Why Your Power May Go Out this Summer and How to Prepare

San José Clean Energy customers face three kinds of power outages: PG&E planned power shutoffs (or public safety power shutoffs (PSPS)); rolling outages; and shutoffs due to PG&E equipment failures.

PG&E planned power shutoffs are declared by PG&E to prevent their distribution and transmission line equipment from starting wildfires and are likely to occur when weather conditions are hot, dry, and windy.

The CPUC has identified the areas surrounding San José as elevated fire-threat, with some parts as extreme fire-threat. In October 2019, more than 20,000 San Jose residents were left without power due to PG&E’s planned power shutoffs, some for multiple days.

Rolling power outages are called by California’s state run, non-profit grid operator (CAISO) when the state’s power demand is within 3 percent of available supply. In August 2020, California experienced rolling power outages during a record-breaking heat wave. Rolling outages on subsequent days and over Labor Day weekend were prevented by Californians who lowered their usage from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

San José was not impacted by rolling outages on August 14 and 15, 2020, but more than 86,500 customers experienced outages due to PG&E equipment failures when their substations and distribution equipment were taxed by the high heat.

How to Prepare for PG&E Planned Power Shutoffs

All residents should sign up to receive power shutoff notifications from PG&E and make sure your contact information is up-to-date, especially if you or someone you care for relies on electricity for medical needs. Non-account holders can also sign up to receive alerts.

To prepare your household for multi-day power outages, create an emergency plan, practice it, and assemble an emergency supply kit.

Visit our PG&E Power Shutoffs page for additional guidance and information.

Battery storage

Backup battery storage provides a line of defense against planned and unplanned power shutoffs and can power vital equipment for vulnerable customers. Currently, lithium-ion batteries are the primary clean energy storage solution to power homes during power shutoffs on the market. When paired with rooftop solar, excess solar energy produced by solar panels can be stored for later use in batteries for backup of critical loads in homes.

You can find out more about other lower cost backup power options on our page.

The Silicon Valley Independent Living Center (SVILC) is a local disability justice organization. During PG&E power shutoffs, SVILC supports customers who rely on power to operate life-sustaining medical devices in the following ways:

    • Disaster kits and training
    • Portable battery rental program
    • Emergency resources
    • Help with Medical Baseline enrollment, a program for qualifying residents to receive lower energy rates

COVID Customer Protections Extended Through September 30

The past year has been difficult, and while our economy is reopening, we know many are still struggling to keep up with utility bills. We want to continue to support you through this process and provide resources to help you recover financially.

The California Public Utilities Commission recently voted to extend COVID-19 customer protections through September 30, 2021 (previously June 30, 2021). This means you are still protected from having your power turned off due to nonpayment. However, if you have an overdue balance on your electricity bill it is still important to develop a plan and take action as soon as possible to avoid disconnection once protections expire.

To help, SJCE has outlined a list of electricity bill assistance programs that you may be eligible for. Visit our discount programs page or call 833-432-2454 for more information, including eligibility requirements and how to apply. Customers can also sign up to receive texts from SJCE with tips on how to save money and program updates. Text SAVINGS to (833) 415-2329 to sign up today.

smart thermostat

Get a free smart thermostat from OhmConnect & help reduce need for blackouts

SJCE is proud to be a part of OhmConnect’s City Energy Challenge this summer. To help prevent blackouts, OhmConnect is partnering with California cities to give away up to 1 million smart thermostats. Installing 1 million smart thermostats can save 680 megawatts (MW) of energy — or nearly twice the shortfall that caused rolling blackouts in August 2020.

OhmConnect is a Bay Area-based demand response provider that pays California residential customers to decrease their electricity usage a few hours per week during “OhmHours.” It’s free to sign up and participate in their program, and the amount you make is based on the amount of energy you save. Compensation multiplies with each smart device you connect, including smart thermostats.

Through September 30, SJCE customers enrolling in OhmConnect’s program can choose to receive a free smart thermostat or two smartplugs plus $25 from OhmConnect. There is also the option to not receive any freebie and simply enroll in the program. Customers receiving devices must install and connect them to wi-fi within 30 days, and OhmConnect can provide installation support over the phone. During energy saving events, OhmConnect can automatically adjust customers’ thermostats or smart plugs to help them save energy. Customers are given 24 hours advance notice of an OhmHour and are able to opt out if they do not wish to participate. Otherwise, customers are encouraged to unplug or not use devices and appliances.

