Sonoma Clean Power is a local program that buys and generates electricity for residents and businesses. PG&E continues to provide transmission, distribution, billing, and maintenance. A local board oversees professional energy service providers that purchase power and offer innovative programs for local power needs.
It will provide a choice to consumers where currently there is only a monopoly. Sonoma Clean Power will start at 33 percent renewable energy — compared to 20 percent from PG&E — and will transition to local sources of energy over time.
Benefits of Local Control
We are in the midst of an energy revolution. We no longer need to rely on power companies with a one size fits all approach approved by distant regulators. Communities can set their own energy priorities and design programs that work locally.
Local clean power can be cost competitive by spreading out equipment costs over time and layering in large amounts of energy efficiency. Centralized power plants and long distance power lines are no longer the cheapest way to provide electricity.
Monopoly utilities like PG&E cannot innovate at the pace needed. They are too regulated and too invested in outdated infrastructure. Community Choice is a versatile platform that favors the rapid growth of smart buildings and local micro-grid development.
Residents and businesses spend billions of dollars on electricity, and that money largely leaves their communities. This money can be steadily redirected toward local programs that keep energy dollars in the community.
Key steps in the process include:
- A feasibility study in 2011 concluded that a local program would be viable.
- In December 2012 the Water Agency and the County Board of Supervisors created a joint powers authority to oversee the program.
- In April 2013, the board of the Sonoma Clean Power Authority voted to take all steps necessary to launch a program, including finalizing the Implementation Plan to submit to the state, negotiating contracts for power supply, finalizing a loan for start-up funds, and encouraging cities to join.
- In spring and summer 2013, five cities voted to participate in the initial rollout of the program next year — Santa Rosa, Windsor, Sebastopol, Sonoma, and Cotati.
Business opportunities of Sonoma Clean Power were the featured topic in a “Clean Power Hour” session featuring Supervisor Efren Carrillo and a panel of local business leaders. The panel was moderated by CPC’s Renewable Energy Implementation Manager Woody Hastings at the Sustainable Enterprise Conference on Friday, April 26 at Sonoma Mountain Village in Rohnert Park.
For information about other upcoming meetings and events, visit the Sonoma Clean Power Calendar.
For even more background, here is a historical timeline of the development of community choice energy and Sonoma Clean Power: Sonoma Clean Power Timeline
Sonoma Clean Power Feasibility Study
Sonoma Clean Power Residential Survey
Sonoma Clean Power Commercial Survey
Other Community Choice Aggregation Programs:
- Marin Energy Authority – First Community Choice Aggregation in California
- Cape Light Compact – In Massachusetts, has been in operation since 1997
- NOPEC – In Ohio, has been in operation since the late 1990s
Slides presented by Marin Supervisor Charles McGlashan [12.1mb], February 2011.
Videos of Feb. 2, 2011 McGlashan presentation.
North Bay Business Journal 4-18-13 – Sonoma Clean Power rate estimates become public
Press Democrat, April 9, 2013 – Eleven Bidders Compete to Provide Power to Sonoma County
Press Democrat, December 4, 2012: Sonoma County Board Votes to Create Power Agency
Press release on Sonoma Clean Power, December 2012, issued when the Sonoma Clean Power Authority was formed. Includes position statements from the Sonoma County Alliance and the North Coast Builders Exchange.
Sonoma County Gazette, April 12, 2012 – County Advances Proposal for Sonoma Clean Power
Press Democrat, April 11, 2012 – Sonoma County Takes Another Step Toward Public Power Agency
Press Democrat, December 19, 2011 – Executive: PG&E Won’t Interfere with Sonoma County Power Plan
Press Democrat, October 18th, 2011 – Sonoma County Pushes Forward with Power Agency Studies
Sonoma Clean Power on the North Bay Report on KRCB in July of 2011 – NPR_07.12.11_SonomaCleanEnergy
North Bay Bohemian, May 25, 2011 Voltage & Violets: How a Public Power Agency in Sonoma County could revolutionize the Grid
Press Democrat, March 22, 2011, Sonoma County May Launch Public Power Agency