State-funded Resiliency Program Seeks San Joaquin Valley Communities to Join Its Efforts

The San Joaquin Valley is well positioned for exponential clean energy growth due to California’s aggressive energy goals, the associated state and local programs and resources, and abundant clean energy potential in the region. Sustainable Energy Roadmap (SER) is focused on helping local communities to set and pursue goals related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and transportation and land use, all while enhancing the role of environmental justice communities in the public planning process.

By opting into the voluntary 18-month SER program, participating cities and counties are supported in benchmarking clean energy and sustainable development policies and programs, identifying relevant best practices, and adopting goals that support the environment, economy and disadvantaged communities. Sponsored by California’s Strategic Growth Council through Proposition 84 funding, the SER approach is designed to benefit all Valley public agencies, with particular attention focused on the most environmentally and economically challenged communities. Participants benefit from a regional, collaborative model that provides a tailored roadmap, guidance, and resources for pursuing best practices in implementing climate-friendly policies.

The City of Visalia is participating in the SER program as a lead pilot municipality in the Roadmap process. Kim Loeb, Natural Resource Conservation Manager at Visalia, says, “The City has been a Valley leader in energy and water efficiency and conservation programs, innovative transit systems, and land-use planning which has strengthened our downtown and focused on infill. We see the SER program as an opportunity to shed a spotlight on and strengthen a number of our climate and energy action programs.”

The tailored Roadmap process takes municipalities through the following four steps:

  1. Performance of a baseline benchmark survey of existing municipal sustainability infrastructure, processes and practices.
  2. Identification of local sustainability goal(s) for improvement in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy, transportation and land use, and social equity.
  3. Development of a “Roadmap” or action plan on how to achieve the goal(s), with special attention to addressing the needs of Disadvantaged Communities, tied to regional and national best practices through an online platform.
  4. Project implementation and monitoring to achieve and document success by utilizing program resources and adoption assistance.

Benefits to municipal participants include:

  • A $5,000 program stipend (available to first 18 agency sign-ups)
  • Access to national leaders in the local government sustainable energy field
  • Assistance with environmental and energy benchmarking related to policies, codes, standards, programs and supporting community resources
  • Tailored Roadmap action plans focusing on energy efficiency, renewable energy, transportation and land use
  • Goal setting tied to regional and national best practices
  • Policy, program and project resources and adoption assistance
  • Environmental Justice Community (EJC) needs assessment, engagement and supporting services
  • Online platform, regional and national recognition
  • Community linkages to regional green employers and workforce development partners and jobs pathways
  • Regional and national recognition

The program is led by a collective of partners that include the San Joaquin Valley Regional Policy Council, San Rafael-based non-profit Strategic Energy Innovations (SEI), Santa Clara-based Optony Inc., Colorado Energy Group, and the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), along with 2 leading public agencies: the Madera County Transportation Commission and the City of Visalia.