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Water-Energy Toolkit for Sustainable Development

The California Sustainability Alliance has released a Water-Energy Toolkit for Sustainable Development, a practical guide to implementing water-energy conservation policies and projects for local government, developers, water agencies and supporting parties.

As water-energy stakeholders grapple with the complex issues of crafting policies and implementing projects, it is important for those involved to understand not only the inextricable relationship of our water and energy resources, but also the actions they may take to aid in their conservation. With such knowledge these key stakeholders can help mitigate future water problems by encouraging the design of sustainable projects and communities.

The Alliance’s Toolkit is designed to provide four important stakeholder groups (water agency staff, policy makers, developers and water-energy conservation advocates) with the basic knowledge and resources needed to enable consideration of water-energy savings solutions in the community development process.

Structured as an action-oriented and practical guidebook, the Toolkit offers simple steps, example roadmaps, and exemplary California case study examples of working projects to guide stakeholders through the key components of the water-energy sustainability decision-making process.

About The California Sustainability Alliance

The California Sustainability Alliance was designed to help meet the State of California’s aggressive energy, climate and resource and environmental goals by increasing and accelerating energy efficiency in combination with complementary green measures and strategies. Founded in 2006, The California Sustainability Alliance is a program managed by Navigant Consulting, administered by Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company), and funded by California utility customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

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Energy Aware Facility Siting and Permitting Guide

Energy Aware Guide

Publication Number: CEC-600-2010-007 (Consultant Report, published September, 2011)

The Energy Aware Facility Siting and Permitting Guide assists local governments with developing general plan energy and transmission elements and provides guidance on utility-scale electricity generation and transmission planning and permitting.

California has ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and renewable energy development targets that are spurring new energy infrastructure. The guide discusses the increasing role of local governments in energy planning and permitting; describes the energy regulations and policies (both federal and state) and planning processes that define future electricity generation and transmission needs; and identifies opportunities for local government involvement in electricity infrastructure planning and permitting. Examples of local government development of energy planning tools and involvement in generation and transmission planning and permitting are provided.

The Energy Aware Facility Siting and Permitting Guide also describes the environmental impacts associated with developing new energy generation facilities and transmission lines.

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California Solar Permitting Guidebook

Improving Permit Review and Approval for Small Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems

Published June 2012

Solar photovoltaic systems, which use solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity, have been installed in California for decades. The technology of solar PV systems and the methods to install and maintain these systems are well established. As a result, permitting for these small and simple solar PV projects should be as simple and standardized as possible.

Currently, local permitting agencies maintain differing permit processes for small solar PV installations. These differences have created a confusing patchwork of requirements, which has made installing solar PV more expensive and slowed the expansion of this technology in California.

The Governor's Office of Planning and Research has convened stakeholders from local government, the building industry, professional associations, solar companies, utility providers, and state regulatory agencies to tackle this problem. One result of this collective effort is this solar permitting guidebook, which provides local governments and solar contractors information and strategies to improve the permitting process.

These improvements to local permitting will enable more solar energy generation in California communities and expand the many benefits provided by this form of renewable energy.

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Energy Aware Planning Guide

Energy Aware Planning Guide

Publication Number: CEC-600-2009-013, published March 2011, 447 pages, 20.9 MB PDF

The Energy Aware Planning Guide, developed by the California Energy Commission in 1993 and updated in 2011, is a comprehensive resource for local governments seeking to reduce energy use, improve energy efficiency, and increase usage of renewable energy across all sectors.

Wiser use of energy resources can lead to cost savings for local governments, residents, and businesses; reinvestment in the local economy; improved quality of life and public health; increased compliance with state and federal goals; and a more secure future. Additionally, strategies to reduce energy consumption promote progress towards aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals laid out in Assembly Bill 32 (Núñez Chapter 488, Statutes of 2006), California's Global Warming Solutions Act.

