Reviewing California Energy Policy SB 350 and Looking Ahead for Energy Efficiency

Written by: Joseph Werner

Waypoint Energy recently attended the SF Bay Area Young Professionals in Energy’s (YPE) event on California’s SB 350 legislation. On October 7, 2015, Senate Bill 350: Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act (SB 350) was signed into law as a key stepping stone towards the ambitious statewide goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2050. This bill, championed by Governor Edmund G. Brown, established California’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target of 40% below 1990 levels. SB 350 requires California to double energy efficiency savings from end-use sources by 2030 and increases the renewable electricity procurement goal from 33% by 2020 to 50% by 2030.


Dissecting the legislation and the state of California’s compliance thus far, the four panelists at the YPE event stemmed from a variety of backgrounds: E3 Consulting, the California Public Utilities Commission, San Diego Gas & Electric utility, and the law firm Morrison & Foerster. This mix of backgrounds and expertise fostered thoughtful discussion from several different angles.


One key takeaway from this panel was California’s transition from Long Term Procurement Plan (LTPP) to Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) via SB 350. Instead of long-term plans detailing the energy industry’s sources and practices, IRP embraces the ever-changing energy industry along with rapidly-developing new technologies. Now large utilities are required to develop and submit integrated resource plans that detail how each entity will meet their customers resource needs, reduce emissions and ramp up the deployment of clean energy resources. Most notably, these integrated resource plans will address the new energy efficiency savings requirements as well as renewable portfolio standards (RPS).


And as reported by the panel, currently California is responsible for less than 0.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, yet it’s economy ranks as the 6th largest global economy. As the state of California’s efforts towards clean energy and limited air pollution continue to evolve, the state will continue to be a leader on this front.

There are multiple pathways to achieve the new SB 350 targets. According to E3’s panelist, a focus on the electricity sector to hit these reductions is the optimal route as opposed to transportation, gas, or others in the broader energy industry. Drawing upon the price competitiveness of renewables and the strong business cases for energy efficiency upgrades, he concluded electricity would be the easiest sector to decarbonize.


Waypoint Energy’s work in reducing energy usage in the commercial real estate sector via energy efficiency improvements is right in line with SB 350’s goals and California’s collective efforts to meet them. Our Utility Connect Program in particular connects multi-tenant commercial office properties with existing utility incentives to overcome the split-incentive and enable implementation of efficiency measures. To learn more, reach out to us at info@waypoint-energy.com.

©Waypoint Energy 2020

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