A Glimpse into the BayREN Business Plan

BayREN’s “North Star” is helping in the effort to achieve California’s ambitious energy and climate goals through implementing regional-scale energy and water programs in a territory that includes 20% of the state’s population. In furtherance thereof and as recently directed by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), BayREN is drafting a 2024-2031 Business Plan (the Plan) which provides an eight-year vision with clear goals, strategies, and outcomes to increase access to energy efficiency services for Bay Area residents, businesses, local governments, and building professionals (home contractors, inspectors, or assessors). The Plan seeks to increase the impact of our program portfolio that has, since 2013, resulted in 156 million tons of carbon avoided, and provided $55.4 million in incentives to renters and property owners, and upgraded over 53,000 housing units with energy efficiency improvements. The programs have also generated jobs and put money back in the communities within our region.

In directing the filing of new Business Plans, the CPUC also ordered the program administrators to segment their portfolios, based on the primary program purpose, into one of three segments:

Market Support: Programs with a primary objective of supporting the long-term success of the energy efficiency market by educating customers, training contractors, building partnerships, or moving beneficial technologies towards greater cost-effectiveness.

Equity: Programs with a primary purpose of providing energy efficiency to hard-to-reach or underserved customers and disadvantaged communities in advancement of the Commission’s Environmental and Social Justice (ESJ) Action Plan; Improving access to energy efficiency for ESJ communities, as defined in the ESJ Action Plan, may provide corollary benefits such as increased comfort and safety, improved indoor air quality, and more affordable utility bills.

Resource Acquisition: Programs with a primary purpose of, and a short-term ability to, deliver cost-effective avoided cost benefits to the electricity and natural gas systems.

By requiring portfolio segmentation, the CPUC acknowledges that energy efficiency programs offer a multitude of benefits – some are non-energy – but all are central to a bright climate future. For example, BayREN’s Single Family program provides rebates for creating more energy efficient homes. Increasingly, the program is focused on reaching households where English is not spoken a primary language. Jeffery Liang, the program lead shares, “we are attempting to reach more non-English speakers in our efforts to ensure that the program can be an effective and useful resource for all Bay Area residents.” Jeffery has been running the program for a little over a year and is working closely with the nine counties to develop the Plan, and later bring his vision to life.

All programs, regardless of how they are segmented within the Plan, will be consistent with BayREN’s definition of equity: To BayREN, equity means addressing systemic barriers to energy efficiency and electrification, especially for equity priority communities and those who disproportionately face energy burdens, climate impacts, and are underrepresented in policy and decision-making. This October, BayREN formally adopted the 2025 Strategic Plan which establishes an Equity Framework to develop, embed, and measure the organization’s equity goals. The Strategic Plan explores how the organization’s programs will continue evolving to address programmatic inequities and barriers to energy services in order to create opportunities, remove barriers, and fill policy gaps to transform the market and serve targeted audiences. Annual and semi-annual milestones over the next four years will guide successor factors and strategies that advance BayREN’s mission and goals and distinguish it from other program administrators. The planning process took place from February to September 2021 and was led alongside the development of the Business Plan, allowing the organization to take a holistic view of future goals.

Do you have any input on the program gaps or equity considerations BayREN should address? Share your thoughts on our virtual wall or interact with opinions shared by others.

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