The Energy Aware Planning Guide presents a menu of strategies and best management practices to help local governments improve energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption through transportation and land use and enhance renewable sources of energy. Strategies explored include: transportation and land use changes; optimizing water use; building improvements; and other strategies. Each strategy section contains general plan language ideas; implementation ideas; case studies; and resources.

The Energy Aware Planning Guide also contains supporting information and references to help local governments organize strategies into an Energy Action Plan and estimate the likely energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction impacts of their strategies.

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California Vulnerability and Adaptation Study

In 2012 the California Institute for Energy and Environment concluded two years of work involving over 120 researchers from seven UC campuses and other institutions.

Comprised of over 30 reports, this expansive study of California’s vulnerability to climate change addresses questions like: What do rising sea levels mean for coastal communities? With the vital Sierra snowpack shrinking, can California ensure ample water for homes and for its world-leading agriculture and wine industries? And, as temperatures climb, where is California most at risk for devastating wildfires or public-health threats to our most vulnerable citizens?

The results reported give planners, public-health officials, land-use managers and others the research-backed basis they need to develop strategies to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Visit the study site at this link.

ARRA Final Energy Assurance Planning Bulletin

Welcome to the 12th and final issue of the quarterly Energy Assurance Planning Bulletin, a service of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.

The EAP Bulletin is issued to provide information on energy assurance planning resources, upcoming events, training opportunities and important grant deliverable dates. Past issues may be found at this link.

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Earthquake App Brings Red Cross Safety Information to Mobile Devices

WASHINGTON, Tuesday, September 25, 2012 – The American Red Cross today released its official Earthquake App, putting lifesaving information right in the hands of people who live in or who visit earthquake prone areas.

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Energy Assurance for Local Government Elected and Appointed Public Officials

Energy Assurance (EA) is gaining traction because of its far-reaching implications to local government in the arenas of economic vitality, health, safety, communications and continuity of government operations.

Energy Assurance involves ensuring that community assets such as fire stations, communication/IT facilities and maintenance fleets – and the essential services they provide – continue to operate during an energy disruption until normal energy services are restored.

Most, if not all, essential community services are highly dependent on energy supplies. To date, local governments have successfully prepared themselves for responding to emergencies, but have spent very little time preparing specifically for emergencies that impact the energy that flows into and through their communities.

Energy Assurance planning, preparation and investment is addressing this fact.

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2012 National Energy Assurance Conference

On June 28–29, 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE), in coordination with the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), held the 2012 National Energy Assurance Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

The event was the culmination of DOE’s ongoing American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) grant program for State and Local Energy Assurance Planning, which has helped State and local governments improve their institutional capabilities to prepare for and respond to energy emergencies.

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Energy and Water for Local Governments

Water and wastewater facilities are often the greatest consumers of electricity in a community, accounting for up to 40% of a municipality’s total energy bill.

As part of energy assurance planning, local governments should already be working with their electricity and natural gas service providers. Local governments may also be able to collaborate with these entities to understand their current and projected water needs, and work collectively to identify opportunities for water savings and alternative water sources.

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Western City Magazine on Energy Assurance Planning

From Western City magazine, July 2012:

California’s cities lead the nation in disaster preparedness. But what will your city do if a disaster knocks out electricity supplies or interrupts delivery of natural gas, gasoline or diesel fuel?

A new program, California Local Energy Assurance Planning (CaLEAP), offers local governments assistance and support in developing a plan to deal with interruptions to energy supplies.

Sponsored by the California Energy Commission, CaLEAP is designed to help ensure that a community’s key assets continue to function during emergencies or disasters that impact energy. This protects public safety and health and helps to minimize economic losses.

Read more at this link.

Energy Efficiency and Energy Assurance Planning for Local Governments

Energy assurance (EA) plans are designed to help local governments plan and respond to energy disruptions and emergencies quickly and effectively.

As part of the local government energy assurance planning (LEAP) process, local governments identify vulnerabilities that may cause or contribute to energy disruptions; develop plans to protect critical facilities and key services from such events and to restore services quickly following a disruption.