So how does it work? OhmConnect bundles its customers’ reduced demand and sells it into CAISO’s energy attributes markets. In addition to helping improve grid reliability, demand response programs help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity. Natural gas peaker plants have typically been utilized to help meet periods of peak demand; reducing load at this time through demand response reduces reliance on fossil fuels.

San José is one of many California cities participating in OhmConnect’s City Energy Challenge. The California city that connects the highest percentage of residents to OhmConnect’s platform by September 30 will win 10 $5,000 scholarships for its residents and the coveted title of “Energy Saving Superhero.”

For more information about OhmConnect, read FAQs.

Enroll in OhmConnect and claim your smart thermostat or plugs + cash

Home Electrification Information

Take Advantage of Existing Rebates to Electrify Your Home!

San José is committed to developing policies and programs that support building electrification both in existing and new construction. Switching to cleaner electric appliances to cook our food and heat our homes improves indoor and outdoor air quality. This makes our homes healthier, safer, and better for our residents. For heating and cooling, electric appliances that use heat pump technology are much more efficient than their conventional counterparts, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money on energy bills. Switching from a heat pump water heater, for example, you can reduce emissions between 50 and 70 percent per household annually.

Learn about how you can make your home more energy-efficient and resilient, reduce your energy bill while helping out the environment, and most importantly, improve your indoor air quality.

Electric Appliances

Heat Pump Water Heater:

Heat pump water heaters move heat rather than make heat. It’s like a reverse refrigerator. While a refrigerator pulls heat from inside a box and dumps it into the surrounding room, a heat pump water heater pulls heat from the surrounding air and transfers it at a higher temperature into the tank to heat your water.

Benefits:
  • Lower energy bills
  • Healthier and more comfortable living spaces
  • Smart Home
  • More energy efficient and climate smart
Induction cooktops:

Electric induction cooktops are a safer, more energy-efficient, and healthier option for everyday stovetop cooking. They are superior to conventional electric and natural gas cooktops. They heat twice as fast and have better temperature control. They can improve indoor air quality since they do not burn natural gas which releases indoor pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide.

Benefits: 
  • Faster and precise heating
  • Energy efficient
  • Cooler kitchen
  • Safer
  • Easy clean
  • Even cooking
Electric Dryers and Heat Pump Dryers:

Electric dryers work by electricity heating coils where the heat is transferred throughout the blower of the dryer. Electric heat pump dryers work as a closed loop system and detect moisture to dry. These dryers will stop once your clothes are done so your drying cycle runs more effectively.   

Example equipment and manufactures

Benefits:
  • Easy to Install
  • Energy Efficient
  • Gentle Clothes

The Switch Is On

The Switch Is On campaign is a regional effort to bring awareness and information about new electrification technology benefits. By introducing clean electric appliances into our lives, we can remove greenhouse gas emissions, make our homes warmer, healthier, and better for you, our city, and our planet.

Rebates

City of San José Rebates:

Limited rebates are available on a first-come, first serve basis. Please see “How to Receive A Rebate” and submit a fully completed rebate reservation application. For a list of completed project costs and remaining rebates available, please see the public reservation tracker.

  • Want to test the benefits of induction cooking? San José residents can check out a portable induction cooktop and cookware at no cost for up to two weeks by filling out an interest form.
  • Electrify San José: San José households can get up to $6,000 in rebates to upgrade from a natural gas water heater to an electric heat pump water heater. Limited rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis until December 31, 2020.
BayREN Rebates:
  • Save $1,000/unit – rebate on central heat pumps
  • Save $1,000/unit – rebate on mini-split heat pumps
  • Save $1,000/unit – rebate on heat pump water heater
  • Save $300/unit – rebate on heat pump dryer
  • Save $300/unit – rebate on induction range
PG&E Rebates: 
  • Save $300/unit- rebate on heat pump water heater

Health Impacts and Greenhouse Gas Savings

  • Indoor air quality is largely unregulated and is often more polluted than outdoor air.
  • Gas stoves can be a large source of toxic air pollutants.
  • There are well documented risk to respiratory health from gas stove pollution
  • Children are particularly at risk of respiratory health from gas stove pollution
  • Lower-income households may be at higher risk of gas stove pollution exposure.

