State and Local Policy Database


State Scorecard Rank



43.5Scored out of 50Updated 10/2019
State Government
Score: 6 out of 6
State Government Summary List All

California offers several incentives for energy efficiency investments to schools, industry, residential consumers, and the public sector, as well as PACE financing. The state government leads by example by benchmarking energy usage in state buildings, requiring energy-efficient fleets and buildings, and encouraging the use of energy savings performance contracts. California is one of the few states to adopt a commercial building energy disclosure requirement, as well as a residential multifamily disclosure requirement. The state has several research and development institutions focused on energy efficiency investments.

Financial Incentives List All

Financial incentive information for California is provided by the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE Californiaand State Energy Office contacts. Information about additional incentives not present on DSIRE is listed here. In addition to the state-funded incentives on DSIRE and below, California has enabled Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing and has multiple active programs. For additional information on PACE, visit PACENation.

High Performance Incentive Grant: The High Performance Incentive (HPI) grant is a supplemental grant available to districts with projects that have increased costs associated with high performance attributes in school facilities.

The Governor's Strategic Growth Plan, approved by voters in Proposition 1D (AB 127, 2006), provided $100 million in incentive grants to promote the use of high performance attributes in new construction and modernization projects for K-12 schools. High performance attributes include using designs and materials that promote energy and water efficiency, maximize the use of natural lighting, improve indoor air quality, utilize recycled materials and materials that emit a minimal amount of toxic substances, and employ acoustics that are conducive to teaching and learning.

Energy Partnership Program: The Energy Partnership Program provides grants of up to $20,000 for technical assistance, such as energy audits, feasibility studies, performance specifications, and project design, for cities, counties, special districts, hospitals, public care facilities and colleges/universities.

Bright Schools Program: The Bright Schools Program provides grants of service valued up to $20,000 for technical assistance, such as energy audits, feasibility studies, performance specifications, and professional engineering support services, for LEAs eligible for Proposition 39 funding.

Statewide Energy Efficiency Program (SWEEP): Through this financing program, the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank) issues bonds to municipalities, universities, public schools, and hospitals for retrofits and clean energy projects. This program is administered by the California Lending for Energy Environmental Needs (CLEEN) Center.

California Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39): Provides funding to local educational agencies (LEAs) for planning and installing eligible energy measures, such as energy efficiency upgrades and clean energy generation. 

California Capital Access Program: California Pollution Control Financing Authority’s (CPCFA) CalCAP provides a loan loss reserve for small business lending. Eligible projects include energy-efficiency retrofits. The program provides an incentive to participating financial institutions to lend to businesses that would not otherwise qualify for a loan.   

Energy Conservation Assistance Act - Education Subaccount (ECAA-Ed): Provides 0% revolving loans to finance energy efficiency and renewable projects for local educational agencies (public school districts, charter schools, county offices of education, and special schools) and community college districts.

California Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing (CHEEF): Statewide energy efficiency financing platform to facilitate private capital lending for energy efficiency improvements within the single-family, affordable multifamily, small business, and other non-residential properties. The CHEEF or hub incents private capital providers to provide lower cost and broader access to financing by offering a credit enhancement and on-bill repayment infrastructure in coordination with California's 4 IOUs (under development). The Residential Energy Efficiency Loan assistance program was launched in July 2016, and the three remaining pilots (affordable multifamily, small business/commercial, OBR) will be developed in 2018.

Last Updated: June 2018

Carbon Pricing PoliciesList All

California’s AB 32, adopted in 2006, authorized the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to establish a cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions. The program covers entities responsible for emissions of at least 25,000 tonnes per year. Most allowances are auctioned; 15% of allowances are given freely to either utilities or the industrial sector. Those given to utilities must be consigned to the auction, with proceeds used to benefit ratepayers. The program was officially implemented in 2013, initially covering only the power sector. However, in 2017, the state extended the program to 2030 and added the transportation sector and use of natural gas outside the power sector. About 9% of collected funds were re-invested in energy efficiency in 2017, not including the substantial investments that also went toward low-carbon vehicles and public transportation in the transportation sector. The state met its 2020 emissions target in 2016.

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Building Energy Disclosure List All
  • Building type(s) affected: commercial, residential multifamily

Assembly Bill 1103 requires nonresidential building owners or operators to disclose the energy consumption data consistent with the ENERGY STAR rating system to buyers, lenders, and lessees. It went into effect on July 1, 2013, for buildings over 50,000 square feet; January 1, 2014, for buildings over 10,000 square feet; and July 1, 2014, for buildings equal to or greater than 5, 000 square feet. 

Assembly Bill 802 directed the California Energy Commission to create a statewide building energy use benchmarking and public disclosure program for commercial and multi-family residential buildings larger than 50,000 square feet. The Energy Commission’s regulations require building owners to report building characteristic information and energy use data to the Energy Commission by June 1 annually, beginning in 2018 for buildings with no residential utility accounts, and in 2019 for buildings with 17 or more residential utility accounts. Building owners will complete their reporting using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a free online tool provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The Energy Commission will publicly disclose some of the reported information beginning in 2019 for buildings with no residential utility accounts, and 2020 for buildings with residential utility accounts.

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Public Building Requirements List All

CA Executive Order B-18-12, signed in April of 2012, established targets for energy and water efficiency, as well as GHG emissions and rescinded a previous CA Executive Order S-20-04. Energy and water use reduction from baselines increased again in 2016. Energy savings targets included reductions in grid-based energy purchases by 20% by 2018 using 2003 as a baseline. State buildings have already reduced energy use by 24.88% through 2017 since 2003, exceeding the 2018 target a year in advance, and water energy savings has already doubled the 2020 target reduction. EO B-18-12 established targets for 50% of newly constructed state buildings and major renovations started after 2020 to be zero net energy, and 100% by 2025, as well as 50% of existing square footage shall include measures achieving zero net energy by 2025. However, in October 2017, a new policy went in to effect in the State Administrative Manual (SAM) section 1815.31, moving up the start date for 100% of new state buildings, major renovations, and build-to-suit leases beginning design after October 23, 2017, to be designed, constructed, and verified to be zero net energy (ZNE). This effectively moved up the start date for these ZNE new buildings by eight years. 50% of existing square footage shall include measures achieving zero net energy by 2025. 26 ZNE state buildings are verified already (~4.8 million square feet), 2 more are in their 12-month verification phase, and another 13 are in design or construction that will achieve ZNE (another 1.7 million square feet). A ZNE webpage includes policies, energy efficiency targets, tools (including a ZNE calculator), and resources to help state buildings achieve ZNE. The state facility website can now search individual facility data under each state department.

In 2016, the governor approved a definition for ZNE for existing and newly constructed state buildings, which closely aligns with the definition DOE published in 2015. In October 2017, state policy for meeting the Governor's Executive Order was published in California's State Administrative Manual (SAM), section 1815.31, outlining requirements, strategies, and resources to help state facilities achieve ZNE. It also established a new start date for state buildings beginning design after October 23, 2017, to be ZNE, including new buildings, major renovations, and build-to-suit leases. This can be viewed here. Additionally, energy efficiency targets were established for 50% of existing state buildings required to achieve ZNE by 2025 (see this document). These targets were established by 27 building types and occupancies prevalent in state use, and translated into 16 California climate zones. They reflect top quartile (25%) efficiency levels for each building/occupancy type, based on historical state building energy benchmarking. A ZNE calculator was developed to assist state agencies with calculating compliance and estimating renewable energy generation requirements.

