Oakland is the third largest city in the San Francisco Bay area, with a population of 400,000. It has undertaken numerous sustainable development initiatives.

In 1998, the City of Oakland adopted a Sustainable Community Development Initiative that called for implementing a sustainable development strategy as an overarching principle guiding Oakland's economic development program. Today, the City has demonstrated renewed commitment to meeting its sustainability goals and Mayor Jerry Brown has elevated the sustainability initiative staffing to the Mayor’s Office and added a new Sustainability Director position tasked with developing and implementing a pragmatic action plan.

The objective of the CALeep Oakland pilot project was to develop an energy efficiency action plan that will be integrated into Oakland’s new sustainability-oriented economic development strategy. Key to the pilot project was helping the city to set up an institutional infrastructure to define and prioritize objectives, incorporate input from key stakeholders, and monitor and guide energy efficiency efforts in future years. As such, CALeep defined a process for planning, implementing, and monitoring energy efficiency initiatives for local governments in California.

Pilot Objectives

Develop an energy efficiency action plan for Oakland’s sustainability-oriented economic development strategy. Use the existing “channel” of the city’s Sustainability Plan to facilitate a more comprehensive approach to implementing energy efficiency. This approach also helps the city prioritize programs to meet specific goals being defined by the city, such as increasing economic benefits/economic development, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing energy usage. ▪ Help the city develop the means to plan, implement and monitor energy efficiency programs, which includes defining baselines and indicators to track energy use, prioritizing energy efficiency objectives and initiatives, addressing barriers, and monitoring energy efficiency efforts.

Pilot Outcomes

  • City of Oakland Energy Efficiency Action Plan

    Over the past ten years, the Mayor and City Council adopted several initiatives to establish Oakland as a leader in sustainable development. Energy efficiency can be one of the most cost-effective means to achieve many of the objectives of the sustainable city mission including sustainable economic development, climate protection, and increasing the health and well-being of Oakland’s citizens. However, many well-intended initiatives have stalled in the face of long-standing institutional barriers both internal and external to Oakland. This plan identifies the most critical barriers and recommends actions to overcome them.

  • Commercial and Industrial Customer Survey

    Commercial and industrial customers account for nearly two-thirds of the electricity use in Oakland. Through CALeep, Oakland learned that the top 300 customers account for about 50% of the city’s total electric load. From an energy efficiency strategy focused purely on electricity savings, a 10% reduction in energy use from the top 300 customers would produce the same amount of savings as achieving a 10% reduction from the bottom 159,000 customers. This analysis suggested that a focused effort to understand and work with a relatively small market segment has the potential to achieve significant savings in the short term. CALeep conducted a survey of the top commercial and industrial energy users in Oakland to better understand their current activities and future plans, and guide the City in determining what actions could be taken to help these customers reduce energy use while maintaining or growing their businesses in Oakland.

  • Non-Energy Benefits and Sustainability Estimation Model Manual

    While energy efficiency programs generally will benefit the community, certain initiatives may provide greater benefit for specific local objectives such as improving the health and welfare of lower income households. Programs that can save the most energy are not necessarily the same programs that best serve other critical community needs. Metrics for state directed programs don’t help cities like Oakland determine the best programs for local needs. The CALeep program contracted with Skumatz Economic Research Associates to modify its proprietary model for valuing the non-energy benefits of energy efficiency programs to provide the City with a tool that can help value and assess energy efficiency program impacts on the City’s goals. This analysis proves valuable not only in informing local program choices but in marketing energy efficiency to customers.