Selecting A Contractor:

We recommend residents follow these best practices when selecting any contractor, including contractors provided on the list below.

On May 24, 2019, the City of San José issued a Request for Information (RFI) to generate a list of heat pump water heater installers to help residents identify local contractors. Contractors were asked to submit:

  • A signed “Participant Obligations and Requirements” agreement acknowledging that they will adhere to program rules
  • A valid and current California Contractors State License Board number
  • Proof of the minimum insurance requirements specified in the City’s RFI

Here’s a list of participating contractors who responded to the RFI. The City does not endorse or recommend any contractor. If you are a contractor and would like to be on this list, please email energy@sanjoseca.gov and provide the required documents as specified in the City’s RFI.

The Bay Area Regional Network (BayREN) provides regional-scale energy efficiency programs and services to reduce carbon emissions and promote healthy, energy-efficient buildings and homes. BayREN is implemented by local county governments and vets and approves contractors. Visit the BayREN website to find a participating heat pump water heater contractor in Santa Clara County. The City does not endorse or recommend any particular vendor.

The Switch Is On Contractor List 

Resources

What is an electric heat pump water heater and how does it work?

Heat pump water heaters are two to three times more efficient than gas water heaters. They use electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly.
To move the heat, heat pumps work like a refrigerator in reverse. While a refrigerator pulls heat from inside a box and dumps it into the surrounding room, a standalone air-source heat pump water heater pulls heat from the surrounding air and dumps it at a higher temperature into a tank to heat water.

Does a heat pump water heater work if the outside air is too cold?

Yes. While this is unlikely in San José’s climate, if it gets too cold, an electric heat pump water heater will switch to backup coils and run just like an electric resistance water heater.

What are the benefits of switching from a gas water heater to an electric heat pump water heater?

Lower Energy Bills – While an Energy Star®-certified heat pump water heater costs slightly more upfront, the energy cost savings will pay for its additional costs in about three years for a typical home.
Source: Energy Star

Healthier and More Comfortable Living Spaces – Burning natural gas creates emissions of unhealthy gases such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde. Eliminating these emissions in your water heater or stovetop will improve indoor air quality while cooling the surrounding areas.

SMART Home – Most heat pump water heaters can be connected to Wi-Fi and to your smartphone for setting schedules and important alerts like water leak detection.

More Energy-Efficient and Climate Smart – Heat pump water heaters can be two to three times more energy-efficient than conventional electric resistance and natural gas water heaters, reducing your greenhouse gas emissions.

What are the benefits of a heat pump when used with solar electricity?

During the day when the sun is shining, rooftop solar panels harvest solar energy and convert it to be used in your home as electricity. Because heat pump water heaters are powered by electricity, pairing the heat pump with rooftop solar could effectively reduce the cost to run it compared to running it without solar. For more information on how to get solar, visit our Solar Energy page.

Will I need a building permit to replace my gas water heater?

Yes, your installation contractor will need to pull a permit with the City’s Building Division. For more information, call or visit the Permit Center at San José City Hall.

What are other ways to move toward a Zero Net Carbon home?

Additional ways to move towards a Zero Net Carbon home include:

  • Choosing San José Clean Energy’s Total Green option to power your home with 100% renewable electricity
  • Electric washers/ dryers
  • Induction cooktops
  • Air-source heat pump heating and cooling systems
  • Electric vehicles
  • Rooftop solar

Recursos Para Ayudarlo A Ahorrar Dinero En Su Factura De Electricidad

Recursos para ayudarlo a ahorrar dinero en su factura de electricidad

A medida que más de nosotros estamos trabajando desde casa durante la emergencia COVID-19, estamos usando más electricidad. Hemos delineado recursos de ahorros para los residentes de San José para ayudar a proteger contra facturas más altas.

Encontrar el mejor plan de tarifas para su hogar

Un mayor uso de productos electrónicos y electrodomésticos puede causar un aumento en las facturas de electricidad. Puede ser valioso utilizar la herramienta de comparación de tarifas de PG&E para evaluar el plan de tarifas de electricidad más efectivo para su hogar.

