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Protecting Energy Efficiency Funding to Reach California’s Equity and Climate Goals


Energy efficiency programs supported through Public Purpose Program funds could be eliminated as early as 2025 through introduced state legislation. Removal of this funding is a threat to vital budget dollars for the Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN) and other program administrators. This funding directly supports programs that provide energy efficiency and electrification upgrades for local communities, connecting statewide funds to localized initiatives. Without it, local jurisdictions will not meet their climate goals, and communities will miss out on lower bills and crucial retrofits.

“Eliminating energy efficiency funds is a step backward in our efforts to make utility bills more affordable and equitable for Californians. Energy efficiency upgrades reduce costs and make homes more comfortable, healthier, and livable — benefits that go beyond quantifiable energy savings,” shares Jane Elias, the Program Administrator for BayREN. Not only do energy efficiency programs provide healthier homes but they also support and provide jobs. In fact, nearly 300,000 Californians work in energy efficiency, the largest energy sector for employment in our state ( Eliminating or reducing funding would jeopardize these jobs and hurt small businesses. 

Such a reduction or a complete cut would pose major threats to the communities that are served by BayREN. BayREN has been serving the Bay Area since 2013, benefiting residents, small businesses, and local governments. In partnership with the nine Bay Area counties, BayREN has prevented 166 million tons of carbon emissions, upgraded 72 thousand housing units, and provided $78 million in building upgrade incentives. BayREN’s programs prioritize communities that face high energy burdens, climate impacts, and are underrepresented in policy decisions. Through our programs, we aim to provide energy and greenhouse gas reductions along with resilience, health, comfort, and affordability. Over 60% of the budget is dedicated to these equity goals. These achievements and priorities demonstrate the unique and critical ways BayREN programs have served the Bay Area, underlining the importance of preserving energy efficiency funding to continue this vital and local work. 

BayREN is uniquely positioned to serve the nine-county Bay Area through ten programs. Here are some of the ways our programs have supported our local communities: 

  1. Climate Careers: Since 2019, BayREN has partnered with Rising Sun Center for Opportunity's Climate Careers Program to drive climate resilience and create green jobs for local youth. In 2023, the program trained and hired 35 youth to serve over 2,000 households with Green House Calls, providing water and energy-saving kits. Among the households served, 62% were low-income and 22% were moderate-income. Notably, 69% were renters, a group often overlooked by building upgrade programs.
  2. Bay Area Multifamily Enhancements Program (Multifamily Program): In 2020, BayREN’s Multifamily Program worked with the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC) to upgrade the water boiler, provide whole building LED retrofits, and install energy efficient appliances. The upgrades allowed TNDC to save on operating costs, and as a result, lower rent by up to 15% for some residents. Watch the full story. 
  3. Water Upgrades Save: In California, pumping, heating, and treating water accounts for 20% of electricity and 30% of non-power-plant natural gas demand. BayREN’s Water Upgrade Save program helps utilities reduce their customers’ costs as rates go up, preserve water and sewer capacity to support population growth, and increase affordability of and access to essential water services. This unique program allows for water and energy upgrades that show guaranteed bill savings through effective conservation efforts.
  4. BayREN Business: The BayREN Business program cuts Bay Area business costs with energy upgrades at no upfront expense. Oak Hill Market, a San Francisco convenience store, anticipates annual savings exceeding $5,000 from new lighting and refrigeration upgrades. Meanwhile, a small industrial facility in Redwood City is saving over $93,000 per year with new lighting and behavioral adjustments.

    BayREN Business’ pay-for-performance model ensures rebates are only paid when real savings are achieved. This protects ratepayers from unrealized savings and helps businesses permanently and effectively lower electricity costs.

BayREN’s achievements and priorities underline the importance of preserving energy efficiency funding to continue this vital and local work.

Interested in sharing your story on how energy efficiency funding supports your community? Send your quote to BayREN at