July/August 2009

July/August 2009


Department of Energy Solar Adoption and Workforce Development Funding

A funding opportunity for up to $10.5 million is available to increase the ability of local governments to accelerate solar energy adoption and workforce development. Through this new funding opportunity, DOE will provide local governments across the US with information on increasing solar energy use through the Solar America Cities program. DOE will partner with outreach organizations to get tools into the hands of local government officials and stakeholders. Applications are due by October 15th. Find more information here .

Department of Labor Grant Competitions

State Energy Sector Partnership and Training Grants-Deadline October 20th. Under this grant , State Workforce Investment Boards are encouraged to engage in a strategic planning process that aligns the governor’s overall workforce vision, state energy policies, and local and regional training activities that lead to employment in the Energy Efficiency (EE) and Renewable Energy (RE) industry sectors.

Energy Training Partnership Grants-Deadline September 4th. Projects receiving this grant will provide training and placement services in the EE and RE industries for workers affected by policy, individuals in need of updated training, and unemployed workers.

Pathways Out of Poverty-Deadline September 29. Grant funds are available for projects that integrate training and supportive services into cohesive programs to prepare individuals seeking pathways out of poverty for careers in the EE and RE industries.

Local City News

The city of Concord joined ICLEI!

The City of Concord makes the 15th Contra Costa County city to join this organization. ICLEI offers new tools and resources regularly. REMINDER: The memberships of many of your cities will expire by the end of this year; keep your memberships current to utilize their tools, workshops, and information! Contact our CCC Representative to renew: Jonathan.Strunin@iclei.org, (510) 844-0699 X333

Richmond Recognized for its Success in Solar Energy

Environment California presented the City of Richmond with a “2009 Solar Champion” award for ranking among the top 15 cities in the state for installed solar capacity. According to Environment California, Richmond has over 144 solar roofs totaling 5,076 kilowatts of solar power capacity. See more here

Electric Car Plug-ins in CCC!

In June, the City of Walnut Creek became the first CC City to install electric car plug-in stations . The City of Pleasant Hill has also decided to make this progressive change as well.

Other City News

Unified Green Building Standards.

San Rafael is leading a movement to unify the green building standards for both new construction and remodeling throughout the county. By creating more uniform standards, builders will be able to follow the laws more easily. Another benefit of this movement is the creation of a stronger support system for GHG reductions throughout the county. See the full article .

SF Solar Program Marks Year of Success!

In the year since the solar energy incentive program GoSolarSF launched, SF has seen a 450 percent increase in applications for solar installations in the city over the previous year, from 200 to 850. Low income residents have been able to join the program through incentive programs while nonprofit and affordable housing organizations are going solar too! SF leads the state’s large cities for rooftop solar on a per-capita basis. The program started with the local Solar Energy Task Force and has become a huge success, one which will continue into the future. Full Article .

European Industry takes the lead in solar projects.

By 2050, industry leaders hope to have massive solar thermal plants sprawling across the Sahara and Middle East providing clean power to the surrounding nations as well as 15% of Europe’s electricity needs. The technology already exists; political disagreement continues to hold up the project. Investment in North Africa and the creation of clean energy provide thrilling benefits to all parties involved.


34 US Nobel Laureates urge inclusion of $150 billion in climate legislation

A group of 34 U.S. Nobel Laureates called on President Obama to urge Congress to include the president’s proposed $150 billion Clean Energy Technology Fund in the climate legislation it is considering. The climate bill approved by the House in June falls far short of this goal. Without further research and development funding, the group fears that the US will not reach its energy and climate goals for the future. See the full article .

Appliance Energy Efficiency Standards Estimated to be Equivalent to 63 Coal Plants

New targets for energy efficiency are being pushed for microwave ovens, light bulbs, dryers and other appliances. The predicted levels are estimated to save the US $123 billion of energy costs by the year 2030. This energy savings is estimated to be equivalent to the prevention of 63 coal plant’s worth of CO2 emissions.


Climate Alterations Predicted to Devastate CA Crop Development

According to a UC Davis study, climate alterations in CA could cause much of the state to be unsuitable for the growth of key fruit and nut crops during the next century. Since 1950, the cool weather necessary for crop development has declined as much as 30%. As the nation’s largest agricultural producer, adaptation measures will be required in CA.

