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What's Happening Now

Silicon Valley Talent Partnership launches City Year project

city year team September 12, 2019 - Silicon Valley Talent Partnership (SVTP) kicked off a new pro bono project with City Year San José, a national nonprofit helping students to succeed in school. City Year places AmeriCorps members in underserved schools to help improve student outcomes. In east San José, where 69% of students do not meet the state standard in math, City Year is helping those students develop the right academic behaviors to succeed. The pro bono team from Oracle will build a mentorship framework for AmeriCorps members designed to enhance their experience during their year of service at City Year. 

Learn more about SVTP

Wireless blueprint bridges the “digital divide”

 September 12, 2019 - Mohammad “Mo” Shakouri, Director of Joint Venture’s Community Broadband Initiative, has co-authored a publication that addresses the need for comprehensive policies that support broadband deployment in rural areas. “Rural America, Rural Economies and Rural Connectivity” provides a blueprint for connectivity solutions outside of population centers. Published by Global City Teams Challenge, the blueprint is relevant regionally as more people move away from urban centers in search of affordable housing. “Many areas in rural America continue to lag behind in broadband internet access” said Shakouri.  

Download the report

Meet Radha Sharma, Verizon Wireless

Radha Sharma September 12, 2019 - Will you be first in line for an autonomous vehicle? Once fifth-generation wireless technology is in place, self-driving cars are just one 5G-powered innovation that will shake up how we live and work. Experts say 5G is ushering in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

If Radha Sharma gets her way it may be sooner than later. Sharma is Senior Manager of Municipal Engagement with Verizon Wireless and serves on the steering committee for Joint Venture’s Wireless Communications Initiative.

Read Radha's profile

Save the Date: State of the Valley 2020

September 9, 2019 - Mark your calendar for the 16th-annual State of the Valley conference February 14, 2020 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose. Last year a capacity crowd of Silicon Valley leaders filled the convention center for reports on the economy, trends and challenges, and a changing investment landscape. Watch for details soon!

Silicon Valley Indicators

indicators home page Comprehensive information and data about the Silicon Valley ecosystem is available at

Data and charts from the Silicon Valley Index (and more) are presented on an interactive website that allows users to explore Silicon Valley trends.

Investors Spotlight

Donors invest in Joint Venture with both general support and project-specific gifts. Support from the community enables us to provide innovative solutions to issues that confront our regional economies and quality of life. Here are just a few of our many investors:

EPRI logo Ernst & Young logo city of Palo Alto logo

Joint Venture offers a variety of support and sponsorship opportunities for individuals, corporations, and public sector organizations. To inquire about becoming a member of our Investors Council, call (408) 298-9330 or visit our Become an Investor page. To see our current investors, visit our investors pages.

What is Joint Venture Silicon Valley?

Established in 1993, Joint Venture brings together Silicon Valley’s established and emerging leaders—from business, government, academia, labor and the broader community—to spotlight issues and work toward innovative solutions. In this short video see what Silicon Valley leaders have to say about the organization.

Will We Cross the ‘Climate Chasm’?

California’s leadership in climate policy and clean technology is well known. Yet achieving absolute reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions remains frighteningly difficult.

A just-released California Air Resources Board report shows statewide GHG emissions in 2012 were 1.6% lower than in 2000, and 7.5% higher than in 1990. State policy requires 80 percent reduction from 1990 levels by 2050. So we have a long way to go.

The good news is that the last few years have seen great advancements in the “smart energy” elements needed for success - renewable energy, energy efficiency, electrification of transportation and a more dynamic electric grid. Our challenge now is to knit these essential elements together, on a community-wide scale. Doing so will create new economic opportunities and dramatic reductions in GHG emissions.

While set in a different context, Geoffrey Moore’s seminal book, “Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers,” aptly describes the challenge communities face in deploying smart energy solutions on a broad commercial scale. Local policy, programs and forums must promote innovation and “early adopter” customers, as well as mechanisms for rapidly translating validated solutions to mainstream customers. Both public and private sectors have essential roles to play. This is the focus of the SEEDZ Initiative.

As always, we welcome your questions and feedback about SEEDZ.

Thanks for your interest!

Don Bray,
SEEDZ Executive Director

What's New In This Issue:

• Tesla CTO JB Straubel Headlines Silicon Valley SEEDZ Energy Storage Symposium
• Regulators Seeking Input on Storage Interconnection Issues
• New CASE-SV Program Provides Solar Assessments for Commercial Customers
• Community Renewables Programs Taking Shape in CPUC Rulemaking
• Destination Electric Vehicle Charging Center to be Built at Levi’s Stadium
• Joint Venture Climate Prosperity Program Wins Acterra Award

What's New

Tesla CTO Highlights Growing Focus on Stationary Storage

More than 160 regional energy industry leaders, government officials and other stakeholders filled the Microsoft auditorium in Mountain View on May 21 for Joint Venture’s fifth annual Silicon Valley/SEEDZ Energy Storage Symposium.

