California Approves $2 Billion for Energy Efficiency
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved on September 22nd $2 billion in funding over the next three years for energy efficiency and conservation programs throughout the state. Referred to by the CPUC as "the most ambitious energy efficiency and conservation campaign in the history of the (U.S.) utility industry," the effort includes consumer rebates of up to $600 for appliances that carry the Energy Star label. It also provides $230 million per year for the state's Green Building Initiative, which aims to cut energy use in government buildings by 20 percent.
The campaign includes online energy audits for homes and voluntary energy audits for businesses, schools, hospitals, and other buildings, followed up with design assistance and equipment rebates for energy efficiency improvements. Efforts will focus on specific markets, such as agricultural and food processing businesses, and will also include continued and new partnerships with local governments and universities and schools. Most programs will be offered through the state's four large utilities.
According to the CPUC, the three-year campaign will cut energy costs for homes and businesses by more than $5 billion, eliminate the need to build three large power plants over the next three years, and reduce global warming pollution by an estimated 3.4 million tons of carbon dioxide by 2008, which is equivalent to taking about 650,000 cars off the road. See the CPUC press release.