Increasing the energy efficiency of these facilities and services lowers the demand on backup systems and thereby mitigates or lessens the effects of an energy disruption or emergency. When critical facilities and key services use less energy, backup fuel supplies can last longer, thereby enabling these facilities and services to operate longer until traditional energy supplies – such as transportation fuel, electricity, or natural gas – can be fully restored.

This document examines how energy efficiency can enhance the EA of a community, including its residential and commercial buildings and transportation infrastructure. Reducing a community’s dependence on grid-supplied electricity and other traditional energy sources through energy efficiency measures and fuel switching can make the community less vulnerable to energy disruptions.

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Working with the Media During an Energy Emergency

Local governments play an important communications role during any emergency, and energy emergencies are no exception.

When energy delivery or availability is compromised, it is essential that the public be informed of the details and impact of the disruption.

Fostering a relationship with the media before, during, and after an energy emergency will help ensure that local governments can provide timely and accurate information about the emergency.

This document provides strategies that local governments can use for communicating effectively with the media, and for cultivating relationships with both the media and the public during energy-related emergencies.

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Role of Amateur Radio in Local Government Energy Assurance

Amateur radio operators ("hams") comprise a resilient, reliable option for mitigating communication losses during emergencies, including energy emergencies, particularly when telephone networks are damaged or jammed with calls.

This PTI white paper introduces the Amateur Radio Service, its purpose, organization and regulation. It summarizes recent FCC policy on utilizing radio amateurs in disaster drills, and recommends that public agencies form relationships with local radio groups for volunteer communications support.

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Energy Assurance for Municipalities

New Hampshire Town and City, October 2010

Energy assurance - as opposed to energy emergency response - is increasingly recognized not only as an important component of the nation’s energy emergency planning, but also as a more comprehensive approach intended to:

  • Reduce the likelihood of energy emergencies;
  • Reduce the potential severity and duration of energy emergencies; and
  • Increase the reliability of access to the energy that underlies every aspect of our lives and economy.
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American City and County on Energy Assurance Planning

These excellent articles on Energy Assurance planning appear on the American City & County website:

Energy Assurance Plans Help Keep the Lights On
In an emergency, will your government have the power it needs to provide the services you and your constituents count on?

Having Enough Energy to Continue
The definition of sustainability has grown to include the ability of cities and counties to sustain their operations following significant power failures. However, most emergency response plans do not include actions that specifically address energy disruptions.

Energy Assurance Planning Tips and Resources
These tips and resources from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Public Technology Institute can help communities be more prepared for power outages.

The Importance of Energy Assurance Planning

This video provides various perspectives from federal, state and local officials on energy emergency planning, preparedness and response. It also examines the interdependencies of the nation’s critical energy infrastructures.

The video was produced by the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and Public Technology Institute (PTI) during the Southeast Regional Energy Assurance Exercise held in Raleigh, North Carolina in March 2011.

It was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.

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Energy Assurance Planning Informational Workshops

In December 2011, the CaLEAP (California Local Government Energy Assurance Planning) team conducted six workshops around the state to introduce local governments to this program, sponsored by the California Energy Commission (CEC).

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LEAP Energy Assurance

You’re invited to visit It was created to initially support the 43 cities selected by the U.S Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) to participate in the Local Government Energy Assurance Planning (LEAP) program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). is also designed to support all local governments, large, medium and small, across the nation that want to learn more about creating energy assurance plans for their communities. Once created, these plans will help ensure that local governments can provide life-saving services during an energy emergency.

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DOE Energy Assurance Daily

Energy Assurance Daily is a publication of the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

It is not published by the CaLEAP program or the California Energy Commission.

Published Monday through Friday to inform stakeholders of developments affecting energy systems, flows, and markets, Energy Assurance Daily provides highlights of energy issues rather than comprehensive coverage. Visit Energy Assurance Daily at this link.

California Energy Commission & U.S. Dept. of Energy

Sponsored by the California Energy Commission through the U.S. Department of Energy
Website by ICF International and Public Technology Institute