El 94% de los clientes residenciales de SJCE están en planes de tarifas escalonadas (por ejemplo, E-1), donde el precio de la electricidad se basa en la cantidad que se usa. Si un cliente usa más de su asignación de electricidad durante el período de facturación, el uso adicional se cobra en múltiples niveles más caros.

El 6% restante de los residentes tienen planes de tiempo de uso (TOU), donde el precio de la electricidad se basa en cuándo se usa. Se proyecta que alrededor del 75% de los residentes de San José ahorrarán dinero en los planes TOU en comparación con los planes escalonados. Los planes de TOU alinean mejor los precios de los clientes con el costo de la adquisición de electricidad. Las horas “pico” más caras caen a partir de las 4 p.m. a las 9 p.m. cuando la demanda es alta y hay menos energía renovable disponible.

El quedarse en casa puede presentar una oportunidad para tener más control sobre su consumo de electricidad y su factura. Las tarifas de TOU pueden ser una buena opción para aquellos que puedan cambiar el uso de sus electrodomésticos antes de las 4 p.m. o después de las 9 p.m.

Las opciones de planes de tarifas de SJCE reflejan las de PG&E. Puede comparar su uso en diferentes planes y elegir un nuevo plan de tarifas en pge.com; PG&E nos comunicará lo que elija.

Programas de descuentos mensuales financiados por el estado

El Programa de California Alternate Rates for Energy Program (CARE) y el Programa de Family Electric Rate Assistance Program (FERA) son dos programas financiados por el Estado que ofrecen descuentos en las facturas de electricidad a hogares con ingresos calificados. Los clientes de SJCE son elegibles para estos programas de descuento y deben aplicar y volver a aplicar a través de PG&E, que administra CARE y FERA para el Condado de Santa Clara.

Los clientes de CARE reciben un descuento mensual del 30-35% en electricidad y 20% en gas. Para calificar, los clientes deben cumplir con las pautas de ingresos o estar inscritos en programas de asistencia pública. Los clientes deben renovar su elegibilidad cada dos años o cada cuatro años si el cliente tiene un ingreso fijo.

Los clientes de FERA reciben un descuento mensual de hasta el 18% solamente en electricidad. Este descuento es específicamente para hogares de tres o más personas que cumplen con las pautas de ingresos. Los clientes deben renovar su elegibilidad cada dos años.

Obtenga más información sobre estos descuentos y cómo solicitarlos en nuestra página web de Programas de Descuentos.

Asistencia federal otorgada solamente una vez

El Programa de Low-Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) es un programa financiado por el gobierno federal administrado por Sacred Heart Community Service en el Condado de Santa Clara. LIHEAP ofrece a los hogares con ingresos elegibles (inquilinos y propietarios) un crédito por única vez hacia su factura de electricidad, que oscila entre $ 173 y $ 289 por año calendario. Este es un programa que no es de emergencia, ya que el pago puede demorar entre 6 y 8 semanas.

Los clientes deben presentar su solicitud a través del Sacred Heart Community Service.

El monto de la asistencia de LIHEAP se calcula basado en tamaño del hogar, los ingresos del hogar y otros factores, incluyendo la disponibilidad de fondos y el costo de la energía dentro del condado donde reside el hogar. Se recomienda que apliquen las familias con personas mayores, discapacitadas o jóvenes en la vivienda.

Recursos adicionales

Obtenga más información sobre los programas gratuitos de eficiencia energética visitando la página web de Energy Savings de San José Clean Energy. Esta información también está disponible en español y vietnamita. Tenga en cuenta que algunos de estos servicios, como las auditorías domiciliarias y otras actividades que requieren visitas domiciliarias, se pueden suspender temporalmente debido a la orden de emergencia COVID-19 y la orden de quedarse en casa.

 

Hay ciertos pasos que podemos tomar para ahorrar energía y reducir las facturas a medida que ahora estamos pasando más tiempo en casa, como:

• Usar iluminación natural abriendo las cortinas para reducir la necesidad de prender lámparas y luces.

• Enchufar sus productos eléctricos a una regleta inteligente para que los dispositivos no utilizados no consuman electricidad.

