Written by The Business Journal Staff
As part of its Electric Program Investment Charge program, the California Energy Commission today awarded the Local Government Commission (LGC) and its project partners $1.5 million to create an integrated clean-energy market in the Fresno community.
The two-year project will result in greater electricity reliability and lower costs for ratepayers by identifying high-leverage energy efficiency, clean transportation and renewable-energy opportunities; matching projects with funding mechanisms; and tracking resource savings to spur further investment in clean-energy projects such as solar panels, water and energy-friendly landscaping, and electric-vehicle charging stations.
The project will focus on Downtown Fresno and the Blackstone Corridor and the neighborhoods adjacent to those districts — areas critical to the City’s goals to increase economic development, revitalize downtown, reinvest in older neighborhoods, and provide more housing options close to transit and other services.
“Becoming an Advanced Energy Community will not only improve our environment and lower the cost of living in Fresno, it will also lower the cost of doing business and help us attract future investment. Over the next two years, we will identify the key projects and funding needed to transform our downtown and the Blackstone Corridor into a living demonstration of a clean and efficient energy community,” said Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin.
The Local Government Commission (LGC) is a 35-year-old national nonprofit that is based in Sacramento and works to build livable communities and local leadership by connecting leaders via programs and network opportunities, advancing policies through participation at the local and state level and implementing solutions as a technical assistance provider and advisor to local jurisdictions.
As the project lead, the LGC will be organizing the overall project, shepherding development of the fiscal and business model and sharing outcomes with other cities and interested organizations.
To set Fresno on the path toward becoming an advanced energy community, the LGC and partners will catalog potential projects and supporting policies, identify funding resources that can be deployed, and develop a toolkit to track resource-savings such as energy, water and money.
All of these products will be bundled and delivered to the City of Fresno as a comprehensive design for a new “Fresno Energy Performance District.”
Project partners include the Local Government Commission, the City of Fresno, Tierra Resource Consultants LLC, CalSTART and Fresno Metro Ministry.
“Communities are diverse and the path to becoming an Advanced Energy Community is complex and not clearly defined,” said Kate Meis, executive director of the LGC. “There is currently no structured process to combine funding mechanisms for integrated clean-energy projects that achieve deeper cost savings, are at a scale attractive to private investors and optimize community benefits. Our goal is to develop a model in Fresno that can be adopted by cities across the state.”