Inter-Departmental Correspondence

County Manager’s Office



November 4, 2009


November 10, 2009







Honorable Board of Supervisors


David Boesch, County Manager


San Mateo County Residential Energy Efficiency Program


Adopt a resolution:

(1) Authorizing the County Manager or his designee to execute all documents necessary for the implementation of the County's Residential Energy Assistance Program ("REAP"), including but not limited to documents authorizing the County's participation in the CaliforniaFIRST Program, a property assessed clean energy program sponsored by the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (“California Communities”), and


(2) Directing the County Manager to submit to the Board of Supervisors for ratification and acceptance a monthly report of any and all documents executed, processed, or submitted in connection with this resolution.



In July of this year, the Environmental Quality Committee asked staff to develop a residential energy assistance program (REAP) for San Mateo County based on the Berkeley and Sonoma County models. The City of Berkeley and the County of Sonoma offer homeowners loans for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that are repaid via property taxes and stay with the property until paid in full. The Committee further directed staff to take advantage of any regional or statewide efforts to develop residential energy programs.


Consistent with this direction, on October 20, 2009, the Board adopted a resolution directing the County Manager or the Manager’s designee to execute all documents necessary for San Mateo County to participate in the ABAG Regional State Energy Program grant application. The California Statewide Communities Development Authority (California Communities), presents another opportunity that the County can pursue. The California State Association of Counties and the League of Cities, are supporting the development of a statewide energy financing district pilot project called the CaliforniaFIRST program. The pilot project includes 14 counties and will be operated under contract by Renewable Funding, the firm that assisted Berkeley and Boulder, Colorado with their energy financing districts. In the Bay Area, Alameda, Santa Clara and Solano counties have indicated interest in participating in CaliforniaFIRST.


In response to the Environmental Quality Committee request, staff convened a city/county workgroup to research program options and develop consensus on the design and implementation of a countywide effort. The workgroup learned that residential energy assistance programs are most likely to succeed if they include financing and program implementation components. After a number of informational sessions, the workgroup recommended that the county and the cities participate in the CaliforniaFIRST pilot project for the financing component of the residential energy efficiency program. The workgroup felt a statewide financing district would share both the risk and the costs of developing a financing component for the program and also provide the benefits of statewide collaboration.


Participation in the CaliforniaFIRST program was discussed and approved by the Environmental Quality Committee at their October 6, 2009 meeting.



There are currently many state and federal funding opportunities to support residential energy efficiency programs. Most of the grant programs place a premium on collaboration. However, it is challenging to develop collaborative efforts within the tight timeframes set for proposal submissions. Therefore, granting the County Manager the flexibility to commit to county participation in proposals and activities related to the development, funding and implementation of a countywide residential energy efficiency program will enable San Mateo County to be respond to opportunities as they arise.


The County has an opportunity to join thirteen of the fourteen participating counties in a funding request to the State Energy Program (SEP). The SEP program has $93 million for energy efficiency projects. The CaliforniaFIRST proposal requests funds for an interest rate buy-down, initial legal and pilot project start-up costs, and funds for administration and marketing. The participating counties are currently working out the details of the proposal, which is due to the state on November 30, 2009.


Staff will provide ongoing updates on all aspects of the Residential Energy Efficiency Program, including the CaliforniaFIRST and other funding requests, to the Environmental Quality Committee and to your Board.


The San Mateo County REAP program promotes the vision of an environmentally conscious community by helping county residents reduce their residential energy use.



There is no general fund cost associated with this action. A total of $500,000 has been set aside from the County Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) award to support any County costs associated with REAP.