Published June 21, 2005
Volume 13, Number 6

Summer Brings Increased Energy Demands - And an Opportunity to Flex Your Power Bay Area

Summer is the time of peak energy use in Northern California and that means that it’s the most important time to conserve energy as well. With rising energy prices and demands nearing peak capacity, it makes sense for everyone to participate in efforts to utilize good energy management.

While many different factors contributed to the California energy crisis of 2001, the root cause of that crisis remains today: California sometimes uses more power than it can generate. State businesses and local governments conserved up to 20 percent of their energy use that summer, an effort that both saved them money and kept the power grid from failing. Commercial and industrial businesses are projected to increase their energy use up to 12 percent by 2010 and if those estimates are accurate, power shortages will continue to be a reality.

To encourage area businesses to conserve energy, the Bay Area Council has created a new program, Flex Your Power Bay Area. The group—a business-sponsored, public-policy advocacy organization for the nine-county Bay Area which proactively advocates for a strong economy, a vital business environment, and a better quality of life for everyone who lives here—is joining with a number of other organizations to facilitate this program as part of their larger mission.

The program asks businesses and organizations in Hacienda and throughout the area to commit to improvements of 10 to 20 percent in energy efficiency; to identify five to 10 percent in peak load reduction which can be implemented during Flex Your Power NOW! alerts; and to help inform employees about energy-saving behavior with in-house educational efforts implemented with the Bay Area Council’s campaign.

Businesses are invited to do any or all of the following:

• Take action by committing to voluntarily increase energy efficiency, use demand response programs to reduce peak energy loads, and educate your employees on energy efficiency measures to apply at home or work.
• Be recognized for your company’s responsible energy practice and include your company’s name on Flex Your Power Bay Area’s letterhead. Logos may be submitted online at BayAreaCouncil.org.
• Pledge to reduce CO2 emissions and track your company’s greenhouse gas emission reductions on an ongoing basis by using forms provided by Flex Your Power Bay Area (also available on the Bay Area Council’s web site).

Companies like Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems have already signed up for the program, demonstrating that voluntary, market-driven efforts can bring energy reliability and environmental benefits to the Bay Area and to California.

To take part in Flex Your Power Bay Area, contact Andrew Michael, vice president of sustainable development for the Bay Area Council, at (415) 981-6600 or via e-mail at amichael@bayareacouncil.org. Once a company is signed up, program personnel will help identify appropriate strategies and resources to meet your energy efficiency goals, including financial incentives, means to track progress, report your successes, and recognize your company’s achievements.

Flex Your Power Bay Area is a partnership between the Bay Area Council, the Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA), the Association for Facilities Engineering, the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), Pacific Gas & Electric, and the State of California.


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