Sierra Nevada Energy Watch (SNEW)
SNEW is a program implemented by Sierra Business Council to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy use in the Sierra. We work to build climate resiliency as well as provide economic, environmental, and social benefits to communities in the region. SNEW serves Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Lassen, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sierra, Sutter, Tuolumne, and Yuba counties.
We work closely with local governments, school districts, public agencies, and community members to conduct GHG inventories, develop emissions reduction plans, and to execute projects that make their communities more resilient, efficient, and vibrant. Our programs increase the capacity of the public sector to identify projects, take advantage of financing opportunities, and implement on-the-ground energy-saving projects.
30 Greenhouse Gas Inventories
We have completed 30 GHG inventories, re-inventories, and reduction quantifications for local governments and public agencies in the Sierra Nevada region. These inventories allow jurisdictions to begin compliance with AB 32 (Global Warming Solutions Act) by first understanding where their emissions come from and how they can be reduced. All of these projects involve identifying and following the latest protocols, collecting and analyzing data, and summarizing trends and outcomes to inform emission reduction planning.
12 Energy Action Plans
We have developed and supported implementation of more than a dozen Energy Action Plans (EAPs) and Climate Action Plans (CAPs) throughout the Sierra that serve as roadmaps for communities to achieve their local emission reduction goals. We work with local governments to build on their GHG inventory and forecast work to set specific strategies and actions in order to reduce emissions relating to energy use. We assist these jurisdictions with initial implementation in order to show real energy savings in the short term and ensure the plans take root in the community.
Community Activation on Local Climate Issues
We convene local climate champions and community stakeholders to kick start and support community working groups across the SNEW territory with the goal of implementing the strategies and goals of their respective jurisdiction’s EAPs.
Strengthen the Sierra Economy
Our Climate Action team stimulates local economies by encouraging local developers to build more sustainable projects that have a goal of GHG emissions reduction and matching these projects with statewide GHG reduction funding. To date, Sierra Business Council has played a role in infusing $18 million into such developments.
We partnered with utility representatives and contractors to deliver cost-effective energy efficiency solutions and program services to local governments, school districts, and public agencies in 14 counties in the Sierra Nevada region. Since 2010, the Climate Action Team has saved over 25 million kWh of energy and served thousands of customers.
Saving Energy, Time, and Money
Over the last few years, the team has assisted customers with over $2 million in 0% bill neutral financing options to implement on the ground energy efficiency projects, decrease GHG emissions, reduce maintenance costs, and start saving money. We also help communities prioritize financially viable projects.
The Sierra Nevada Energy Watch (SNEW) program is a partnership between Sierra Business Council and Pacific Gas & Electric Company that coordinates and helps to fund energy efficiency projects which reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. The team assists communities throughout the Sierra Nevada to proactively plan for climate change by reducing GHG emissions and adapting to changes already impacting the Sierra. State mandates and a growing awareness of the impacts of climate change on Sierra communities have initiated a need for climate action planning. We use approved protocols to develop GHG emission inventories, energy action plans, facilities benchmarking, and more, so that partners have the tools they need to address climate change.
The SNEW program brings economic resources to the Sierra region and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, encouraging community vitality, economic prosperity, and environmental health. The mission of SNEW is to reduce energy consumption while promoting green economic development, social fairness, and long-term environmental quality. The program is available to the public sector, including local governments, special districts, public agencies, and K-12 public school districts. Additionally, our program delivers projects to unserved small and medium sized businesses and regional communities in our 14 county territory. This program is funded by California utility customers and administered by PG&E under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.
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For fear of sounding like a broken record, I will skip over the detailed account of how my fellowship/life is not exactly as I expected it to be, thanks to the pandemic. It’s 2021 but you could also call it December 56th, 2020. It didn’t become a brand new world January 1st, we are still wearing masks, working from home in our sweatpants, and trying to avoid refreshing the news. At the same time, I have been pondering the beauty of my unexpected journey to CivicSpark and SBC.
I know I am not the only one glad to leave 2020 in the dust. At Sierra Business Council we talk a lot about turning challenges into opportunities, about implementing actionable steps that don’t just temporarily solve one-off problems but offer alternative ways of doing business, interacting with the environment, and existing in the Sierra to eradicate what causes those problems in the first place. As an organization, we’re proactive rather than reactive, and our goal is to build a region that is as well.
No one saw 2020 coming, though. Over the course of the last year, everyone has been asked to react to the unexpected, the unimaginable.
Sierra CAMP, a program of Sierra Business Council, is currently undertaking a regional vulnerability assessment to examine how Sierra Nevada communities will be affected by projected climate changes. We have already seen the massive impact that climate change can have in its multiple forms on our communities in the mountains.