Thank you Judge Watson and Kelly Neel.
Apr 5, 2013
John Chiv/For the Times-Standard
Redwood Coast Energy Authority's Energy Watch Program is going to be featured at the Statewide Energy Efficiency Best Practices Forum in Sacramento on June 20 as an example of how to successfully work with small businesses and rural communities. These communities are generally considered “hard to serve markets” and typically are underserved by standard energy efficiency programs, according to Matthew Marshall, executive director of the RCEA. The Redwood Coast Energy Authority was also recently awarded a $1.75 million grant from the California Energy Commission for a community-scale renewable energy demonstration project.
The Energy Watch Program, which operates in a multi-year state funding cycles, supported energy upgrade projects during the 2010-12 funding cycle and the program generated about $1 million a year in energy cost savings to local businesses, homes and governments.
To be eligible, you have to be an organization doing business in Humboldt County, including charitable and public entities and participants must be a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power and/or natural gas customer.
”The purpose of the Redwood Coast Energy Authority is to develop and implement sustainable energy initiatives that reduce energy demand, increase energy efficiency, and advance the use of clean, efficient and renewable resources available in the region,” said Marshall.
Formed in 2003, the Energy Authority is a local government joint powers
Advertisementagency of Humboldt County, the cities of Eureka, Arcata, Fortuna, Rio Dell, Ferndale, Blue Lake, and Trinidad, and the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District. The authority is governed by a board of directors comprised of appointed representatives from each of nine member-entities. “Typically the representative is an elected official from the members' own governing body,” said Marshall. “Many of our programs and projects are implemented in partnership with other entities such as PG&E, the Humboldt State University Schatz Energy Research Center, and other local government entities”.
The Energy Watch program, created in 2006 to help Humboldt County utility customers lower their energy bills and enjoy a cleaner environment, is a partnership of the Redwood Coast Energy Authority and PG&E. This program is funded by California utility customers and administered by PG&E under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.
The program provides education, technical assistance, incentives for energy upgrade projects, and direct installation services for businesses, non-profits, public entities, and residents. The program helps businesses reduce operating costs and improve their bottom line through energy efficiency projects and offers: free, start-to-finish technical assistance, contractor referrals, project management support, and rebates to help reduce the cost of installing efficient lighting, refrigeration improvements and other energy efficiency measures, according to Ben Winker, RCEA energy technician and marketing staffer.
Other results from the 2010-12 period include: over $1.2 million in incentives for energy upgrades; RCEA working with over 500 businesses to help them make energy upgrades, over 300 upgrade projects referred to local contractors and over 3,000 households were provided upgrades and in-home energy consultations, according to Marshall.
”Going forward, in the 2013-14 cycle which will start in late spring, the program will offer an additional $920,000 in available incentives, and will be expanding to offer more comprehensive services for both businesses and households,” said Marshall.
For more information, visit www.redwoodenergy.org or call (707) 269-1700.
John Chiv is a freelance news and feature writer and local business consultant. John has a local blog,johnchiv.blogspot.com, and can be reached at 707-832-9990.