How to Make Money from Saving Energy: Tales of Innovation at the SDG&E Energy Showcase

Conservation is a big deal in California. While per capita energy usage has climbed approximately 50 percent from 1975 to 2005, according to presentations by former California Energy Commissioner Arthur Rosenfeld, California managed to keep the growth of energy consumption at about  2 percent per capita over the same period—largely by requiring aggressive energy conservation measures.

As part of that overall conservation push, San Diego Gas & Electric convened its fifth annual SDG&E Energy Showcase to recognize their customers’ biggest success stories at reducing energy waste. For example, by installing LED lighting, sophisticated refrigeration controls, and taking other conservation measures, Carlsbad, CA-based Life Technologies (NASDAQ: LIFE) cut its electricity consumption by 5,200,000 kilowatt hours a year—or about 28 percent—and estimates it will save about $4 million in reduced energy costs over five years. And it won’t take forever to recoup its upfront investment in energy savings. The company, which provides laboratory equipment and supplies for biotech labs, also got $724,526 in rebates and incentives from SDG&E to do the energy efficiency work.

As part of its showcase, SDG&E also holds an exhibition for the companies that provide the products and services that help SDG&E customers reduce their energy costs.

“We want to make sure [energy conservation successes] are visible to our customers,” says Mark Gaines, director of energy efficiency and demand-response programs at SDG&E, one of two utilities that are owned and operated (and generate about half the revenue) by San Diego-based Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE). Gaines says SDG&E doesn’t certify the individual companies that provide energy efficiency services. Rather, he says, “We certify the technology, so we have a list of technologies that are available for rebates.”

More than 70 companies registered as exhibitors, and there was a strong showing by companies that specialize in … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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One response to “How to Make Money from Saving Energy: Tales of Innovation at the SDG&E Energy Showcase”

  1. Generating Energy Storage & A Combination Renewable Energy System

    “It is cheaper to save energy than make energy”

    Any renewable energy system that is installed should have extra capacity and be able to convert water into hydrogen which will be used to power a hydrogen generator as a back-up power source.

    We should install a renewable energy system that utilizes solar & wind, when possible add geothermal to the mix.

    A design is needed for a renewable energy system that can generate electricity and heat water with a step down mixer allowing the system to provide water hot enough for radiant heating and at the same time utilize a step down mixing valve to reduce the water temperature to be able its use for hot water in normal consumption.

    A thermal renewable energy system may be able to provide both.

    Prior to sizing up a renewable energy system, an energy audit should be conducted and energy efficiency recommendations should be implemented, that includes changing habits in utilizing energy and utilities in general.

    Habitual changes can save between 20 to 50% of energy & utility consumption.
    When people are considerate not to waste, they save resources and money.

    YJ Draiman, Energy/Utility Analyst