News Releases

Energy Savings Projects in State Prisons

Energy Savings Projects will reduce the prison system electrical usage annually by 50 million kwh and 2.1 million therms and save $6 million by the end of 2012

SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced today an expansion of its ambitious energy-savings projects at 17 of its 33 adult prisons that will save electricity, natural gas and taxpayer dollars. Construction is under way at 10 prisons this year, and agreements are in place for additional projects at seven prisons in 2012. Projects include replacing antiquated boilers and upgrading lighting systems and HVAC controls. By the end of 2012, these projects will be saving enough electricity to power more than 4,500 homes.

“These Energy Savings Projects reduce CDCR’s dependency on the electrical grid, save taxpayers millions of dollars a year and place state-of-the-art equipment in our facilities,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate.

In 2007, CDCR joined the Southern California Edison Cool Planet Program and became a member of the Climate Registry, a nonprofit collaboration that sets standards used to calculate, verify and publicly report carbon dioxide emissions into a single registry.

CDCR successfully obtained alternative sources of financing without using the state’s General Fund to finance the projects, including the federal government’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act program and the On Bill Financing program through Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric. The alternative financing was secured through low interest loans, which are paid off within several years of the projects’ completion. Project costs are additionally offset by incentives from the California Investor Owned Utilities and reduced monthly utility expenditures made possible by the upgrades.

In 2010, CDCR completed energy-efficiency projects that reduced demand on the state electrical grid by approximately 2.9 million kilowatt-hours and cut the department’s natural gas usage by 31,542 therms. These savings equate to a reduction of 1,224 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

For 2011, CDCR is on schedule to complete additional energy-efficiency projects that will cut electrical demand by 11.3 million kilowatt-hours, further reduce natural gas usage by 1,116,251 therms and eliminate another 10,040 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

For 2012, CDCR has low-interest funding approved for $10.8 million in additional projects at seven prisons that will save an estimated 13.3 million kilowatt-hours and 561,000 therms; reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 7,800 metric tons; and cut the department’s utility expenditures by another $1.4 million each year.

Energy Savings Projects account for an annual savings of more than 50 million kilowatt hours of electricity and 2.1 million therms of natural gas. The projects help CDCR reduce its carbon dioxide emissions and its electrical and natural gas usage in order to meet the state’s goal of cutting grid-based electrical consumption.

All Energy Savings Projects are managed by CDCR’s Energy Management and Sustainability Section, part of the Facility Planning, Construction and Management Division.