US city unveils plans for new efficiency funding scheme

The city of Bakersfield in the US state of California approved the introduction of a new scheme to provide funding for energy and water efficiency programmes.

The decision to introduce the new funding scheme falls under efforts by the city to expand existing and introduce new energy and water efficiency programmes with the aim to reduce consumer water and energy bills.

The new scheme will support the city’s existing efficiency funding platform HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programme.

In California, the HERO programme is being deployed to help utility firms including PG&E, Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas Company to ensure the reliability of their energy distribution systems and reduce carbon emissions through increased adoption of renewable energy resources.

Both the HERO programme and the new funding scheme are expected to help Bakersfield city to improve management of its water resources to meet growing demands for clean water as a result of from an increase in population.

Energy and water efficiency programmes deployment

Since the introduction of the PACE programme in Bakersfield in 2014, the city is reported to have witnessed a large increase in deployment of energy and water efficiency programmes.

The programme has provided $30 million in funding to help 1,463 homeowners to improve their water and energy usage.

Projects funded under the PACE programme in Bakersfield include 905 installations of solar systems, 1,809 energy efficiency installations and 67 water efficiency improvements.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, energy efficiency upgrades implemented in Bakersfield city under the PACE programme will result in utility bill savings of up to $73.3 million.

The programmes are expected to reduce energy consumption in the city by 232 million KW/h, greenhouse gas emissions by 63,000 tonnes and water usage by 51 million gallons over the lifetime of the installed efficiency products.

Energy efficiency benefits

In late December, Illinois-based utility ComEd announced that it has assisted its customers to save $2.1 billion in energy bills since the launch of its energy efficiency programme in 2008.

The utility said its energy efficiency project has helped consumers to reduce their energy usage by over 19.5 million megawatts – enough to power more than 2.1 million homes for a year.

ComEd customers can sign up for the utility’s Home Energy Assessment whereby the energy company provides personalised recommendations on how they can better manage their energy usage and costs.

The programme allows consumers to earn cash rebates for replacing their old appliances with new energy efficient appliances certified in line with ComEd’s energy efficiency standards. [US utility embarks on water efficiency project]

Since the introduction of the project, customers of ComEd have installed energy efficiency appliances including LED lighting systems, HVAC systems, smart thermostats and fridges.