Findings from the Silicon Valley Energy Watch’s Community Energy Champions Grant Program

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The Silicon Valley Energy Watch’s white paper, The Community Energy Champions Grant Program: Leveraging Community Based Organizations and Local Governments to Effectively Implement Behavioral Energy Efficiency Programs, is now available. A second white paper in this two part series will be available in December 2012. Background from the paper is available below.


In 2010, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), the largest electric and gas utility in California, took a bold step by awarding funding to the City of San José to conduct the Community Energy Champions Grant Program (CECG). The pilot’s hypothesis is that long-term social marketing behavior change programs, implemented via local community-based agencies, with local government and/or utility support and guidance, have the capacity to accomplish deep and lasting energy use behavior changes, and must be a critical component of statewide and regional initiatives. We have not asked, “Are behavioral programs effective for energy efficiency?” but, rather, “Given that behavioral programs are effective, what is the best and most effective delivery mechanism?” Pilot results may also indicate where and when the delivery model can be most efficaciously applied.

Operated through the Silicon Valley Energy Watch program, the CECG awarded technical assistance and a total of $332,500 in “mini grants” to seventeen community-based organizations (CBOs) and one municipal agency in the summer of 2011 to deliver behavioral energy efficiency programs in targeted communities across Santa Clara County. The Silicon Valley Energy Watch is a county-wide partnership implemented by the City of San José with funding from PG&E. Supported programs run through December 2012.

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