What could Pacific Gas & Electric, the giant utility that provides electricity and natural gas to Californians from Bakersfield to just south of the Oregon border, possibly have in common with theCalifornia Sustainable Winegrowing Program?
Actually, quite a lot.
In the fall of 2005, PG&E and the CSWP initiated an alliance that led to the development of workshops and educational materials focused on energy conservation and efficiency for California wineries and vineyards.
Winery representatives from up and down the state attended the seminars, learning about the “best practices” in those areas. PG&E rebates and incentives also were discussed, as were a variety of PG&E online resources and tools to help reduce energy use and, ultimately, improve the sustainability of winery operations.
To give you an idea of the depth and breadth of the program, here are just a few of the topics that have been covered:
- Energy evaluation and planning.
- Energy efficiency.
- Green building design.
- Renewable energy.
- Climate protection through reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from energy use.
All indications are that the collaboration between CSWA and PG&E has been effective. Since 2005, the two organizations have held more than 50 energy management workshops attended by more than 1,400 wine industry members from PG&E’s service area.
During this period, PG&E recorded an increase in the number of annual energy-efficiency projects at California wineries and vineyards, where more than 200,000 megawatt hours of electricity and 4,000 therms of natural gas have been saved.
This has resulted in eliminating more than 76,990 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s the equivalent of removing 12,918 cars from the road for one year.
With so many wineries calling California home, the efforts they make both in energy efficiency and land sustainability can make a huge difference in the overall environment…and future…of the state. It’s good to see so many winery owners and grape growers stepping up in that regard.