Here are a few highlights of recent accomplishments
For the 4th year running, we convened Community Choice Agency (CCA) experts and leaders from across the state for a day-long event about accelerating CCA adoption, sharing best practices, and creating more benefits for our communities (2018).
In 2018, we launched our ECO2school’s World Changers Career Pathways Scholarship grant ($1,000 per student), which engages the next generation of problem solvers and creative thinkers to apply themselves to positive solutions to the climate challenge. World Changers is a merit-based scholarship for graduating seniors who have engaged in community projects with measurable carbon dioxide emission reductions.
Collaborated with local government agencies to win funding from the California Energy Commission to increase EV adoption rates in Sonoma County (2017-2018).
In 2017, we helped pull the City of San Jose’s Community Choice Energy agency over the finish line, advocating with key stakeholders and elected officials to bring local renewable power to one million Californians. We are working to bring Community Choice Energy to other communities as well.
In 2015, we launched the Clean Power Exchange, a hub for clean energy and Community Choice news. The Exchange also hosts monthly webinars on topics relating to Community Choice.
We helped create a local power provider to buy and generate cleaner electricity than what we currently receive. Known as Sonoma Clean Power, this program provides tremendous advantages such as rate stability, stimulation of the local economy, green job creation, and energy policy that can cause an explosion of renewable energy development. We helped drive the steering committee for the feasibility study and successfully navigated adoption of the program in five cities and Sonoma County. The new power provider began operation in May 2014.
Through our vision and work, Sonoma County received a $1 million grant from the California Energy Commission for a 3 year project to design the transition of our energy infrastructure from fossil fuels to renewables. Partners on the RESCO (Renewable Energy Secure Communities) project include Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Sonoma County Water Agency, the Regional Climate Protection Authority, Local Power, and the Climate Protection Campaign. The project created a refined map of the best locations for renewable energy facilities, proving the feasibility of developing clean power at scale.
The Climate Center has been a lead partner in launching Carma real-time carpooling. Using new software, smart phone technology, social networking and financial incentives, this project links riders and drivers into carpools. We are working with the software company, Avego, to refine the software as we learn from real world experience. It is now a three-county program funded by a $1.5 million regional grant.
The Climate Center was instrumental in bringing in $2.6 million for a countywide, comprehensive energy efficiency retrofit initiative. We have been the guiding force and implementation manager for this initiative in Sonoma County, which has been used as a model for the statewide program. Energy Upgrade California offers rebates up to $4000 per household.
Designed and advanced a pilot program for water and energy conservation in the Town of Windsor, allowing people to pay for the cost of retrofits via a small charge on their water bills. This will be the first time this innovative financing mechanism has been used in California.
Operated service learning programs with high school students, using greenhouse gas reduction projects to teach leadership skills.
Educated public officials about market-based solutions that protect middle and low income people from higher energy costs and their relevance to the effective implementation of California state law AB32 (Global Warming Solutions Act). Our advocacy helped in the creation of a panel of experts appointed by the California EPA that recommended that 75% of revenue from carbon polluters is rebated back to all Californians to help with higher energy prices, which will build political support for even stronger carbon pricing.
Led a coalition to block the sale of the county landfill and a poorly structured deal with an Arizona based corporation. Subsequently we have coordinated a group of stakeholders to encourage an approach to the future operation of the landfill that will focus on operation by local businesses, incentives for increased waste recycling, and maximizing renewable energy opportunities.
Assisted Napa cities and the County with development of their Community Climate Action Plan.
Involved students throughout Sonoma County in International Climate Action Day, and sponsored a competitive grant program for projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in schools. Awarded three high schools a total of $3000.
Worked to defeat Proposition 23 that would have gutted California’s Global Warming Solutions Act.
Provided a status report and analysis by sector of Sonoma County’s greenhouse gas emissions at the annual climate protection conference.
Contracted with the Sonoma County Agriculture Preservation and Open Space District to recommend ways their agency can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.