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>California energy regulators have proposed a sweeping, $2.9 billion package of programs to slash the amount of electricity and natural gas the state uses in the next three years, potentially saving as much power as the output from three power plants.
The proposal from the California Public Utilities Commission would try to wring energy savings from homes and businesses alike. Some houses would be retrofitted with energy-efficient lights, windows and air conditioning to cut their power use by at least 20 percent.
The proposal, issued by the commission on Tuesday, would increase by nearly one-third the amount that Californians spend on energy efficiency. The money would come from utility bills, with $1.2 billion paid by customers of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. alone.
>Two California power companies have applied for Department of Energy funding to develop energy storage systems for renewable power.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) applied for $25 million in grants to design an underground reservoir for compressed air, and Southern California Edison (SCE) applied for $25 million for an enormous battery system to be built by A123 Systems.
PG&E’s system would use excess energy produced by wind or solar power to pump air into an underground storage space. When winds die down, or during hours of darkness, the compressed air would be released through a turbine to produce electricity. The total cost of the project is estimated to be around $300 million.