after the pilot program was complete.