Bay Area Energy Atlas Now Available
In late October, BayREN debuted its new Bay Area Energy Atlas, a counterpart to the existing Energy Atlas in operation at UCLA for the past several years. This tool, developed for BayREN by the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA, offers a resource to assist local governments with climate action planning and to delve into how energy is being used in their jurisdictions.
The Atlas aggregates annual PG&E electricity and natural gas data from the nine Bay Area counties that make up BayREN from both residential and non-residential accounts. Covering the years 2013-2017, the database links this energy consumption spatially to socio-demographic data and building characteristics organized by these building use categories:
Other (agricultural, vacant areas, etc)
TCU (transportation, communications, & utility infrastructures)
Users can search according to four different geographic scales: counties; cities; zip codes; and Census tracts.
This publicly available dataset is aggregated in order to protect customer privacy following CPUC guidelines. To develop this public facing website, researchers collected, processed, and analyzed energy and related data from a variety of sources.
The BayREN Energy Atlas features interactive energy maps, comparative graphs, and tabular views of community energy profile data. The aggregated information presented on this public front-end website is made possible through a separate, confidential, back-end geospatial relational database.
The Southern California Energy Atlas, created first for the City of Los Angeles in 2013, has expanded in subsequent years to encompass Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura and Imperial counties.
While there are some distinctions between the two tools, they are robust data engines that furnish rich information for county or city staff policy teams that want to delve into how their jurisdictions are using energy. In many cases, policymakers will explore the data in order to refine their thinking on specific energy targets and develop new programs, such as incentive programs to upgrade appliances or educational programs to raise awareness. In other cases, policymakers have used the tool to help develop complete climate action plans (CAPs). In addition to local government users, stakeholders such as community advocates, academic researchers, and community choice energy providers are finding the Energy Atlas a valuable tool.
“The Energy Atlas is an evolving resource that uses new methods to bring more transparency to how energy is being used in order to inform more effective policy development,” says Hannah Gustafson, Research and Data Analyst, California Center for Sustainable Communities. “It will continue to evolve based on user feedback, and more effective data collection methods.”
“We’re very excited to offer this tool,” notes Jenny Berg, BayREN Program Manager. “We encourage all stakeholders to explore the tool and provide feedback.”
Interested individuals can access the Bay Area Energy Atlas here. The Southern California version continues to be available here.
BayREN also provides an excellent training video that offers a detailed view of the tool, its development methodology and how to tips, as well as a look at how the City of Thousand Oaks utilized the Southern California Energy Atlas.