• Usar capas o cobijas para reducir la necesidad de usar un sistema de calefacción en días y noches más frías.

• En días más cálidos, abrir ventanas y “pre-enfriar” nuestras casas durante las noches y mañanas para aliviar la necesidad de usar aire acondicionado.

• Secar la ropa con aire y lavar solo cargas llenas de platos y ropa para no tener que prender los electrodomésticos tan seguido.

Para obtener más recursos y contenido relacionados con la energía, siga a @SJCleanEnergy en TwitterFacebook e Instagram.

Take Advantage Of Special Discounts On Electric Vehicles This Spring

Update: Due to the County’s Shelter at Home Order through May 3, 2020, the discounts offered through our partner dealerships have been temporarily suspended. We anticipate that the discounts will be made available and extended once sales operations at the five participating dealerships have resumed.

This spring going electric is about to get easier! The City of San José has partnered with Capitol Chevy, Capitol Hyundai, Capitol Kia, Premier Nissan of Stevens Creek, and Stevens Creek Kia to offer extra discounts up to $3,200 on seven electric vehicle models from April 1 through June 30, 2020:

  • Chevy Bolt
  • Hyundai Ionic
  • Hyundai Kona
  • Kia Niro All Electric
  • Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid
  • Nissan Leaf Plus
  • Nissan Leaf 40-kWh

Customers can stack these dealership discounts on top of local, state, and federal rebates for up to $13,500 in savings!

Electricity costs less than $2 for the equivalent gallon of gasoline, and maintenance over the lifetime of an EV is 40-70% lower than a conventional vehicle, resulting in even more savings. Plus, you’ll be reducing carbon emissions and air pollution by driving on clean, renewable energy from San José Clean Energy.

Low-income residents may qualify for additional incentives. Clean Cars for All offers up to $9,500 towards the purchase or lease of an EV or plug-in hybrid or $7,500 for public transportation (Clipper card) if you trade in a car from 2004 or older. Additionally, the Clean Vehicle Assistance Program offers a $5,000 rebate. Learn more.

Learn more about each model, discounts, incentives, and FAQs. These extra limited-time discounts are offered exclusively by the auto dealerships listed above, with no funding provided by the City of San José.

Visit our EV webpage to discover the benefits of EVs; local, state, and federal rebates & incentives; special electricity rates; a shop & compare tool; and more information on EV charging.

Following PG&E Power Shutoffs, Could Microgrids Provide Stability?

PG&E’s unprecedented power shutoff on October 9 affecting nearly 740,000 customer accounts – approximately 2.25 million people – sent Northern California into chaos.

Without electricity, operations in the city slowed: schools were forced to close, families lost perishable food, and businesses lost tens of thousands of dollars in revenue and inventory. Public safety issues arose as traffic signals and streetlights went out and residents lost the ability to power medical devices, home alarm systems, and air conditioning. In San José, 20,000 customer accounts went dark for about 20 hours.

This follows PG&E power shutoffs in 2017 and 2018, including in Calistoga. Calistoga’s experience led them to begin building a microgrid to establish energy independence—an option communities in Northern California may consider as the threat of power outages increases.

Unintended Public Safety Consequences

In an effort to mitigate the risk of their transmission and distribution lines sparking wildfires, as they did in last November’s Camp Fire, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has granted PG&E the authority to shut off its power lines in fire-risk areas—leaving the rural and urban communities who depend on those lines without power for up to a week.

Previously, PG&E could shut off only distribution lines, which transport lower voltage power over shorter distances directly to customers. This year, following the Camp Fire, PG&E was granted the ability to shut off transmission lines, which transport power over long distances, increasing the area at-risk of a blackout. Although the importance of preventing wildfires is undeniable, the wide-ranging public safety impacts a PG&E power shutoff can bring are troubling, to say the least.

For example, officials worry that impact of a power outage could spread far beyond the targeted community. “Turning off power to one specific area puts the rest of the grid under more stress. So we worry about a cascading effect, where a PG&E PSPS in one city causes unintended power outages across the Bay Area,” Lori Mitchell, director of San José Clean Energy says. “That could have life-threatening consequences.” Additionally, the transmission lines that cities rely on travel through fire-risk areas. So even if a city is not threatened by a fire, its transmission line could still be turned off due to fire-risk, resulting in a blackout.

