A tri-county collaboration got approval for its Energy Efficiency Business Plan on May 31 from the California Public Utilities Commission, allowing it to receive ratepayer funds directly to support workforce education, compliance and energy efficiency programs.
The Tri-County Regional Energy Network, or 3C-REN, business plan combines the efforts of Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. The plan submitted to the CPUC requested approval for around $52.7 million in funds for the years 2018-2025 and $1.6 million for programs in 2017.
The partnership would receive the ratepayer funds directly from the CPUC, rather than through investor-owned utilities, including Pacific Gas & Electric Co., Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas. The application was first submitted in January 2017.
3C-REN is one of only three approved regional energy networks within the state, the parties said in a news release June 19. Programming that would be funded through the business plan includes workforce education and training, codes and standards compliance and multi-family residential energy efficiency projects.
“Staff from all three counties have been working diligently over the last 18 months to develop the 3C-REN Business Plan and participate in the extremely intensive regulatory process required by the CPUC to get final approval,” said Das Williams, First District supervisor for Santa Barbara County. “Staff will now start working on developing implementation plans that outline the specifics of the energy efficiency programs we hope to launch in early 2019.”
In its decision, the CPUC directed 3C-REN to focus its efforts on hard-to-reach customers who historically have not had access or participation in energy efficiency efforts, the group said.
“The approval of Tri-County Regional Energy Network’s business plan will help us more effectively meet local energy efficiency needs and better serve the diverse needs within the tri-county region,” said Ventura County CEO Mike Powers.
Included in the programs are “significant enhancements” for local building industry professionals, said Rob Fitzroy, deputy director of the SLO County Planning and Building Department.
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