New and existing buildings are required to incorporate building commissioning. Additionally, newly constructed buildings or major renovations smaller than 10,000 square feet must comply with the California Green Building Standards Tier I (15% more efficient than the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards), and larger than 10,000 square feet must comply with the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards plus earn the "Silver" level of LEED certification and incorporate on-site renewable energy if economically feasible. State agencies have installed over 43 MW of onsite renewable power generation at state facilities and more is planned or under construction. The University of California has installed an additional 36 MW of onsite renewable power and has more projects planned or under construction. Executive Branch facilities have many other installations underway and are well on track to reach 100MW goal by 2020. State facility energy, water, and GHG data are publicly displayed on website:     

The Green Building Action Plan for EO B-18-12 further requires existing State buildings over 50,000 square feet to complete LEED-EB certification by December 31, 2015, to the extent it’s cost effective. Already, 231 new, existing, and leased executive branch state buildings (over 22 million square feet) have achieved LEED certification. Additionally, the University of California has more than 250 LEED certifications for its buildings, covering over 25 million square feet. State facilities were ordered to reduce water use by 10% by 2015, and 20% by 2020, from a 2010 baseline. State agencies have already reduced water use by 7.6 billion gallons annually, or 40% since 2010. Both energy and water use for all state facilities are benchmarked annually into the Energy Star Portfolio Manager. State agency energy use, water use, and GHG emissions are posted on the Governor’s public Green Building Website, and beginning in 2016 included individual facility data that is updated weekly. The Department of General Services working with State agencies has developed policies and guidelines for the sustainable operations and practices of State buildings to achieve operating efficiency improvements and water and resource conservation.

These new polices continue to be developed, updated, and incorporated into the State Administrative Manual (SAM). State agencies were also ordered to plan for and expand their electric vehicle charging infrastructure at state facilities, and DGS developed a guidance document for state facilities for planning and installation of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE).

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Fleets List All

In Management Memo 08-04, issued March 14, 2008, the Department of General Services and the California Energy Commission (CEC) established a minimum average fuel economy standard for passenger vehicles and light duty trucks in the state fleet. The combined annual purchases by each state entity must meet a standard of 27.5 miles per gallon (MPG) for passenger vehicles and 22.2 MPG for light duty trucks.  In 2015, DGS worked with CEC to update the standards for the passenger vehicles from 27.5 MPG to 38 MPG, issued through Management Memo 15-03.

Executive Order B-2-11, issued January 28, 2011, requires an extensive analysis be conducted to eliminate all non-essential and cost-inefficient state fleet vehicles and equipment. The resulting right-sizing contributed to reduced petroleum use by the state fleet, particularly since the reduction was conducted to eliminate the most fuel inefficient vehicles.      

Executive Order B-16-12, issued March 23, 2012, requires California's state vehicle fleet to increase the number of its zero-emission vehicles through the normal course of fleet replacement so that at least 10 percent of light-duty fleet purchases are zero-emission by 2015 and at least 25 percent are zero-emission by 2020. Through this action, the state government’s fleet will be leading the way to the Executive Order’s goal of more than 1.5 million ZEVs in California by 2025, which will annually displace at least 1.5 billion gallons of petroleum fuels.

As required by the 2016 ZEV Action Plan, issued October 2016, California's state vehicle fleet is expanding upon Executive Order B-16-12’s zero-emission vehicle purchasing mandate and will ensure that through the normal course of fleet replacement at least 50 percent of light-duty fleet purchases are zero-emission by 2025. Management Memo 16-07 (December 2016) provides direction to state agencies for implementing the Governor’s 2016 ZEV Action Plan requirements. UC voluntarily adopted parallel targets for fleet replacement and commuter ZEVs in its Sustainable Practices Policy. CSU is in the process of adopting parallel targets for fleet vehicle purchases as part of the State University Administrative manual.

Recent policies enacted to improve the fuel efficiency of California’s state government fleet include:

  • Management Memo 16-07 (December 2016) – provides direction to state agencies for implementing the Governor's 2016 ZEV Action Plan.
  • Management Memo 15-03 (April 2015) – increases the minimum fuel economy standard for light-duty passenger vehicles to 38 miles per gallon (MPG) from 27.5 MPG.
  • Management Memo 13-04 (January 2013) – provides direction to state agencies for implementing Executive Order B-16-12 requirements
  • Management Memo 12-05 (May 2012) – reinforces the obligation for state departments to maximize their use of alternative fuels and reduces or displaces petroleum consumption for their fleets.
  • Management Memo 12-06 (May 2012) – requires state agencies to request reconditioned, used, or remanufactured automotive parts, and re-refined or synthetic motor oil and lubricants, whenever practical and cost-beneficial as state vehicles are repaired. The use of these products can help protect the environment and reduce petroleum consumption compared to the use of new materials.
  • Management Memo 12-03 (April 2012) – mandates solar reflective colors for most new vehicle purchases, which reduce air conditioning needs and related petroleum consumption
  • Management Memo 08-04 (March 2008) – established a minimum average fuel economy standard for most fleet vehicles. Efforts are currently underway to update the established minimum average fuel economy standard to reflect the market availability of more fuel efficient vehicles.                                                         

Assembly Bill 236 (2007) added California Public Resources Code §25722.8 (a), establishing the goal of reducing or displacing the state fleet’s petroleum use by 10 percent by January 1, 2012, and by 20 percent by January 1, 2020, as compared to a 2003 baseline. As of January 1, 2017, the state fleet met the 20 percent petroleum reduction goal with a total petroleum reduction from the 2003 baseline of 22.3 percent. To date, the state fleet has reduced its petroleum consumption by at least 13-percent and is on its way to meeting the 2020 goal of a 20-percent overall reduction. Additional information about this achievement and other state fleet sustainability initiatives is available here.

Senate Bill 498 (2017) added California Public Resources Code §25724, establishing a statutory requirement for the Department of General Services to “ensure that at least 50 percent of the light-duty vehicles purchased for the state fleet each fiscal year are zero-emission vehicles.” This statute codifies the 50% requirement issued in the Governor’s 2016 ZEV Action Plan and will further drive the state fleet towards our goal to reduce fleet related petroleum consumption and emissions.

Assembly Bill 739 (2017) added California Public Resources Code §25722.11, which requires, beginning December 31, 2025, that at least 15% of newly purchased vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 19,000 pounds or more purchased by state entities be zero emission. The statute also increases the purchasing requirement to 30% in December, 2030. DGS will be developing statewide policy to ensure compliance with this statute and will continue to work to adopt more zero-emission vehicles in the medium and heavy duty weight categories.

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Energy Savings Performance Contracting List All

Under the terms of Public Utilities Code Section 388, the statute that allows state agencies to enter into energy savings contracts, the Department of General Services (DGS) has developed a pool of qualified energy service companies (ESCOs), and oversees projects for most state buildings. DGS has further established a team, developed processes, and cleared obstacles for rapid implementation of ESCO projects at state facilities at state facilities in second quarter 2017. This significantly increased the engagement of utility on-bill financing, and other alternative financing mechanisms to implement energy efficiency projects at state facilities. The university systems and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation implement such contracts for their own buildings. California's Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program website contains additional information.

48 State of California executive branch state facilities have ESCO projects implemented, and 20 more facilities have ESCO projects underway. Two large state facilities implemented performance contracts in 2018. There are 1,500 state facilities in the executive branch. ESCO's invested $12 million in energy efficiency loans in state facilities in 2017. In 2018 ESCO projects resulted in over 3.6 million kWh in annual energy savings. Total energy savings seen in 2018 from all prior years ESCO projects combined equal around 51 million kWh.

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Research & Development List All

The California Energy Commission’s Energy Research and Development program sponsors and manages research to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, appliances, industrial processes, food production, agricultural irrigation, and water and wastewater treatment. Energy efficiency research is one of the areas funded by the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) and the Natural Gas Research and Development fund. Other research areas include expanding demand response strategies, encouraging innovative solutions using combined heat and power for energy efficiency or resiliency purposes (including integration with renewable resources or micro-grid technologies), establishing commercial opportunities for micro-grids, creating innovative bioenergy solutions, advancing energy storage, and analysis to inform State energy policy and planning. The program goals are to create and advance new energy solutions, innovative technologies, and approaches, and bring ideas from the lab to the marketplace. These efforts aim to provide benefits to California ratepayers, reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, and catalyze the clean energy economy. The R&D programs support applied research, technology demonstration, and market facilitation programs.

