* Green Communities

Governor Jerry Brown set a statewide goal of doubling the energy efficiency of existing buildings and procuring 50 percent of California’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030.  Local governments have been tasked with fulfilling the regulations set forth by Assembly Bill 32 (AB32) and Senate Bill 375 (SB375), but smaller, hard to reach cities and unincorporated areas don’t always have the resources they need.  Local governments, private industry and stewardship organizations, like Valley Vision, across the state are collaborating to achieve these goals, and that will require developing both action plans and future leaders equipped to address the complex and challenging issues caused by our changing climate.

What is the goal?

The goal is to help communities develop the talent and strategies needed to increase energy consumption from renewable sources, reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions, improve public health, create green jobs, and improve air quality. The Green Communities initiative is currently focused on San Joaquin Valley.

Why is this important?

This is important because achieving the state’s climate change goals has to be tackled from multiple angles. To meet state mandates for increasing electricity use from renewable sources and upgrading energy efficiency standards in existing structures, this initiative takes a grassroots approach. Its objective is to go directly to utility customers and educate them on energy efficient solutions that help reduce energy costs, improve sustainable practices, and build capacity within small Central Valley communities. A second aspect of the initiative is focused on building a talent pipeline of energy professionals and the future leaders needed to keep pace with the jobs that will be in demand.

This work is especially crucial for small cities that have limited resources to be able to convert the information contained in Green House Gas Emissions Inventories into action. Rural and hard to reach communities need awareness of and better access to sustainable energy saving technologies that lower their bills and improve quality of life. Training assistance, increased and coordinated stakeholder engagement, and stronger support from decision makers in small communities will help to fully implement Energy Action Plans. It's also really important that we build a talent pipeline in the growing energy sector. 

What is Valley Vision doing about it?

Valley Vision is playing an active role in helping local government and business sector groups in San Joaquin Valley achieve their energy and climate related goals by communicating important information about the energy programs, resources, incentives, and tools available. The effort also focuses on activating Greenhouse Gas Inventories and Climate Action Plans in selected communities. 

To accomplish this work, Valley Vision is collaborating with PG&E and Local Government Organizations to identify and eliminate barriers for small communities to implement GHG inventories. Findings will be used to streamline processes for conducting the inventories and plans, as well as implementation strategies to achieve results. 

Workforce development strategies in this field are increasing important. That’s why Valley Vision has partnered with PG&E to manage the Energy Careers Experience Program (ECEP), a cutting edge internship that places college students from Fresno to Stockton in regional PG&E offices and gives them real-work experience in the energy field. Through the innovative ECEP, college students are given unique access to professional experience and networking opportunities, which incentivizes next generation talent to stay, work, and innovate in the energy industry in the San Joaquin Valley.

What is our desired impact?

To provide smaller, rural and hard to reach communities and local governments across San Joaquin Valley with the information, resources and tools they need to achieve the state's climate change goals, and to prepare a talent pipeline of young professionals who can fulfill the employment needs within California's growing energy industry.

How does this effort affect triple-bottom-line objectives?

Economy: The Energy Careers Experience Program is building the next generation energy workforce by providing industry specific, paid internships that exposes college students opportunities in the energy industry.

Environment: The Green Communities Initiative provides local government organization with the information and tools they need to implement more effective and comprehensive Climate and Energy Action Plans.

Equity: Rural and hard to reach communities are given better access to climate action planning tools and financing they would otherwise not have had, as well as statewide home and business energy tune-up programs.

When?

Valley Vision assumed the Green Communities initiative in July 2015 and is slated to continue work through December 2018.

Pacific Gas & Electric (through Great Valley Center)

  • Ongoing placement of nine interns through Energy Careers and Experience Program
  • Ongoing outreach and coordination with local governments around energy reduction and climate action planning.
  • Publication of Impact of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories on Climate Action Planning in the San Joaquin Valley