Project: 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.

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. 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. Workforce development strategies in this field are also increasing important to build a future talent pipeline tht can fill the jobs needed in the growing energy sector.

How does this improve people’s lives?

Through the Green Communities initiative, focused on San Joaquin Valley, rural and hard to reach communities are given better access to climate action planning tools and financing they would otherwise not have, as well as statewide home and business energy tune-up programs. The Energy Careers Experience Program is also building the next generation energy workforce by providing industry specific, paid internships that exposes college students opportunities in the energy industry.

What is Valley Vision’s role?

Valley Vision is 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.

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.

When?

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

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