Energy efficiency research has focused on advancing energy efficiency technology solutions, such as building envelopes, heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, lighting, equipment controls, consumer electronics, water heating and indoor environmental quality, as well as integrated solutions to make zero net energy buildings and existing building retrofits affordable and cost effective.

In January 2018, the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) approved the Energy Commissions EPIC 2018-2020 Investment Plan. While funding amounts, priorities, and research initiatives and outreach strategies proposed by the Energy Commission were approved, as submitted, several changes were made to administering the EPIC program.

Beginning in 2018, the Energy Commission’s EPIC Program will implement Assembly Bill (AB) 523 (Reyes, Chapter 551, Statutes of 2017), which was signed into law in October 2017 and is effective January 1, 2018. This bill requires specific amounts of EPIC funds be expended on technology demonstration and deployment at sites located in, and benefiting, disadvantaged communities and low-income communities. In 2018, with the passage of Assembly Bill 109 (Ting, Budget Act of 2017, Chapter 249, Statutes of 2017), the California Energy Commission was provided with $66 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF). Of this amount, $60 million will be used to establish the Food Production Investment Program (FPIP), which will provide grants, loans, or financial incentives to food processors to implement projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. FPIP has two primary goals, (1) help replace high energy consuming equipment and systems in the food processing industry with market-ready and advanced technologies and equipment, and (2) accelerate the adoption of state-of-the-art energy technologies that can substantially reduce energy use and costs and the associated GHG emissions.

EPIC Program Accomplishments and Highlights

In 2018, the Energy Commission's Energy Efficiency Research Office has 98 active projects totaling more than $228 M, approved 4 new projects totaling more than $8.5 million and has 8 closed projects totaling $13.6 M. Some of the projects in 2018 were focused on:

  • Developing customer centric approach to scaling Integrated Demand Side Management retrofits.
  • Demonstration of cost effective methods to achieving maximum energy efficiency in grocery stores and Big box retail stores.
  • Evaluating the potential of emerging technologies measures and whether the savings can be layered onto existing energy efficiency programs.
  • Automated programmable irrigation management system to increase energy efficiency of irrigation.
  • Demonstration of affordable, comfortable, and grid integrated Zero Net Energy communities.
  • Advanced plug load controls and management in the educational facilities.
  • Automated cloud based continuously optimizing building energy management system.
  • Integrating smart ceiling fans and communicating thermostat in res and non-res buildings.
  • Flexible demand response control strategies for water pumping stations and refrigeration plants.
  • Analysis of Cultural Factors in the Energy Use Patterns of Multifamily Tenants.
  • Analysis of High-Temperature Hybrid Compressed Air Energy Storage.

The University of California-Davis houses the Energy and Efficiency Institute (previously the Energy Efficiency Center), whose mission is to accelerate the development and commercialization of energy efficiency technologies. The Institute includes the California Lighting Technology Center, the Western Cooling Efficiency Center, and the Center for Water-Energy Efficiency.

The University of California-Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment focuses on how to produce comfortable, healthful, and productive indoor environments in the most energy efficient way.

The University of California at Los Angeles’ Center for Energy Science and Technology Advanced Research (CESTAR) lists energy conservation as one of its four major research areas. UCLA developed the Home Energy Efficient Design software tool.

The University of California-Irvine's California Plug Load Research Center (CalPlug) researches efficiency in consumer and commercial electronics.

Last Reviewed: August 2019

Score: 7.5 out of 8
Buildings Summary List All

California first adopted Building Energy Efficiency Standards in 1978, and has regularly updated them approximately every three years. California’s energy code is considered to be one of the most aggressive and best enforced energy code in the United States, and has been a powerful vehicle for advancing energy-efficiency standards for building components and equipment. The Standards are required by statute to be performance-based, offering flexibility for builders and designers. The code also stands out because it includes field verification (residential) and acceptance testing (nonresidential) requirements for certain measures that are prone to construction defects or improper commissioning, and because high compliance rates overall are reported for requirements for newly constructed buildings. California is working toward the goal of achieving zero net energy in the 2020 Standards for residential buildings and 2030 Standards for nonresidential buildings.  

Residential Codes List All

The 2016 Building Energy Efficiency Standards were adopted in June 2015, effective January 1, 2017 In June 2017 the California Energy Commission certified to U.S. DOE that the 2016 Standards exceed IECC 2015 by 29% on average for the residential building types analyzed (see Energy Commission Residential Energy Efficiency Comparison).  The 2016 Reach Standards, published in the California Green Building Standards (CALGreen), were adopted in October 2015, effective January 1, 2017, and establish standards for Energy Design Ratings that are 15% (Tier I) and 30% (Tier II) beyond the mandatory standards, as well as a Zero Net Energy Design designation, which local governments consider for adoption as local ordinances.

In May 2018, the CEC adopted the 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, which take effect on Jan. 1, 2020, and are the first in the nation to require solar. The codes focus on four key areas: smart residential photovoltaic systems, updated thermal envelope standards, residential and nonresidential ventilation requirements, and nonresidential lighting requirements. Compared to the 2016 Standards, the 2019 Standards save 79% of electricity, 17% of demand, and 9% of natural gas for single-family buildings, and 53% on an energy cost basis.

Last Updated: July 2019

Commercial Code List All

The 2016 Building Energy Efficiency Standards were adopted in June 2015, effective January 1, 2017.  In September 2016 the California Energy Commission certified to U.S. DOE that the 2016 Standards exceed ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2013 by 13% on average for the nonresidential building types analyzed (see Energy Commission Nonresidential Energy Efficiency Comparison). The 2016 Reach Standards were adopted in October 2015, effective January 1, 2017.  They establish updated Tier I and Tier II standards that local governments consider for adoption as local ordinances. 