While PG&E is incentivized to proactively shut off the power to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires, cities and counties must bear the burden and allocate their resources to deal with impacts to affected residents and businesses. An initial estimate of costs to the City of San Jose for responding to impacts from PG&E’s October 9-10 power shutoff was over half a million dollars for labor costs alone.

Losses borne by residents and businesses could be immense. “If Silicon Valley lost power for two or four or seven days, the consequences could be felt around the globe,” adds Zach Struyk, deputy director of San José Clean Energy. “We need to start to make plans to build more resiliency.”

What Are Microgrids?

As the name suggests, microgrids are scaled-down versions of the typical electrical grid. Rather than transmitting power over long distances to thousands of homes and buildings, microgrids serve a smaller and more localized user base. They can be scaled to serve a university campus, a small community, or even an entire city.

Most of the time, they remain connected to the larger grid and function as a standard piece of grid infrastructure. However, in the event that the grid loses power, microgrids can disconnect and operate independently—this is known as “islanding.” Because of this flexibility, buildings connected to microgrids can keep their lights on even if the main grid lacks power. With added local generation and storage, a microgrid can extend the amount of time that an islanded area has reliable power. For hospitals and emergency shelters, the extended time can save lives; for businesses and households, they mitigate the effects of a blackout. As transmission-level PG&E PSPS events pose a threat to most of Northern California, microgrids are an important resiliency tool to consider.

Case Study: RCEA x Airport

Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA), a community choice energy provider (known as a CCA) serving Humboldt County, recently began working on a microgrid in partnership with the county airport. “Since roads into Humboldt County are frequently closed by fires and slides, energy security at the regional airport is crucial,” the lead contractor of the project explains on their website. “In the event of a grid outage, the airport microgrid will allow flight service and rescue operations to continue without interruption.”

Much like RCEA’s current partnership with PG&E – where RCEA procures energy that is delivered to customers through PG&E lines – RCEA will own the electricity generation, while PG&E will build and maintain the microgrid’s distribution lines. Electricity generation will occur on two large photovoltaic arrays located on the airport’s land: one array will generate electricity for the airport, and the other will provide Humboldt County with renewable energy. Because the arrays are connected to a battery system, solar energy can be stored and distributed at all hours. Additionally, excess energy will be sold to California’s wholesale power market — resulting in revenue for RCEA.

The microgrid, financed by a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission and $6 million from RCEA, will be the first of its kind owned by a CCA. This makes it an important test case in determining the feasibility and replicability of a microgrid—and one that SJCE will be following closely. Full operation of the system is scheduled for December 2020.

Going Forward

Despite their promise, microgrids remain relatively niche, and policies that will heavily influence their future are still being deliberated. SB 1339, which became California law in 2018, created standards around microgrid tariffs and rates. California Senate Bill 774, which is currently being discussed in the state legislature, would require Investor Owned Utilities, like PG&E, to collaborate with “local governments and other interested territories” to identify areas where microgrids may be needed. While both these bills illustrate a growing conversation around microgrids, they are only a start. The direction of future policies could impact everything from ease-of-adoption and financing to who chooses to build them.

In August, San José Clean Energy briefed the City Council on energy resilience, including considerations for microgrids. Staff demonstrated the possibility of microgrids to increase resilience, as well as the need to further analyze the challenges that implementing a microgrid would present.

As climate change poses new risks to our existing power infrastructure, microgrids will continue to be an important point of discussion in the energy sector. SJCE will continue to monitor microgrids and other emerging technologies to identify opportunities that advance our commitment to providing sustainable, affordable and reliable electricity to all of our customers.

Due to the possibility of PG&E PSPS events, all San José residents and businesses should prepare for a multi-day power outage. Learn how you can prepare.

Photo credit: San José Police Department

Ebay & Hewlett Packard Enterprise Choose TotalGreen

This month eBay and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), two large technology companies headquartered in San José, upgraded their San José Clean Energy (SJCE) electricity service to TotalGreen to power their facilities with 100% renewable energy from solar and wind.

“We’re thrilled to see such demand for renewable energy from our large corporate customers,” said Lori Mitchell, Community Energy Department Director. “This demand is helping drive our investment in new renewable resources. Our local communities benefit when local government and the private sector work together to fight climate change.”

