Council gives final nod to cheaper energy, green jobs
by Nick Rappley | Patterson Irrigator
Mar 27, 2013 | 1986 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Patterson City Council Meeting

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 19

WHERE: Patterson City Hall, 1 Plaza

WHO: Mayor Luis Molina, Councilwomen Deborah Novelli and Sheree Lustgarten and Councilman Dominic Farinha were present. Councilman Larry Buehner was absent.

The Patterson City Council on March 19 voted for what members hope is a greener, more energy efficient city.

With Councilman Larry Buehner absent, the council approved by a 4-0 vote a plan for a lease and purchase agreement with Banc of America Public Capital Corporation to help fund L.E.D. lighting equipment to make the city more energy efficient over the next 30 years. The deal the final part of an agreement with Chevron Energy Solutions, a subsidiary of Chevron Corp. to develop green energy within Patterson.

The agreement between Chevron and the city also calls for Chevron and WattzOn, a community-based company that educates consumers about how to save money on energy, to put together a program for students to be trained for green energy jobs.

The program will work with Patterson High School students to train them as paid interns at $14 an hour to do free energy consultations for small businesses and residents in Patterson.

The education program creates opportunities for green energy education on several levels, Liza Wood, business development manager for Chevron, said.

“The whole approach is to allow the city to provide opportunities to educate the community,” she said, noting that the community would get educated on green energy. “Students also get real world work experience by the time they’ve graduated from high school.”

City Manager Rod Butler was happy the project received unanimous votes throughout the 18 months it took Chevron, and the city to work out a deal.

“We can be proud of not only the green energy this will generate, but the cost savings it will implement,” he said. “Once the equipment is paid off the cost savings will kick in.”

According to a city report authored by Butler, Chevron will install photovoltaic solar panels at the city’s sewage treatment plants, new corporation yard, Hammon Senior Center and Patterson Aquatic Center.

Those panels would generate more than 1.12 megawatts of electricity, enough to cover about 94 percent of the facilities’ power use.

The outline also calls for the conversion of nearly 800 new city-owned streetlights to L.E.D. technology and improving indoor and outdoor lighting at the aquatics center, the corporation yard, both city fire stations and the sewage treatment plant.

Lighting changes would reduce the city’s electricity use by an estimated 2.1 million kilowatt hours and the corresponding utility bill by more than $220,000 per year.

Turlock Irrigation District, the city’s power provider, is offering a $400,000 solar and lighting rebate to the city paid over five years for reducing energy usage. A $6 million cost savings is predicted during the 30-year projected life of the solar panels, the report states.

The total cost of the project is expected to be $5,445,133.

The city has been approved for a California Energy Commission loan of $2.8 million at a 1 percent annual interest rate for 15 years and another loan called a Tax Exempt Lease Purchase for more than $1.7 million with Banc of America, leaving the city to cover the rest — about $900,000 — through various city unspecified city funds. Butler said Tuesday, March 19 that city staff would be looking at various city funds to help offset any general fund reserve impact.

Cost savings and incentives are projected to pay for the loan payments during the first 16 years and save the city $450,000 in energy costs to the city each year going forward.

Contact Nick Rappley at 892-6187, ext. 31 or nick@pattersonirrigator.com.

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