Last Updated: July 2019

Compliance List All
  • Gap Analysis/Strategic Compliance Plan: The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), in collaboration with the Energy Commission, adopted the state’s Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan (“Strategic Plan”), presenting a single roadmap to achieve maximum energy savings across all major groups and sectors in California. This comprehensive Strategic Plan for 2009 to 2020 represents the state’s first integrated framework of goals and strategies for saving energy, covering government, utility, and private sector actions, and holds energy efficiency to its role as the highest priority resource in meeting California’s energy needs. The Strategic Plan established the Big Bold Energy Efficiency Strategies (BBEES), which call for all newly constructed residential buildings to be Zero Net Energy by 2020 and all newly constructed Commercial buildings by 2030. The Codes and Standards Action Plan and Zero Net Energy Action Plan add detail to the Strategic Plan.  In addition, the CPUC/IOUs on an ongoing basis conduct EM&V studies to investigate ways to improve compliance with the Standards. The IOU Compliance Enhancement Program developed a Best Practices report in 2012based on a gap analysis of seven building departments.
  • Baseline & Updated Compliance Studies: The CPUC completed evaluations of building energy code compliance for the 2006-2008 program cycle in 2010 and for the 2010-2012 cycle in 2014. Reports can be found on the CALMAC website (
    • In October 2014 the CPUC completed the “Statewide Codes and Standards Program Impact Evaluation Report For Program Years 2010-2012.” In April 2015 BayREN completed the “BayREN Codes and Standards, Permit Resource Opportunity Program - PROP Final Report and Energy Code Resource Guide.” In January 2017 the CPUC completed the “Codes and Standards Compliance Improvement Program Years 2013-14 Process Evaluation.” The CPUC completed the 2013-2015 Impact Evaluation. The “California Statewide Codes and Standards Program Impact Evaluation Report Volume Two: T-24 Building Standards,” which assessed compliance with the 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, was published in June 2017.
  • Utility Involvement: California codes are supported by IOU incentive and rebate programs. Besides utility incentive programs, they develop and deliver building energy code training to a variety of stakeholders including builders, building departments, trades people, engineers, and architects in support of increase compliance. Regulatory guidelines have been established in Public Resources Code §25402.7 requiring significant utility involvement in supporting building energy code compliance. The CPUC has authorized the IOUs to support standards development since the early 2000s. Since 2008, the CPUC has authorized the IOUs to claim savings from standards development activities and to specifically develop and implement actions to support compliance improvement and standards implementation.
  • Stakeholder Advisory Group: The Energy Commission participates with several collaborative stakeholder groups and organizations that focus on improving code compliance throughout the state. These groups include the Compliance Improvement Advisory Group, the Western HVAC Performance Alliance Compliance Committee, the Bay Area Regional Energy Network Codes and Standards Program. In addition, the Commission participates with the California Building Officials (CALBO) statewide professional organization, with the County Building Officials Association of California (CBOAC) statewide professional organization, and with International Code Council (ICC) regional chapters around the state. BayREN is the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Energy Network that was established by Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). BayREN is composed of county-level public agencies representing ABAG’s nine-county region and half the population of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company service territory. BayREN has chosen to focus efforts on Building Standards compliance improvement throughout their region. In 2014, BayREN initiated the 2014 Permit Resource Opportunity Program (PROP) to engage the scores of Building Departments in their territory to understand and develop approaches to address building department specific and region-wide barriers to Standards implementation.
  • Training/Outreach: The Energy Commission conducts extensive outreach and education for the Building Energy Efficiency Standards to assist local building departments in enforcing and the industry in complying with the Standards. Such efforts include: developing and providing in-person training at California Building Official (CALBO) education events, International Code Council (ICC) chapter meetings, County Building Officials Association of California (CBOAC) annual events, California Association of Building Energy Consultants (CABEC) annual events, American Institute of Architects (AIA) chapter meetings, International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) meetings, Associated Lighting Representatives (ALR) meetings, and the Institute of Heating and Air Conditioning Industries (IHACI) annual events.
    • The Energy Commission also updated, developed, and published numerous resources to help facilitate compliance and enforcement with the 2016 Energy Code, including: energy videos, fact sheets, quick references, guides, counter cards, and presentations. All of these resources are located on the Energy Commission’s Online Resource Center.
    • New efforts on behalf of the Energy Commission for this past year included: becoming a fully functional International Code Council (ICC) Preferred Provider (PP) with approved courses and issuing continuing education unit (CEUs) certificates for training provided under the ICC PP program; reaching out to and attending meetings, outreach, and education events, and providing training for industry groups such as the Local Building Officials (LBO), Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA), and the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI).
    • Under the Energy Code Ace brand, the California IOUs’ Compliance Improvement Program provides online tools and training to market actors throughout the Building Energy Efficiency Standards compliance industry. Targeted market actors include: plans examiners and building inspectors, energy consultants, architects and designers, lighting designers and installers, HVAC contractors, and appliance manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. Energy Code Ace strives to provide online tools and training when and where the compliance industry needs it. In 2017, Energy Code Ace launched the new Code & Coffee live stream series and created a new learning block series in support of Certified Energy Analysts. The team also focused on developing dynamic, digital tools that automate the compliance process in close collaboration with the CEC. In addition to the new, dynamic focus that can be found on the CEC’s website, new resources and training were added to the Energy Code Ace library, such as the “Lighting Wheel” and new online self-studies that are designed to teach people how to use the new forms.
  • The Energy Commission, IOUs and other stakeholders conduct ongoing training and outreach throughout the state.  In combination, these collaborating organizations each year provide hundreds of in-person training sessions on Standards requirements and compliance options, compliance software, building department plan review and site inspection, and HERS rater field verification to increase compliance and enforcement with the Standards.  The IOUs also developed online courses that are available at any day and time of the year. These efforts included: developing and providing in-person training at CALBO Education Events, ICC Chapter Meetings, AIA Chapter Meetings; Institute of Heating and Air Conditioning Industries; attending events on a monthly basis to provide CEC updates; developing tools and resources to help simplify compliance and enforcement of the Energy Standards; and providing technical support to utilities' Energy Code Ace by reviewing their Energy Standards tools/resources and promoting utility funded training on the Energy Standards. The Energy Commission's budget for building code compliance, enforcement, and training and outreach was $3.2 million. The IOU and BayREN authorized budget was approximately $6 million.

Last Updated: July 2019

Score: 3 out of 3
CHP Summary List All

California has implemented a variety of policies to encourage CHP including interconnection standards, incentive programs, financial assistance, and additional supportive policies. In 2018, five new CHP installations were completed.

Interconnection StandardsList All

Policy: Rule 21

Description: California was among the first states to establish a standard interconnection policy for distributed generation. Approved in 2000, Rule 21 applies to CHP and other DG systems up to 10 MW. It has been adopted as a model by all three major investor-owned utilities and follows the established technical guidelines of the IEEE 1547 interconnection standard.

In September 2012, the California Public Utilities Commission enacted several major changes to Rule 21 for the first time since 2000. Changes include a "fast track" application process for systems that meet certain size standards, as well as several detailed study options for larger facilities.

Last Updated: July 2018

Encouraging CHP as a ResourceList All

CHP in energy efficiency standards: There is currently no portfolio standard in place under which CHP is eligible, but two state policies set targets for CHP deployment in California. One is Assembly Bill 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which calls for 4,000 megawatts (MW) of new CHP resources to result in 6.7 million metric tons (MMT) of greenhouse gas reductions. This policy was expanded through the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2016. The second is the Governor’s Clean Energy Jobs Program, which calls for the addition of 6,500 MW of CHP by 2030.

Under Assembly Bill 1890 (1996) and Assembly Bill 995 (2000), California established a "loading order" that calls for first pursuing all cost-effective efficiency resources to meet new load. The CPUC considers CHP a key element of this loading order, which is a guiding principle that specifies the state's general preference to pursue opportunities for energy efficiency and renewable generation before constructing new fossil fueled generation resources.

CHP programs:  The state and investor-owned utilities are running several programs designed to acquire cost-effective CHP energy resources. The Qualifying Facilities and CHP Program Settlement is the primary mechanism to require electric utilities to acquire new, efficient CHP resources. A technology incentive is also available through the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), which provides incentive payments to support the commercialization of new, efficient CHP technologies, among other eligible technologies.

Production Goal: The Qualifying Facilities and CHP Program Settlement established a mandatory requirement for California's three large electric utilities to procure a minimum of 3,000 MW of CHP by 2015 and sufficient capacity and energy from efficient CHP facilities to acheive 2.72 MMTCO2e of emissions reductions by 2020. The program was recently updated in a long-term procurement planning decision (D.15-06-028), which reduced previous procurement targets and required the electric utilities to hold solicitations between 2015 and 2020 to procure energy and capacity from efficient CHP resources sufficient to achieve 2.72 MMTCO2e of greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

Revenue streams: CHP systems in California have access to a feed-in tariff (FIT), which establishes a price paid and approved standard offer contracts for the purchase of excess electricity from eligible CHP generators.  Public Utilities Code 2840 directs the CPUC, the California Energy Commission, and the Air Resources Board to implement the Waste Heat and Carbon Emissions Reduction Act, which required the CPUC to establish a feed-in tariff for CHP systems that are smaller than 20 MW, in operation after January 1, 2008, and highly efficient (operating above a 62% total efficiency). The Measurement and Verification requirements were updated in 2016 to reduce deployment barriers. 

Additionally, the California Public Utilities Commission’s implementation of the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 provides CHP facilities that have a capacity of less than or equal to 20 MW and that have federal qualifying facility certification with an opportunity to execute a standard offer contract. This contract provides energy payments at the utility’s short run avoided cost and administratively-set capacity payments.

