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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Green Operations > California Environmental Compliance

California’s Prison System Announces 16 Major Energy Saving Projects and Wasco Solar Fields

Energy efficiency programs in the California prisons are authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission, in response to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Executive Order S-20-04 which sets a goal of a twenty percent reduction in grid supplied electricity. Energy efficiency improvements are a top priority for CDCR as a way to meet the reduction goals.

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California’s Prison System Goes Green

The 16 energy efficiency projects represent CDCR’s first phase of projects to be constructed under the CDCR/IOU partnership program.

16 Major Energy Saving Projects for Prisons

Construction on 16 energy efficiency retrofit projects statewide is underway, and completion of all projects is expected by the end of 2008. Ultimately, these projects will save 25 million kilowatt hours and 650,000 therms of energy each year at CDCR facilities, the equivalent of taking 3,770 cars off the road. These projects alone are projected to result in $3.2 million in annual savings to California taxpayers.

Retrofit projects at each prison are conducted by private contractors, and include HVAC retrofits, lighting retrofits and motor upgrades. Part of the cost is paid for by investor owned utilities (IOU’s) at no cost to the state General Fund.

IOU’s include Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison Company (SCE), Southern California Gas Company (SCG) and San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E). The remaining funds for the projects were secured through low interest loans from the Department of General Services.

Wasco Solar Fields

Wasco State Prison is one of six prisons slated to be a site for new solar power fields, which will each produce more than one megawatt of pollution-free electricity per year. Each solar project will provide enough energy to power 226 homes a year. CDCR currently has solar fields operating at Ironwood and Chuckawala Valley State Prisons, providing up to 25 percent of their power at peak demand.

Matthew Cate, CDCR Secretary summarizes the prison energy conservation program, "As California’s largest agency, with 67,000 dedicated employees spread across hundreds of physical locations throughout this diverse state, CDCR has a unique opportunity to make a huge impact on California’s energy grid on a daily basis. These energy projects allow our agency to harness solar power, maximize conservation efforts, increase efficiencies, and ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

RESOURCE: More information about the California Prison system energy efficiency programs.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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