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Sonoma Clean Power vs. PG&E’s “Green Option” Program


April 10, 2012, the Sonoma County Water Agency Board voted unanimously to continue its evaluation of Sonoma Clean Power. Since 2011 the Sonoma County Water Agency has studied the feasibility and desirability of implementing Sonoma Clean Power, a local program that will buy and generate electricity for businesses and residents to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions.

April 24, 2012, PG&E announced it had asked permission of the California Public Utilities Commission to offer its electric ratepayers a voluntary new program to support 100 percent renewable energy. PG&E expects that residential customers who voluntarily opt in to the program will pay on average about $6.00 more per month.

What is PG&E’s Green Option?
Their proposed program will enable ratepayers to support clean energy through the purchase of renewable energy certificates, or credits (RECs).

What are Renewable Energy Credits?
RECs are credits that can be purchased to match the portion of each participating electric ratepayer’s energy that is not already qualified as certified renewable energy.

How is Sonoma Clean Power different from the PG&E “Green Option?”
The “Green Option” does not do anything for Sonoma County specifically. Sonoma Clean Power will be a local not-for-profit public agency dedicated to offering programs that help Sonoma County residents and businesses.

Are there any other differences between Sonoma Clean Power and the “Green Option?”
There is nothing about the “Green Option” that will help Sonoma County achieve its greenhouse gas emission reductions target. Sonoma Clean Power will focus on accelerating new local generation of renewable power like geothermal and solar to help us achieve our reduction target.

Of the two, which will create more new clean power sources and jobs?
Sonoma Clean Power. The plan for Sonoma Clean Power is to develop new clean energy sources and expand energy efficiency efforts. This translates into jobs in Sonoma County.

Will Sonoma Clean Power use nuclear power?
Sonoma Clean Power will not include any nuclear power or coal in its mix and will aim to minimize the percentage of natural gas to generate electricity. The “Green Option” does not include a plan to phase out nuclear and fossil fuel use by PG&E.

Which is better… Sonoma Clean Power or PG&E’s “Green Option?”
Sonoma Clean Power is better because it will create more new clean power and the source of power will be closer to where the energy is used. If the “Green Option” results in the development of new renewable energy facilities, it will almost certainly be large, distant, utility-scale solar and wind power located in the fragile desert ecosystem. This kind of development requires long distance transmission lines that further degrade the natural environment.