Last Updated: July 2018

Deployment IncentivesList All

Incentives, grants, or financing: CHP systems may have access to grants and loans through the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), which provides incentives to customers who produce electricity from a variety of sources. Beginning in 2017, all gas generation projects within the SGIP program must blend a minimum of renewable fuel with the gas fueling the SGIP project. In 2019 that amount must be at least 50% of the total fuel input, rising each year to 100% in 2020. 15% of the program's budget is avaialable for CHP. This program is thus much less supportive of traditional natural gas-fueled CHP than previously, and will impact a smaller portion of the CHP market, namely, those potential projects that are located near an affordable source of high quality biogas, since pipeline-grade renewable biogas is currently more expensive than regular natural gas.

Net metering: Under California's net energy metering (NEM) tariff, participating customers receive a bill credit for excess generation that is exported to the electric grid. On a month-to-month basis, bill credits for excess generation are applied to a customer's bill at the retail rate. At the end of a customer's 12-month billing period, any balance of surplus electricity is trued-up at a separate fair market value, known as net surplus compensation (NSC), which is based on a 12-month rolling average of the market for energy.

As of July 1, 2017, each investor-owned utility (IOU) offers a NEM successsor tarriff that was adopted by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in 2016 (AB 327, 2013). The tarriff makes adjustments to align the costs of NEM successor customers more closely with those of non-NEM customers. Among the new elements to NEM made by the decision is a requirement that NEM successor customers must pay non-bypassable charges on each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity they consume from the grid. Customer-sited CHP facilities are eligible for both NEM tariffs if they are fueled by eligible renewable fuels.

Following passage of AB-1613 in 2007, a feed-in tariff (F-I-T) was established for CHP systems no larger than 20 MW that met specified emissions and efficiency criteria. Seven facilities totaling 45 MW of nameplate capacity received or pursued such contracts.

Last Updated: August 2019

Additional Supportive PoliciesList All

California provides CHP-focused technical assistance through the Center for Sustainable Energy and through the California Energy Commission, which provides information on air permitting, demand response with CHP, financial incentives for CHP projects, and other issues. California also provides technical assistance through the investor-owned electric utilities, which assist CHP facilities in meeting the eligibility and interconnection requirements of the standard offer contracts available through the state's CHP feed-in-tarrif and the state's implementation of PURPA.

The CA IOUs frequently issue Requests for Offers (RFOs) for Local Capacity Resources (LCRs). Most of these RFOs are targeted specifically at renewable Distributed Generation (DG) and/or energy storage resources. Some RFOs are open to qualified natural gas CHP, albeit without the preference points given to renewable resources. For example, a 2015 CPUC decision allows Southern California Gas Company to provide Distributed Energy Resources (DERS) Tariff, which offers customers a fully elective, optional tariff under which SoCalGas would design, own and maintain CHP facilities on a customer's premise and charge the customer market-based prices for the service. 

The state also has policies to encourage the use of renewable-fueled CHP systems. In addition to offering incentives through the SGIP that are higher for projects powered with renewable fuels, the CPUC also began administering a bioenergy feed-in tariff in 2014, for which bioenergy projects are eligible. State Law SB 859 requires electricity retailers to collectively procure a total of 125 MW of energy from dead/dying trees.

California launched the BioMAT Program in 2015 for bioenergy generators less than 5 MW in size. A total of 250 MWs were made available to eligible projects through fixed price standard contracts to export electricity to one of CA’s three IOUs. Heat utilization is optional, and CHP can enhance the economics when a suitable thermal host is on site or nearby. Through 2018, there have been 22 signed contracts for 33 MW of capacity statewide.

Escalation of wildfires in the State have heightened attention on grid resiliency. PG&E, which has been hardest hit by the fires, is implementing a pre-emptive de-energization program and is planning for strategic “Resiliency Zones” with local power capability. Thus far, the plans for these Zones have included capability for grid isolated operation, hardening of transmission and distribution lines, and interconnection hookups for mobile generation sources. However, CHP has not been receiving much attention.

Last Updated: August 2019

Score: 15.5 out of 20
Utilities Summary List All

California is a long-time leading state for its utility-sector customer energy efficiency programs, which date back to the 1970s and have grown and evolved substantially over four decades. Investor-owned utilities administer energy efficiency programs with oversight by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which establishes key policies and guidelines, sets program goals, and approves spending levels. California's publicly-owned utilities (POUs) also administer customer programs. All of the investor-owned electric and gas utilities in California have decoupling, which has been in place for many years and is an integral part of California's "big, bold" energy efficiency initiative. Utilities may also earn performance incentives for energy efficiency efforts. 

In October 2015, California enacted SB 350, calling on state agencies and utilities to work together to double cumulative efficiency savings by 2030. California’s current targets are embedded in the approved 2016-2024 program portfolios and budgets for the state’s IOUs, which calls for incremental electricity savings of about 1.15% over the period (see CPUC Decision 15-10-028).

The most recent budgets for energy efficiency programs and electricity and natural gas savings can be found in the State Spending and Savings Tables.

Last reviewed: July 2019

Customer Energy Efficiency Programs List All

Investor-owned utilities administer energy efficiency programs with oversight by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which establishes key policies and guidelines, sets program goals, and approves spending levels. Investor-owned utilities and third-party contractors implement the programs. A share of public benefits funding is designated to go to non-utility organizations to offer programs that supplement and complement those of the IOUs and POUs. California's publicly-owned utilities (POUs), such as large municipal utilities serving Los Angeles and Sacramento, also administer and provide programs to their customers.

Several utilities provide on-bill financing. More information may be found in the ACEEE report, Energy Efficiency Financing Programs.

California's utilities fund some of their programs and initiatives through resource procurement budgets and recover their costs through rate cases brought before the CPUC. California's utilities also used to collect a Public Goods Charge (PGC) on customer utility bills to fund utility energy efficiency programs. Public Goods Charge is California’s name for a public benefits fund established in Assembly Bill 1890 in 1996. The PGC (see R.09-09-047, section 11) was not reauthorized by the California Legislature in 2011, and Governor Brown directed the CPUC to pursue continuation of funding for these programs before the PGC expires. About one-quarter of the utility energy efficiency portfolio budgets came through the PGC; the remaining majority of the energy efficiency portfolios is funded through utility procurement funds and is unaffected by the expiration of the PGC.

California also funds energy efficiency programs through funds collected as part of its AB 32 cap and trade program. AB 32 requires California to reduce its GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 — a reduction of approximately 15 percent below emissions expected under a “business as usual” scenario. AB 32 authorizes the collection of a fee from sources of GHGs, including oil refineries, electricity power plants (including imported electricity), cement plants, and food processors. Funds collected are used to provide staffing, contracts, and equipment to the Air Resources Board (ARB) and other state agencies to implement AB 32. 

Beginning in fiscal year 2013-2014, California has particularly targeted energy efficiency improvements in schools. The California Clean Energy Jobs Act (Prop. 39) changed the corporate income tax code and allocated projected revenue to California's General Fund and the Clean Energy Job Creation Fund for five fiscal years. Under the initiative, roughly $550 million annually is available for appropriation by the Legislature for eligible projects to improve energy efficiency and expand clean energy generation in schools.

The most recent budgets for energy efficiency programs and electricity and natural gas savings can be found in the State Spending and Savings Tables.

Last reviewed: July 2019

Energy Efficiency as a Resource List All

California has established energy efficiency as its highest priority energy resource for procurement of new resources. Under Assembly Bill 1890 (1996) and Assembly Bill 995 (2000), California has established a “loading order” that calls for first pursuing all cost-effective efficiency resources, then using cost-effective renewable resources, and only after that using conventional energy sources to meet new load.  As authorized under California Public Utility Code § 454.55-56, the CPUC has established aggressive targets and associated funding for energy efficiency programs.

