By Derek Moore, Press Democrat   December 28, 2014

Sonoma Clean Power

This was the year Sonoma Clean Power powered up.

SCP Rollout bannerThe agency began the year with a modest plan to launch with a select number of homes and businesses. But then the threat of legislation that would have changed how agencies like Sonoma Clean Power enroll customers ramped things up considerably.

Sonoma Clean Power ends the year with 170,000 accounts in all, representing more than three-quarters of PG&E’s electricity customers in the county.

The agency is now the default provider for all residents and businesses in Santa Rosa, Windsor, Sonoma, Cotati, Sebastopol and the unincorporated county. Rohnert Park and Cloverdale will go online in 2015. On Dec. 15, the Petaluma City Council voted to sign on.

So far, the agency has set rates that are 4 to 5 percent below those of PG&E while purchasing power from sources that emit a third less greenhouse gases, according to Sonoma Clean Power. The agency’s basic CleanStart program draws 33 percent of its power from renewable sources — mostly geothermal and some solar — but gets 30 percent from burning natural gas. Another third comes from large hydropower plants, which the state does not consider renewable.

As for the legislation that hastened the rollout, it blew a fuse and died.