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Sonoma’s Path to Carbon Free Electricity

Posted on December 2, 2020


With growing concern over the climate crisis, the Sonoma City Council unanimously passed a Climate Emergency Resolution at its November 2nd meeting. A key element of the resolution is to reduce city-wide greenhouse gas emissions to net zero no later than 2030.

Transportation is by far the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 72% of the City’s total emissions. The second largest source is buildings.

Since 1990, the City’s building-related greenhouse gases have decreased by 27%, thanks to a variety of energy-efficient technologies including LED lighting, smart thermostats, upgraded appliances, and improved insulation and building materials. However, one of the most significant actions the City took to reduce greenhouse gases was making the switch to cleaner electricity.

Back in May, the City Council approved several climate and sustainability initiatives to be implemented throughout the community. One of the efforts is to increase the number of residential and commercial customers enrolled in our local power provider, Sonoma Clean Power. This not-for-profit public agency has been serving customers in Sonoma County since 2014, and provides residents, businesses, and municipalities in its service territory a choice beyond the private investor-owned utility, PG&E.

Sonoma Clean Power is integral to meeting Sonoma’s net zero emissions goal because it provides power from cleaner and more renewable generating sources with fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

New electricity customers in Sonoma are automatically enrolled in the CleanStart service, which is 50% renewable (including solar, wind, and geothermal power) and 91% carbon-free. For those who want to take their commitment to climate action even further, Sonoma Clean Power offers its EverGreen service which is 100% renewable and locally generated. By tapping into local solar by day and local geothermal by night, this entirely renewable service doesn’t need to be backed up by polluting energy sources that emit carbon dioxide, such as natural gas.

Currently, nearly 87% of customers in Sonoma have stayed with Sonoma Clean Power, making the City 8th among the County’s jurisdictions in participation. However, Sonoma has the 4th most residents and businesses participating in EverGreen, and was the first City in the County to enroll its municipal operations in the EverGreen service as well.

In addition to helping the City meet its carbon reduction goal by supporting cleaner electricity, customers of Sonoma Clean Power are also eligible for a variety of energy-saving and financial incentive programs to further reduce their electricity usage. Products that customers can purchase with a discount from Sonoma Clean Power include smart thermostats, energy efficient heat pump water heaters, and electric vehicle charging stations (which customers can actually get for free!). Once these devices are installed, customers can then connect them to Sonoma Clean Power’s demand response program, GridSavvy, and receive a $5 monthly bill credit.

Early next year, Sonoma Clean Power will be opening their Advanced Energy Center in downtown Santa Rosa where customers will have the opportunity to view the newest clean energy technologies on the market, attend free educational classes and events, and explore an even larger selection of discounted energy-efficient products for their homes and businesses.

It will take a community-wide effort to combat the climate crisis. Reducing the amount of electricity you consume and ensuring that the electricity you do use comes from cleaner generating sources will make a huge difference in helping the City meet its commitment to net zero emissions by 2030.

To find out whether you are a current customer, or if you would like to upgrade to EverGreen, you can contact Sonoma Clean Power by calling 1 (855) 202-2139, emailing info@sonomacleanpower.org, or visiting sonomacleanpower.org.

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Explore the City’s Sustainability webpages to learn more about the actions and accomplishments by the City and Community of Sonoma in combating climate change and how you can participate to increase your own climate actions and sustainability efforts at www.sonomacity.org/sustainability.

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