In Decision 12-11-015 the CPUC directed IOUs, regional energy networks, and community choice aggregators to apply a market spillover effects adder of 5% to their program tracking claims, acknowledging the impacts of energy efficiency programs on the market overall. 

California has effectively doubled its energy efficiency goals as a result of SB 350, passed in October 2015. This bill requires the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission to establish annual targets for statewide energy efficiency savings and demand reduction that will achieve a cumulative doubling of statewide energy efficiency savings in electricity and natural gas final end uses of retail customers by January 1, 2030. 

Decision 15-10-028 adopted 2016 goals of 2,864 GWh/year electricity savings and 50.7 MMT/year in natural gas savings. Compared to the goals adopted in the previous year's D.14-10-046, gigawatt hours (GWh) goals are 10% higher, megawatt (MW) goals are 20% higher, and gas goals are 12% lower.

Last reviewed: July 2019

Energy Efficiency Resource Standards List All

Summary: Electric: Incremental savings targets average about 1.3% of retail sales from 2020-2025. Natural Gas: Incremental savings target of ~0.87% from 2020-2025.

Following California’s 2001 electricity crisis, the main state resource agencies worked together along with the state’s utilities and other key stakeholders and developed the California Integrated Energy Policy Report that included energy savings goals for the state’s IOUs. The CPUC formalized the goals in Decision 04-09-060 in September 2004. The goals called for electricity use reductions in 2013 of 23 billion kWh and peak demand reductions of 4.9 million kW from programs operated over the 2004–2013 period. The natural gas goals were set at 67 MMTh per year by 2013.

The California Legislature emphasized the importance of energy efficiency and established broad goals with the enactment of Assembly Bill 2021 of 2006. The bill requires the California Energy Commission (CEC), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and other interested parties to develop efficiency savings and demand reduction targets for the next 10 years. Having already developed interim efficiency goals for each of the IOUs from 2004 through 2013, the CPUC developed new electric and natural gas goals in 2008 for years 2012 through 2020, which call for 16,300 GWh of gross electric savings over the 9-year period (see CPUC Decision 08-07-047). See Decision 09-09-04 for 2010-2012 energy efficiency portfolios and Decision 14-10-046 for 2015 goals.

California’s current targets are embedded in the approved 2016-2024 program portfolios and budgets for the state’s IOUs, which called for incremental electricity savings averaging about 1.15% over the period (see CPUC Decision 15-10-028)

In 2015, California essentially doubled its energy efficiency goals by passing SB 350.  This bill requires the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission to establish annual targets for statewide energy efficiency savings and demand reduction that will achieve a cumulative doubling of statewide energy efficiency savings in electricity and natural gas final end uses of retail customers by January 1, 2030. The bill would require the PUC to establish efficiency targets for electric and gas corporations consistent with this goal. It would also require local publicly-owned electric utilities to establish annual targets for energy efficiency savings and demand reduction consistent with this goal. The CEC's SB 350 energy efficiency target-setting efforts are anticipated to be completed in late 2017. In May 2016, the CPUC reported initial estimates of the impact of SB350, available here

Additional efforts that will impact savings levels include recent all-source procurement RFOs that took place in Southern California. These resulted in 145 MW of procurement and are expected to come online between 2016 and 2022. The recent Diablo Canyon Power Plant retirement proposal includes replacement of some of the energy with energy efficiency. The first phase was approved in January 2018 for 2,000 GWh of savings that commence in the years 2019-2024.

Last reviewed: July 2019

Utility Business Model List All

California initially implemented decoupling through the Supply Adjustment Mechanism (SAM) for gas utilities beginning in 1978 (Decision 88835). By 1982, similar mechanisms were in place for the three electric IOUs. As the gas industry restructured, gas utilities began to serve large customers under a straight fixed-variable rate design, which continues through today. The CPUC stopped the electric decoupling mechanisms in 1996 due to restructuring of the electric power industry. 

In 2001, the Legislature passed Section 739.10, which required that the CPUC resume decoupling. Decoupling resumed for Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric beginning with the 2004 revenue requirement. Currently, the revenue decoupling program is combined with performance incentives for meeting or exceeding energy efficiency targets. Revenue requirements are adjusted for customer growth, productivity, weather, and inflation on an annual basis with rate cases every three or four years, varying by utility.

Decoupling mechanisms have been developed and applied in individual cases with the IOUs. All of the investor-owned electric and gas utilities have decoupling, which has been in place for many years and is an integral policy for California's "big, bold" energy efficiency initiative (CA Code Sec. 9 Section 739(3) and Sec. 10 Section 739.10 as amended by A.B. XI 29; Decisions 98-03-063 & 07-09-043).

The California Public Utilities Commission defined a new Energy Savings and Performance Incentive (ESPI) for investor-owned utilities in Rulemaking 12-01-005. Decision 13-09-023 (September 2013) allocates incentive earnings among four major categories: Energy Efficiency Resource Savings; Ex Ante Review Process Performance; Codes and Standards Advocacy Programs; and Non-Resource Program: 

  • Incentives for energy efficiency resource savings are capped at 9% of resource program expenditures.
  • Incentives for successful implementation of ex ante "lock down" are based on performance scores and are paid as an award of up to 3% of resource program expenditures.
  • Incentives are also provided for utility involvement in codes and standards programs in the form of a management fee equal to 12% of approved program expenditures.
  • For non-resource programs, utilities may earn a management fee equal to 3% of non-resource program expenditures (exclusive of administrative costs).

D.13.09.023 directs Commission staff to identify deemed measures with sufficiently uncertain ex ante savings parameters such that the savings claim should be subject to ex post verification in order to be included in the incentive payment. For the purposes of the ESPI mechanism, "sufficiently uncertain" measures are defined as those measures for which the Commission believes the net lifetime savings of the current DEER or non-DEER savings estimate may be as much as 50% or more under- or over-estimated.

Last reviewed: July 2019

Evaluation, Measurement, & Verification List All
  • Primary cost-effectiveness test(s) used: total resource cost test and utility cost test 

  •  Secondary cost-effectiveness test(s) used: None

The evaluation of ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs in California relies on regulatory orders (CPUC Decision 09-09-047). Utilities and the California Public Utilities Commission administer evaluations. The CPUC oversees EM&V studies for investor-owned utility, regional energy network (REN), and Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) programs. Evaluation information is available on the CPUC web site here, and historical evaluation reports dating to the 1990s are available on CalMAC.  

California has established formal rules and procedures for evaluation, which are in Decision 09-09-047. Evaluations are conducted statewide and for each of the utilities. The rules for benefit-cost tests are stated in CPUC Decision 05-04-051.  According to the Database of State Efficiency Screening Practices (DSESP), California currently specifies the TRC and UCT to be its primary cost-effectiveness tests. These benefit-cost tests are required for overall portfolio screening. Non-energy benefits (NEBs) included in California’s tests include avoided costs of compliance with emissions regulations. 

Further information on cost-effectiveness screening practices for California is available in the Database of State Efficiency Screening Practices (DSESP), a resource of the National Efficiency Screening Project (NESP). Further information on health and environmental benefits is available in ACEEE’s Overview of State Approaches to Account for Health and Environmental Benefits of Energy Efficiency.


Last reviewed: July 2019

Guidelines for Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs List All

Requirements for State and Utility Support of Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs

California’s Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, first adopted in 2008 and updated in 2011, establishes a goal for the Commission's Energy Savings Assistance Program that, by 2020, 100% of eligible and willing customers will have received all cost-effective low-income energy efficiency measures.

The Commission’s Energy Savings Assistance Program installs weatherization and energy efficiency measures, provides minor home repairs, and offers energy education at no cost to income-eligible program participants. Income eligibility for the Energy Savings Assistance Program is set at 200% or less of the Federal Poverty Guideline. The program is funded by ratepayers as part of a statutory public purpose program surcharge that appears on monthly utility bills, with the goal to reduce energy consumption, resulting in bill savings, while also increasing the health, comfort, and/or safety of the household.

