CalPERS to Power 50 Percent of its Electricity Use Through SMUD's SolarShares Program
August 8, 2017
Communications & Stakeholder Relations
Brad W. Pacheco, Deputy Executive Officer
Wayne Davis, Chief, Office of Public Affairs
Contact: Deb Reyman, Information Officer
SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Public Employees' Retirement System and SMUD today announced an agreement to power 50 percent of CalPERS' electricity use with SMUD's Large Commercial SolarShares® program. CalPERS becomes the first California state agency to participate in this program, which allows large customers in the Sacramento region to purchase solar energy directly from SMUD.
The agreement will provide CalPERS solar electricity at a guaranteed fixed price for 20 years, which is projected to save an estimated $3.7 million in energy costs over the term of the agreement.
Under the agreement, CalPERS is guaranteed to receive approximately 8.78 gigawatt-hours of electricity on an annual basis — about 50 percent of its electricity requirements — from local and regional solar energy resources with no decrease in energy performance.
The pension fund will also not have to invest in the resources required to develop, construct, and maintain a project of this type on its own. The agreement will help SMUD demonstrate the greenhouse gas reduction opportunities and cost-effectiveness of the Large Commercial SolarShares program with other commercial and industrial customers.
"CalPERS has long been a leader in energy and resource conservation, and we're proud to use clean solar energy to power our facilities," said Doug Hoffner, CalPERS deputy executive officer for Operations & Technology. "Using solar to supply half of our electricity needs not only saves us money and reduces our environmental footprint, it supports our commitment to make a positive difference in the environment through our sustainability programs."
CalPERS' ongoing conservation efforts have far exceeded the standards mandated by the state. Last year, the pension fund reduced greenhouse gas emissions 75 percent, or 4,855 metric tons, from a 2010 baseline target, surpassing the state-required goal for a 20 percent reduction by 2020. Energy use per square foot decreased 34 percent compared to a 2003 baseline, exceeding the state's target for a 20 percent decrease.
In 2016, CalPERS used 25 percent less water compared to the 2010 baseline, beating by four years the state mandate for a 20 percent reduction. CalPERS also collects organic food waste from its headquarters campus, which is then used to produce alternative fuels that help power the city of Sacramento’s fleet vehicles.
CalPERS' Infrastructure program purchased a 25 percent ownership stake in a California solar power generation company in 2016, providing the opportunity to invest both in California and in clean, renewable energy.
"We're very excited that CalPERS has chosen SMUD as its trusted energy advisor and solar power partner," said Nicole Howard, SMUD's chief customer officer. "We're confident that we'll help them realize a very positive return on their investment — both in simple financial terms and in terms of the impact it will have on regional air quality and greenhouse gas emission reduction."
For more than eight decades, CalPERS has built retirement and health security for state, school, and public agency members who invest their lifework in public service. Our pension fund serves more than 1.8 million members in the CalPERS retirement system and administers benefits for 1.4 million members and their families in our health program. CalPERS' total fund market value currently stands at approximately $332 billion. For more information, visit www.calpers.ca.gov.
As the nation's sixth-largest community-owned electric service provider, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity for about 70 years to Sacramento County and small adjoining portions of Placer and Yolo Counties. SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies, and for its sustainable solutions for a healthier environment. SMUD's power mix is about 50 percent non-carbon emitting. For more information, visit smud.org.