JB Straubel giving keynote at Energy Storage Symposium

The symposium engaged key stakeholders in the energy storage marketplace around the latest developments, challenges and opportunities for customer-side storage, and how Silicon Valley is advancing innovation and uptake in this critical emerging market. Featured energy storage experts came from a wide range of organizations, including Tesla, Strategen Consulting, PG&E, CAISO, CPUC, EnerVault, Primus Power, Green Charge Networks, Greensmith Energy Management Systems, CalCharge, InterContinental Hotels and McCalmont Engineering.

Tesla Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel delivered the keynote presentation. While better known as an automotive company, stationary storage now figures largely in Tesla’s growth plans. According to Straubel, "We are an energy innovation company as much as a car company." He noted that Tesla has become expert in mobile storage, and that stationary energy storage can be deployed utilizing similar architectures – and typically under simpler environmental conditions.

Tesla is planning to build a new “gigafactory” for lithium ion storage that would basically double the world’s current production capacity. Approximately 30% of this capacity would be reserved for stationary storage applications. Tesla is building 400 KWh battery packs, and has deployed five of these systems in a two MWh installation at the Fremont Tesla factory that manages ten percent of peak demand. They plan to expand this site soon, and are deploying battery packs at supercharger sites where peaky supercharger loads are mitigated by an on-site storage system.

Ultimately, Straubel believes that "we are not thinking big enough.” He sees increased density of renewables on the grid as a major driver for growth in stationary storage in the coming years, and a need for improved market mechanisms for storage-related grid services.

Watch JB Straubel’s Keynote Presentation

Regulators Seeking Input on Storage Interconnection Issues

Perhaps the timeliest topic at the Energy Storage Symposium was the discussion of distributed energy storage interconnection. Representatives from PG&E, the California Independent System Operator (ISO), and the California Public Utilities Commission conducted a spirited panel on the topic.

Interconnectin Panel

Currently there hundreds of applications for the state’s self-generation incentive program, but only a few systems have been connected to the grid. The experts lamented the “awkward” interconnection process applicable to these projects, noting that rule changes are needed to correct the “square peg – round hole” problem of energy storage interconnection. The ISO, PG&E and CPUC are working to remove these roadblocks by convening stakeholders and working to avoid duplication wherever possible.

For more information and to get involved in the CPUC’s open interconnection proceeding, click here.

New CASE-SV Program Provides Solar Assessments for Commercial Customers

The recently launched SEEDZ Commercial Acceleration of Solar Energy in Silicon Valley project (CASE-SV) aims to expand use of solar energy at commercial and industrial (C&I) facilities in Silicon Valley by bringing together leading corporations and municipalities in a community-based solar procurement program. The CASE-SV program provides free, objective support to qualifying C&I energy customers for solar site assessments, education on technical and financing options, streamlined procurement and contractual processes, and opportunities for local and national recognition.

Case bar graph

Key goals for CASE-SV over the next year are to expand use of commercial solar by at least 5 MW in Silicon Valley, and/or deploy solar at 10 commercial sites in the area. Procurement mechanisms include direct purchase or Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for onsite systems and purchase by direct access customers of solar energy produced remotely.

The CASE-SV project is a joint effort of SEEDZ and the American Solar Transformation Initiative led by Optony. To align the interests of C&I energy customers and municipal agencies in this effort, a working group of anchor C&I companies and leaders in the public sector has been organized. This group includes Kaiser Permanente, Google, and the cities of Fremont, Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Mountain View.

For more information and to engage in the program, visit

Community Renewables Programs Take Shape in CPUC Rulemaking

At the California Public Utilities Commission, details of the state’s new Green Tariff Shared Renewables (GTSR) program are taking shape in a rulemaking process now scheduled to be complete in late October. Creation of the GTSR program was mandated in the passing of California Senate Bill 43 in September of 2013.

The GTSR program requires PG&E and other investor-owned utilities (IOUs) in the state to offer all residential and commercial customers the option of purchasing 100% renewable energy in lieu of the traditional utility power mix – currently about 22 percent from renewables. Renewable energy sold by the utility under the GTSR program will come from new renewable energy facilities located in the utility’s service territory, and will be incremental to the renewable portfolio standard. Cities will receive reports from the utility on aggregate GTSR purchases within their jurisdiction. Thus, promoting customer subscription to the GTSR represents an opportunity for cities looking to reduce GHG emissions from electric power.

Along the same lines, both public and private entities will now have an opportunity to sell renewable energy into the GTSR program. Development of shared renewables generation is being considered in several of our local communities. The exact process by which the IOUs will competitively procure GTSR power is still being ironed out, as are end customer GTSR rate structures. The SEEDZ project is following this rulemaking closely. The final details in the ruling will have a significant impact on the practical viability of IOU-enabled green power and community shared renewables for the foreseeable future – both on the buy and sell side.

Destination EV Charging Center to be Built at Levi’s Stadium

The California Energy Commission has selected a public-private group that includes the SEEDZ Initiative for award of a $469,000 grant to build a destination Electric Vehicle Charging Center at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

parking lot at Levi's Stadium

SEEDZ worked with the City of Santa Clara, EPRI, ChargePoint and MJR Electric in developing the successful proposal to fund and build an innovative 48-station EV charging center in the new Tasman Parking Garage, adjacent to the new Levi’s Stadium, the Santa Clara Convention Center and Great America theme park.