Public Utility Code Section 2790 requires an electrical or gas corporation to perform home weatherization services for low-income customers. A utility must balance the cost effectiveness of the weatherization services and the policy of reducing the hardships low-income households face. It is set in code that by 2020, 100% of all eligible and willing low-income customers will be given the opportunity to participate in the program. An ongoing aspiration for the program is that it will be an energy resource by delivering increasingly cost-effective and longer-term savings to participants. For each budget cycle, the CPUC establishes program funding, energy savings targets, and household treatment/participation goals for each utility through a Decision.

Cost-Effectiveness Rules for Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs

Currently California applies the Energy Savings Assistance Program Cost Effectiveness test (ESACET) and the Resource Total Resource Cost test to the low-income program. These tests incorporate non-energy benefits and are related to the social goal of providing equitable demand-side management (DSM) treatment to the portion of the California housing stock in which low-income customers reside. These two tests are used for information purposes only, with no set threshold. 

Coordination of Ratepayer-Funded Low-Income Programs with the California Department of Community Services & Development's Low-Income Programs

The California Department of Community Services & Development (CSD) administers the Low‐Income Weatherization Program (LIWP), which installs solar photovoltaics, solar hot water heaters, and energy efficiency measures in low‐income single family and multi‐family dwellings in low-income communities to reduce GHG emissions and save energy. LIWP is funded through AB 32 cap-and-trade auction revenues and was allocated a total of $154 million in the 2014–15 and 2015–16 state budgets. Decision 16-11-022 directed the large investor-owned utilities to work with the Community Services and Development’s low-income weatherization programs on various fronts, including setting up a data sharing plan and establishing a referral process between the ESA Program and CSD’s program for identified customers with high energy burden and non‑IOU fuel sources.

Coordination of Ratepayer-Funded Low-Income Programs with SB350

SB 350 was passed in 2015 establishing annual savings targets to achieve a cumulative doubling of statewide energy efficiency savings by 2030. The bill mentions no specific low-income energy efficiency targets, but it does direct the California Energy Commission to publish a study on barriers for low-income customers to energy efficiency and weatherization investments, including those in disadvantaged communities, as well as recommendations on how to increase access to energy efficiency and weatherization investments for low-income customers. SB 350 Barriers Study updates can be found here.

Last reviewed: July 2019

Self Direct and Opt-Out Programs List All

California does not have structures in place for large customers to self-direct energy efficiency efforts or to opt-out from funding energy efficiency programs. 

Last reviewed: July 2019

Data AccessList All

Guidelines for Third Party Access

In May 2014, the Commission approved Decision (D.) 14-05-016, adopting rules to provide eligible third-party access to energy usage and usage-related data within IOU territories. The decision directed the CA IOUs to establish the Energy Data Request and Release Process (EDRP), which is underway, as well as an Energy Data Access Committee comprised of relevant stakeholders to serve as an informal advisory body. 

Data to third parties are transmitted via utilities’ Green Button Connect platforms. Depending on the use case, data may be transmitted in various levels of aggregation via FTP sites, CSV download, or in other formats as requested by parties.

Eligibility to receive aggregated energy usage data is restricted to academic researchers, local government departments, and their consultants, State Agencies. Use cases involving requests for commercial purposes, including market research for commercial energy services, are not eligible. Eligibility for accessing aggregated customer energy usage data is based on the use cases of the requesting party, which are detailed in D.14-05-016. The EDRP process includes utility requirements for verifying requesting parties, who are also required to sign an NDA with the utility or adhere to the utility’s Terms and Conditions. 

For third party access to customer-specific data, utilities require third parties to register with their Green Button Connect platform, and third party users are required to complete an IT test prior to connecting to utility data. Third party data access requires certain IT specifications, such as security and assurance that the third party system can provide the SSL certificate to connect to a utility’s data system.

Data requests and responses are made using secure HTTPS protocol and are authenticated via a two-way certificate exchange with the utility. Requesters need to implement security certificates for secure inbound and outbound API communication.

California investor-owned utilities do not charge a fee for providing data. Costs incurred by utilities for data management and request fulfilment are tracked in a balancing account and funded through general rate cases.

Data provided via Green Button Connect platforms contain both usage and billing information for 12 months of customer usage, either hourly or at 15-minute intervals.

Requirements for Provision of Energy Use Data

Decision (D.) 14-05-016 creates a process whereby entities can request energy usage and usage-related data from utilities and receive action on the request and resolution of disputes over access to data.

AB 1103 (Cal. Pub. Res. Code 25402.10(b)) requires utilities to deliver Whole Building Usage Information (WBUI) to building owners for nonresidential buildings covered by the Act “in a manner that preserves the confidentiality of the customer.” Currently, WBUI provision has been interpreted by the IOUs to exclude buildings with fewer than 15 tenants. Building owners must still acquire permission from tenants to access whole building information via Green Button Connect.

D.13-09-025 authorizes the provision of customer energy data to third parties upon customer request via Customer Data Access or Green Button Connect.

D. 14-05-016 also directs utilities, after informing the Commission, to provide energy data to state and federal government entities that need data to fulfill statutory obligations and request such data pursuant to this decision. 

Pursuant to California’s landmark legislation, AB802, every utility in California is required, as of January 1, 2017, to provide a year's worth of monthly energy consumption for an entire building to an owner (or owner's agent) upon request, provided that building consists of three or more commercial utility accounts or five or more accounts, if any are residential. A utility has four weeks to respond to a request and provide the information directly to the owner or upload it to the owner's Energy Star Portfolio Manager account. Portfolio Manager is an EPA created online tool that enables owners to benchmark their properties in a secure online environment.

Energy Use Data Availability

The data request and release process enables IOUs to grant requests for aggregated usage data by university researchers, state and federal agencies, and local governments. 

The CPUC has directed each investor-owned utility to maintain a data request portal on their websites where Energy Data Request Process details for aggregated data can be found. D.14-05-016 describes the EDRP requirements for each use case, but all are bound by either NDA or Terms and Conditions to receive data. Formats vary depending on user preference. The utilities are required to notify the Executive Director four weeks prior to delivery of any new data sets to requesting parties. The utilities must also file quarterly advice letters with updates to the “data catalogs” that each utility is required to maintain. This information is detailed on the utility websites, which can be located from this web page:

Last reviewed: July 2019

Score: 8.5 out of 10
Transportation Summary List All

California has some of the most comprehensive transportation and land-use planning policies in the nation.

Tailpipe Emission Standards List All

Light-duty vehicles:

The 2002 passage of the Pavley Bill in California was the first time that a law in the United States addressed the issue of greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks. In 2004, California adopted a new set of vehicle emission standards to implement the Pavley law. The regulations require automakers to produce vehicles that will, on average, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 30% from 2002 levels by 2016. Increased efficiency through the use of improved vehicle technology is expected to be the primary method for obtaining these reductions. Several other states have adopted California’s emissions program. California’s vehicle emission standards were harmonized with the federal fuel economy and greenhouse gas programs upon the adoption of new, more stringent federal fuel economy standards in April 2010 for model years 2012-2016.

In 2012, the California Air Resources Board adopted new GHG standards for model years 2017 to 2025 calling for a fleet-wide average increase in stringency of between 4% and 5% per year over those years. In 2012, California also updated the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) program that requires increasing production of plug-in hybrid, battery electric, and fuel-cell electric vehicles from 2018 to 2025.

In 2016, CARB jointly published a draft Technical Assessment Report (TAR) with the U.S. EPA and NHTSA, conveying an updated cost and technology feasibility for the current standards. In January 2017, the U.S. EPA and CARB released reports finalizing their reviews and concluded the current standards remain feasible. In April 2018, the U.S. EPA issued a revised Final Determination announcing their plans to re-open the national vehicle standards and California, along with 16 other states, have filed a lawsuit opposing that action.

