Adelanto” in Spanish means progress, advancement, moving forward. The city in Southern California that bears that name is living up to it with its dedication to energy efficiency and modernization.

The city of Adelanto, in the high desert region of San Bernardino County near Victorville and Hesperia, has partnered with Southern California Edison (SCE) to install energy-saving retrofits at City Hall, the Sheriff and Fire Departments and the municipal sewage treatment plant.

Adelanto, incorporated in 1970, has been a participant in SCE’s Energy Leader Partnership program since 2010, and the city saved about 2 million kilowatt hours in 2013 alone, enough for 194 homes’ electricity use for one year.

“We’re trying to educate the public about saving energy, so we want to lead by example, be role models,” said Belen Cordero, the city’s conservation specialist.

Cordero said Adelanto achieved Gold Level recognition from SCE for the first time in 2013. That’s the second highest of the four levels in SCE’s Energy Leader Partnership program: Valued Partner, Silver Level, Gold Level and Platinum Level. To achieve Gold Level, the city had to show a 10 percent reduction in kilowatt hours used for the year, and reach some additional benchmarks related to public outreach and demand response programs.

“We’re going for Platinum next,” said Cordero. That will require a 20 percent annual reduction in electricity consumption, plus reaching more benchmarks. “Hopefully by 2015,” she added.

The recent energy upgrades in Adelanto include high-efficiency lighting in city facilities and motion sensors that turn lights out and put computers in sleep mode when no one is in the room. Cordero said the lighting and computer retrofits at City Hall alone are saving Adelanto $1,000 a month on its electric bill. The city also has installed new pumps, known as “blowers,” in its sewage treatment plant which use less energy while pumping more sewage.

In November, SCE presented the city with a rebate check for $270,969.96 for the energy saved. Cordero said its recent energy upgrades were paid for with a previous rebate from SCE, and the plan is to use the latest rebate to upgrade its SCADA system, a computerized industrial control system that manages the city’s main automated functions. She said future plans also include upgrading the city’s minor league baseball stadium, home of the Class-A High Desert Mavericks.

In addition to the financial incentive of big rebate checks, as part of the partnership SCE supplies free education materials to city residents and supports conservation-related events. Part of the lobby at City Hall is being converted into an SCE-sponsored information center for residents and visitors.

“We are thoroughly impressed by the level of engagement and commitment to the Energy Leader Partnership that Adelanto has shown,” said Nancy Jenkins, principal manager in the Energy Efficiency Partnership Program of SCE’s Customer Programs & Services Division. “They're one of SCE's ‘small’ cities but they are very committed to the partnership and saved over 2 million kilowatt-hours this year alone.

“They've also been instrumental in generating partnership interest and excitement with their neighboring high desert cities, including Victorville, Apple Valley, Hesperia and Barstow. As a result, we expect to build a regional partnership in the high desert early next year.”

It’s an ambitious plan being led by one of San Bernardino County’s smaller cities, home to 32,226. But it seems fitting for a place that greets visitors with a big sign alongside Hwy 395 that says: “Welcome to Adelanto: The City with Unlimited Possibilities.”