Proposition 39 Building Positive Momentum for the San Diego Region
Since the issuance of the California Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39) Guidelines by the California Energy Commission in December 2013, school districts across the state have been evaluating their energy use and applying for grant funding to carry out energy efficiency upgrades. Upon the recent completion of the second year of grant allocations, the San Diego region is among the top funded areas in California with 13% of the dollars approved for projects, and we stand well prepared to continue this trajectory and secure millions more in funding to benefit our schools, our environment, and our cleantech economy.
San Diego’s early momentum and strong performance statewide is the result of a concerted effort by Cleantech San Diego and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). In June 2013, the two organizations formed the San Diego K-12 Schools Sustainability Strategy Collaborative to expedite the process of applying for Proposition 39 funds and foster the sharing of energy efficiency and sustainability best practices among San Diego schools. The regional collaborative meets monthly and has established working groups to test new technologies and share results, a process that has proven valuable in helping San Diego schools secure Proposition 39 funds.
In June 2014, Escondido Union School District became the first of San Diego County’s school districts to have its $597,659 Energy Expenditure Plan approved by the California Energy Commission. Since then, 39 more San Diego school districts and charter schools have been approved for awards totaling $46.5 million. San Diego Unified School District was granted two awards totaling $7.9 million.
Based on the first two years of awards, Proposition 39-funded projects across the San Diego region will result in nearly 15 million kWh (kilowatt hours) in annual electricity savings and 4.6 MW (megawatts) in demand reduction. The energy savings are equivalent to taking nine million pounds of greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. The awards have also helped create full-time jobs. And this is only the beginning.
Proposition 39 will continue to allocate funds through fiscal year 2017-18. Over this five-year span, San Diego area schools will be eligible for approximately $120 million of the total statewide allocation.
Let’s give credit to San Diego schools for engaging in strategic efforts to help maximize the environmental, economic, and educational opportunities that will be provided by Proposition 39. The right planning and budgeting is now in place for exciting new energy projects to break ground in our schools, and for our region’s exceptional cleantech industry to get to work to meet the demand.