Heavy-duty vehicles:

In 2008, California adopted new GHG regulations to reduce emissions through the fuel efficiency improvement of tractor-trailers. Between 2010 and 2020, tractor-trailers are subject to stringent fuel economy regulations.

In 2018, CARB adopted the Innovative Clean Transit Regulation, requiring all public transit agencies to gradually transition to a 100 percent zero-emission bus fleet. Recently, CARB proposed the Zero-Emission Regulation, which would require private and public airport shuttle fleet owners to transition their fleet to zero-emission shuttles. In addition, CARB developed the Advanced Clean Truck proposal to reduce GHG emissions by accelerating the first wave of zero-emission trucks and fostering a self-sustaining market. CARB is also in the process of developing proposals for a number of new measures that will further advance the commercialization of zero- and near zero‑emission technologies. The Zero‑Emission Powertrain Certification will support current and future advanced‑technology measures applicable to medium‑duty vehicles, heavy‑duty vehicles, and off‑road equipment. This will ensure that zero‑emission technologies deployed are able to meet the reliability and performance expectations of California fleets.

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Transportation System Efficiency List All

Transportation and Land Use Integration: California has identified smart growth and transportation system efficiency strategies as a major component of its plans to implement AB32, which requires a 25% reduction from 1990 levels in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. In 2008, California passed SB 375, requiring that the Air Resources Board (ARB), in consultation with the Metropolitan Planning Organizations, set regional goals for greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. Regional transportation plans will need to incorporate those targets, and Regional Housing Needs Assessments in turn will have to be aligned with the land use component of the transportation plans. SB 375 also relaxes the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review process for housing projects that are consistent with plans to meet regional greenhouse gas reduction goals and ensures adequate inter-agency cooperation in the development of the regional plans.

VMT Targets: ARB adopted final targets, expressed as percent per capita changes in emissions for each region, in September, 2010. In March 2018, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) updated the SB 375 (2008) regional targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicle travel. Prior to that, as part of the 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan Update adopted in December 2017, CARB identified the need for an additional 15 percent reduction in total statewide light-duty vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2050. This also supports one of the three pillars announced by Governor Brown in 2015, to reduce petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent from today's levels. These reductions are envisioned to be achieved in part by implementation of updated SB 375 targets and regional Sustainable Communities Strategies; forthcoming statewide implementation of SB 743 (2013); and additional State VMT reduction strategies.

Complete Streets: California also adopted AB 1358 in 2008, a bill that mandates municipalities to create long-term plans that incorporate “complete streets” goals for the physical development of their respective communities. From January 2011 onwards, city or county legislative bodies must “plan for a balanced, multimodal transportation network that meets the needs of all users of streets, roads, and highways, defined to include motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, children, persons with disabilities, seniors, movers of commercial goods, and users of public transportation, in a manner that is suitable to the rural, suburban, or urban context of the general plan.” A major objective of complete streets requirements is to expand the use of non-auto modes of transportation and thereby help to reduce vehicle miles traveled.

FAST Freight Plans and Goals: California has a freight plan that identifies a multimodal freight network and establishes an aggressive goal for the freight industry of near zero emissions status by 2050.

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Transit Funding List All

Finally, the state has identified a steady stream of funding for public transit expenditures. California’s Transportation Development Act provides two sources of funding for public transit: the Location Transportation Fund and the State Transit Assistance Fund. Monies are allocated to each county based on population, taxable sales, and transit performance and are used for the development and maintenance of transit infrastructure.

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Incentives for High-Efficiency Vehicles List All

AB 118 targets medium- and heavy-duty trucks in a voucher program whose goal is to reduce the up-front incremental cost of purchasing a hybrid vehicle. Vouchers for up to $117,000 are available, depending on vehicle specifications, and are paid directly to fleets that purchase hybrid trucks for use within the state.

California also offers rebates of up to $5,000 for light-duty zero-emission EVs and plug-in hybrid EVs on a first-come, first-served basis.

Last Reviewed: July 2019

Equitable Access to TransportationList All
California’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program provides funding to incentivize the creation of low-income housing near transit facilities, and they consider proximity to transit facilities when distributing federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to qualifying property owners. Last Reviewed: July 2019
Appliance Standards
Score: 3 out of 3
Appliance Standards Summary List All

Policy: California Code of Regulations, Title 20, Sections 1601 - 1609

Description: California was the first state in the country to adopt appliance and equipment efficiency standards. The authority to adopt appliance and equipment efficiency standards was bestowed upon the California Energy Commission as stipulated under the Warren-Alquist Act, which was enacted in 1974. Over the years, California has adopted standards on more than 50 products, many of which have subsequently become federal standards. California has collaborated with other countries to set harmonized standards for products that have a worldwide market, beginning with external power supplies in 2007.  

On September 2, 2010, California's Office of Administrative Law approved the introduction of efficiency standards for televisions, making California the first state to adopt standards for televisions, effective 2011 with an updated standard becoming effective in 2013. In 2012 California adopted standards for battery chargers. In 2013 the Energy Commission began information collection and the “pre-rulemaking” phase of standards development for 15 categories of appliances. 

In April 2015, Governor Brown issued Executive Order B-29-15, establishing the first ever statewide mandatory water reductions to address California’s ongoing drought. One week later the Energy Commission adopted by emergency its proposed standards to reduce the water use of faucets, toilets and urinals. 

In May 2015, the Energy Commission adopted efficiency standards for fluorescent dimming ballasts, labeling requirements for HVAC air filters, and test and list requirements for heat pump water-chilling packages, all of which take effect July 1, 2016. In September 2015, under the emergency Executive Order B-29-15, the Energy Commission adopted two-tiered standards for showerheads, and amended its standards for lavatory faucets. Finally, in January 2016, the Energy Commission adopted standards for general service LED lamps and small-diameter directional lamps, which will take effect beginning January 1, 2018. During 2015 and 2016, the Energy Commission conducted pre-rulemaking workshops on standards for computers, computer monitors, and signage displays, as well as for pool pump motors and portable electric spas.

In August 2015, the Energy Commission launched its Modernized Appliance Efficiency Database System, which allows manufacturers to certify their products online and which has greatly improved the efficiency and utility of the state certification process."

In 2016, the Energy Commission adopted efficiency standards for computers, computer monitors, and signage display and conducted workshops for pool pumps and portable electric spas. In January 2017, the Energy Commission started Phase 2 of the appliance rulemaking as stated in the 2012 Order Instituting Rulemaking.  Appliances being considered for efficiency standards in Phase 2 include commercial and industrial fans and blowers, general service lamps, sprinkler spray bodies, tub-spout diverters, and irrigation controllers. 

In late 2018 and early 2019, the Energy Commission adopted standards for portable air conditioners, air compressors, and portable electric spas. 
Did the state adopt a provision to backstop light bulb standards in case of repeal or rollback? Did the state adopt a provision to backstop all other federal standards in case of repeal or rollback?

Yes. In December 2008, California adopted a 45 lumen per watt standard for general service lamps (GSLs) as defined in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). This standard had an effective date of January 1, 2018, and was contingent upon DOE’s failure to complete certain actions as directed by Congress through EISA. DOE failed to complete those actions and California implemented the 45 lumen per watt standard for GSLs manufactured on or after January 1, 2018. Additionally, the Energy Commission has an active proceeding (Docket 17-AAER-07) to consider expanding the scope of the existing GSL standard, in case of repeal or rollback of DOE’s January 19, 2017, definitions for GSLs. 
 California’s Title 20 Appliance Efficiency Regulations have long had existing provisions that backstop all other federal appliance standards in case of repeal or rollback (Title 20 section 1605(a)).

Last Updated: June 2019