Collectively, these venues will attract more than 4.5 million visits a year, making it a high-value destination site for placement of EV charging infrastructure. The EV charging center will demonstrate new approaches for energy management and charging station utilization, and will serve as an example for creating similar destination-based charging centers around the state and beyond.

Joint Venture Climate Prosperity Program Wins Acterra Award

At the Acterra Business Environmental Awards Reception on Wednesday, May 28, Joint Venture’s Climate Prosperity Program was honored to win the 2014 Acterra Business Environmental Award in the Large Environmental Project category. The Climate Prosperity Program is comprised of three related initiatives – SEEDZ, the Public Sector Climate Task Force, and the Renewable Energy Procurement Projects (R-REP, SV-REP).

Case bar graph

The judging panel was impressed with the networked nature of the Climate Prosperity Program – how collaboration between and among public and private sector participants is leveraging time, effort and results. Congratulations to all organizations involved!

Learn more about Acterra.

The SEEDZ stakeholders meet regularly under the auspices of Joint Venture’s Climate Prosperity Council, co-chaired by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Accenture Institute Executive Research Fellow Chris DiGiorgio. The council includes representatives from Google, EPRI, NetApp, Optony, PG&E, NASA Ames Research Center, Integral Group, Juniper Networks, Accenture, McCalmont Engineering, Microsoft, the Cities of Mountain View and Sunnyvale, and other leading Silicon Valley organizations.

Visit for more information.

How are we defining Smart Energy?

An integrated portfolio of new practices, standards and technologies for improved performance and sustainability in the generation, distribution and use of energy throughout the community.

For more information about SEEDZ, please contact:

Don Bray

Executive Director, SEEDZ
(408) 298-9338

Or visit us on the web at

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Joint Venture Silicon Valley provides analysis and action on issues affecting our region's economy and quality of life.

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In The News

September 12, 2019 - (The Globe and Mail) - Silicon Valley’s motor city: As big tech adds fuel to a housing crisis, poorer residents live in RVs:“I would say it’s our number one concern,” says Russell Hancock, chief executive of Joint Venture Silicon Valley. More

September 9, 2019 - (CBS Bay Area) - Critics Say Just One Woman On Forbes List Of ‘100 Most Innovative Leaders’ Sends Wrong Message: “It’s simply wrong to say that women are not innovative — that women are not achieving in the workforce and in the halls of our corporations. That would be factually incorrect and a hurtful and damaging conclusion,” said Russell Hancock, CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley.

September 4, 2019 - (Connect California) - Bay Area Exodus Fueled by Region’s Affordability Crisis:Joint Venture Silicon Valley’s latest Silicon Valley Index pointed out that 30% of tech talent aged 25-44 who moved to Santa Clara County in 2017 came from outside California, including countries like India and China. More

August 30, 2019 - (Mercury News) - Bay Area exodus: Thousands more fleeing region than arriving from other states. For Rachel Massaro, vice president and director of research with Joint Venture’s Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies, the data raises concerns about the Bay Area’s education system and untapped potential. More

August 27, 2019 - (Yahoo Finance) - Democrats Join Silicon Valley and Turn Their Backs on Hispanic Immigration, Says Immigration Lawyer: 74% of Silicon Valley employed computer and mathematical workers ages 25-44 are foreign born [citing 2016 Silicon Valley Index]. More

August 21, 2019 - (Palo Alto Online) - Palo Alto looks to business tax to fund shuttles, rail improvements: She pointed to a recent report from Joint Venture Silicon Valley showing that startups are increasingly moving to San Francisco rather than to cities in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. More

August 18, 2019 - (This Week in Asia) - How Asian immigrants are transforming San Francisco Bay Area’s food culture: ...residents of Asian heritage account for 34 per cent of the population, up from 28 per cent in 2007, according to a report released this year by Joint Venture Silicon Valley. More

July 30, 2019 - (The Silicon Valley Voice) - Bank Of America Invests Over $550K In Local Nonprofits: nearly 40 percent of Silicon Valley students ages 5-17 receive free or reduced-price school meals, according to the 2019 Joint Venture Silicon Valley Index. More

July 24, 2019 - (KPIX -TV 5) - Justice Department Launches Antitrust Probe Of Big Tech Companies: Joint Venture CEO Russell Hancock says it remains to be seen if the anti-trust investigation could change the landscape of big tech in Silicon Valley.  More

July 17, 2019 - (KPIX TV-5) - Elon Musk Developing AI-Connected Brain Implant To ‘Secure Humanity’s Future’: Joint Venture Silicon Valley CEO Russ Hancock believes if anyone can merge human beings with artificial intelligence, it would be Musk. More

July 16, 2019 - (Energy Pages) - Rise of Energy Choice Diminishes PG&E’s Silicon Valley Market Share:Silicon Valley residents have greater access to cleaner energy compared to the rest of California and the rest of the country, says The Joint Venture Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies. More