A coalition of Sonoma County cities
join together for the benefit of all.
In April the Board of the Sonoma County Water Agency is slated to take the next step toward Sonoma Clean Power. If the Board gives the nod, eight of Sonoma County’s nine cities will consider joining Sonoma Clean Power. Healdsburg is not involved because it already has its own publicly-owned electricity system. The County will also evaluate the program for unincorporated areas.
The Biggest Change You’ll Never Notice
Sonoma Clean Power is a local program that buys and generates electricity for residents and businesses. It’s referred to as the biggest change you’ll never notice because customers needn’t do anything to participate, and nothing changes in the way electricity is delivered to participating residents and businesses. Those who don’t want to participate may opt out for free when the program launches and thereafter for a nominal fee - probably around five dollars.
Why Sonoma Clean Power?
When most of us flip the light switch we don’t think about where the electricity comes from that turns on the light. We don’t see any exhaust coming from the clock radio at our bedsides or think about risk of catastrophic environmental damage when we charge our cell phones. But collectively these little gadgets, all those light bulbs and everything else that runs on electrical power have a huge impact. They are responsible our continued fossil fuel dependency including controversial fracking, perilous nuclear energy, and environmentally destructive large river dams generating hydropower. Sonoma Clean Power offers the most rapid, economic way for communities to break away from these dirty power sources. The Climate Protection Campaign determined that Sonoma Clean Power is the best approach for reducing Sonoma County’s greenhouse gas emissions and continuing this community’s national climate protection leadership.
Sonoma Clean Power can develop more local clean power with incentives like renewable power payments that are of investment quality. This means that if you install solar panels that generate more electricity than you can use, Sonoma Clean Power will pay you a guaranteed rate for a guaranteed period for the surplus power you feed into the grid.
When it starts, Sonoma Clean Power will integrate energy efficiency and planning for new local clean power in its program in addition to purchasing existing clean electricity on the power market. Award winning Marin Clean Energy, the state’s first program of this kind, offers a standard program mix that is 50 percent renewables and a “Deep Green” product that is 100 percent certified renewable energy. Purchasing existing clean power helps deflate the fossil/nuclear market and puts upward pressure on the renewables market. Further proof that this approach has promise is the fact that when Marin Clean Energy issued a request for 40 megawatts of solar power, clean power developers responded with 600 megawatts, demonstrating the latent potential for new clean power development.
If we tap Sonoma County’s cornucopia of solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and small hydropower resources, we will boost the local economy and create jobs. We’ll also open up our electricity market to competition and consumer choice. Right now, unless you can afford your own solar photovoltaic system or backyard wind turbine, you have no choice about your electricity. Sonoma Clean Power offers that choice for the first time since deregulation ended in 2001.
Putting an End to Business as Usual
Business as usual leads to an unsustainable future, far from the science-based greenhouse gas emission reductions target the County and all nine cities set in 2005.
This community has a history of taking control of its energy destiny. Decades ago a nuclear power plant was proposed to be built at Bodega Head smack on top of the San Andreas Fault. The community rose up and by 1964 forced the abandonment of the plant. The only physical reminder of this possible debacle is the foundation bore hole known aptly as hole in the head.
The Power to Choose
Today our community is rising up again. This time instead of protesting we’re promoting. We want Sonoma County to have a safe, sustainable energy future. We want to end our dependence on corporate-controlled, environmentally dangerous and damaging technologies and switch to locally-controlled clean energy sources. Sonoma Clean Power gives us the power to choose.
To receive updates and learn how you can help, please join the Climate Protection Campaign’s e-news list – www.climateprotection.org. You can also like us at Sonoma Clean Power’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/sonomacleanpower.
Woody Hastings is the Renewable Energy Implementation Manager at the Climate Protection Campaign and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org