Thursday May 01 2008
Rocklin moves closer toward energy efficiency
By: Michael Althouse
No cost for recommendations, analysis
The Rocklin City Council recently asked for an energy audit from the Motherlode Energy Watch to help identify places where the city can be more energy efficient. The Motherlode Energy Watch is a partnership between Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), The California Energy Commission and the cities and counties of the Motherlode region, including the foothills communities. It provides for inspection, consultation and incentives for municipalities that wish to become more energy efficient. According to Rocklin City Manager Carlos Urrutia, the audit is free of charge and could help the city identify where it can save money by being more energy conscious. “They will come in and estimate the cost of upgrade and give us a payback analysis,” Urrutia said. The payback analysis is an estimate of how long it would take to pay for the upgrades with the energy savings they created. “We would choose the projects that we feel would help us the most,” he said. Jim Doolittle, spokesman for the Motherlode Energy Watch, said that Rocklin “did a comprehensive analysis before they sent it over.” Doolittle said the program runs from 2006 to 2008. “It empowers communities to become more energy efficient,” he said. The program is open to all municipalities, special districts and school districts, Doolittle said. Additionally, there are programs available to small businesses and multi-residential buildings. In addition to energy audits, the program also provides incentives in the form of grants and “financing channels,” Doolittle said. “And we actually bring training right into the community,” he said. The Motherlode Energy Watch started as the El Dorado County Energy Partnership in 2004 as a partnership between PG&E, El Dorado County and the city of Placerville. Under that program, the city of Placerville was able to obtain funding to upgrade the lighting in the city’s parking garage. According to Placerville City Manager/Attorney John Driscoll, the city was able to save about $14,000 annually in reduced electricity consumption. “The lights paid for themselves in one year,” Driscoll said. In 2006, PG&E decided to substantially expand the program to include the entire area from Sierra County to Calaveras County, renaming it the Motherlode Energy Watch.