To date, over 1,000 customers have chosen TotalGreen, helping drive our investment in new renewable resources. We plans to invest in approximately 350 megawatts of new solar, wind, and battery storage by the end of 2019.

Both eBay and HPE have corporate sustainability goals to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The SJCE partnership is part of eBay’s broader push to lower its carbon footprint by achieving 100% renewable energy by 2025 for its data centers and offices worldwide. eBay currently is participating in local, utility-driven green power programs around the globe. Most recently, eBay announced a partnership with Rocky Mountain Power in Utah to ensure the facilities there are supported by 100% renewable energy. Other eBay offices — including Dreilinden, Germany; Dublin, Ireland; and Portland, Oregon — all are powered by 100% renewable energy through local utility programs.

In 2018, HPE reduced their operational emissions by 37%, compared to 2016 levels, and increased their ambition with a new goal of a 55% reduction by 2025. The upgrade to TotalGreen will promote future emission reductions for HPE and help the city meet the emission reduction targets in its ambitious climate action plan, Climate Smart San José.

To upgrade to TotalGreen, visit our TotalGreen webpage or call (833) 432-2454.

State Awards $33m For Public Electrical Vehicle Charging In Santa Clara And San Mateo Counties

On August 13, the California Energy Commission (CEC) announced that San José Clean Energy (SJCE) will be one of five energy agency partners for a new electric vehicle (EV) charging station initiative.

The CEC will provide $21 million in incentives to Santa Clara County and $12 million to San Mateo County. This funding will be allocated to San José Clean Energy, Silicon Valley Clean Energy, City of Palo Alto Utilities, and Silicon Valley Power in Santa Clara County, and Peninsula Clean Energy in San Mateo County. Pending approval from their governing bodies, millions more in matching funding could be contributed to this effort, totaling up to $60 million.

This announcement comes as part of the CEC’s California Energy Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP), which aims to install 250,000 EV chargers by 2025. Since transportation is the leading source of emissions in Silicon Valley, encouraging electric vehicles can go a long way in supporting the State’s climate goals.

Because of these funds, residents can look forward to increased availability of EV charging.

Kevin Meehan, programs lead for SJCE, hopes that the news will encourage more San José residents to transition to electric vehicles. “We know charging access is a barrier preventing greater EV adoption. For someone thinking about whether to purchase or lease an EV, this should make them confident that charging will be available for them in San José, and throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.”

CALeVIP funds the installation of fast charging stations (which can charge a battery to 80% in 30 minutes) and Level 2 stations (which provides enough charging for day-to-day driving) at public, workplace and multi-family housing locations. This combination of options ensures that EV charging will be widely accessible and can meet a range of customer needs.

The project will launch in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties in spring 2020, and funds will be available for two to four years.

Read SJCE’s joint press release with the other CEC CALeVIP partners.

SJCE Signs First Long-term Power Purchase Agreement With EDPRenewables

Exciting news! SJCE just signed a 20-year agreement for solar energy and battery storage from a new solar park!

This is our first long-term power purchase agreement, and when construction finishes in 2022, San Jose residents will receive renewable energy from Sonrisa Solar Park in Fresno County. With battery storage, solar energy can be generated during the day and distributed during the evening peak hours, improving grid reliability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Here’s how the news will impact our customers:

  • Long-term agreements offer power at a lower price than short-term ones, so SJCE operational costs will decrease. Also, renewable energy prices have fallen drastically over the last years, to the point that the average total cost to build and operate renewables is often lower than fossil fuels.
  • Since we’re a government agency, we are not-for-profit and have no shareholders. That means the savings from this contract will be passed directly to our customers— you! — in the form of lower rates and more community programs to fight climate change and promote equity.
  • We know our customers want more renewable energy. Going forward, SJCE expects to sign more contracts like this to meet customer demand. In fact, by 2021 SJCE will offer 100% carbon-free energy as our base option. Until then, consider upgrading to TotalGreen for around $5 more a month to power your home or business with 100% renewable energy. For the price of a cup of coffee, you could take a huge step towards reducing your carbon footprint.

For more information, read our joint-press release with EDP Renewables.