Responsible Land Development Creating Changes: Moving Cooler.

This report, released in late July at a press conference in Washington, D.C., offers scientific facts and describes the significant, long-term impact that responsible land development can have in improving the environmental quality in an area. This report covers many topics of interest including transportation pricing and taxes, expanded highway capacity, vehicle use, speed, and much more. To order your hard copy of the report or purchase the E-book for viewing today, please visit this link .

A Child’s IQ Can Be Affected by Mother’s Exposure to Urban Air Pollutants

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are chemicals released into the air from the burning of coal, diesel, oil and gas, or other organic substances. A recent study funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the EPA and several private foundations discovered that high levels of PAHs negatively affected IQ scores of children which in turn affected standardized testing scores and other measures of academic success. View the full news release.


Stimulus Funds Help Auto Suppliers Diversify Into Renewable Energy in Michigan

The Michigan Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth is seeking proposals from small automotive suppliers looking to get into the renewable energy business, making $15 million in federal stimulus funds available to those with projects in mind. The state will make cash available for small suppliers to diversify their operations, those that can produce renewable energy systems or the components such as turbines, blades, or solar technology. The projects must be able to be implemented immediately and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Read the full article .

Wal-Mart to Require Suppliers to Report Environmental Impact, Greenhouse Emissions

Wal-Mart announced July 16 that it would require suppliers to answer questions about the environmental impact of their products, and that it intends to display environmental information on the products it sells. The labeling program will inform consumers about the environmental impact of the products which they are about to purchase. The program is thought to create a more transparent supply chain and provide consumers with the information they need to assess the sustainability of the products. The newest initiative is expected to affect more than 100,000 suppliers to Wal-Mart.

Upcoming Local Environmental Events: August/September 2009

Tour of Moraga Barn, Historical Green Renovation.

August 20th, Moraga. The Moraga Barn is the oldest building in Moraga and is now a state of the art green building. Hear the President of the construction company speak on the restoration and preservation project. Details found here .

Power IT Down Day.

August 27th. Join the 2nd annual power down day to save both money and energy! Switch off your personal computers and peripherals when leaving the office on the evening of August 27th. Citrix, Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Microsoft have all agreed to participate as well. Last year 2,800 government employees participated saving 37,000 kilowatt-hours in one night, let’s see if we can increase this year’s impact!

1st Annual San Ramon Eco-Festival.

August 29th-30th, San Ramon. Be immersed in environmentally focused entertainment, education, and eco-friendly inspiration. The City of San Ramon is excited to welcome this event to help local and bay area residents and business community experience the positive impact of a green lifestyle.

Energy in California Conference.

September 14th-15th, San Francisco. This 11th annual conference will bring together experts at the local, state and federal levels, as well as the private sector, to address the current state of energy markets, legislative and regulatory initiatives, the perspective and concerns of the financial community and developments under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Diablo East Bay’s Inaugural Gala

September 17th, Livermore. Join the newly formed East Bay Branch of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) in an evening of sustainability . Enjoy a presentation on the sustainable practices used by the Wente vineyards, live music, excellent food, and fun activies.

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Marketplace.

September 24th, San Jose. Hear panels on city TOD plans, attend workshops on design, financing, and TOD policies, and take a walking tour of downtown San Jose. Get more information here .

Sustainable Contra Costa County’s first Annual Sustainability Awards

September 30th, Walnut Creek. Sustainable Contra Costa Awards honors businesses, government programs, community groups, non-profits, and individuals who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to sustainable practices. The nominee’s actions should support the health and well being of Contra Costa County’s Society, Environment, and Economy. Nominate yourself or someone else today!

West Coast Green

October 1st-3rd, San Francisco. Experience a feast of innovations, ideas and opportunities designed to expand your business, widen your vision, and stimulate your thinking with the latest best practices and key players in building, business and design. The latest emerging products to reduce global warming will be included- solar, wind and waste reduction!


Education Toolkit

Educators for EPA and six other federal agencies developed the new Climate Change, Wildlife, and Wildlands toolkit for formal and informal educators to help the educator in each of us spread the word on what is at stake and what we can do about it. Visit their website to see the toolkit.