Our County by Efren Carrillo – Apr 2014

April 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

Smart Planet fans can sign up now for Sonoma Clean Power – our new, local renewable energy program which fires up on May 1st to the first group of 20,000 residential and commercial customers.  With its debut, these first customers – mostly businesses – will begin to see the benefit of cleaner energy at slightly lower cost than PGE.  PGE will continue to maintain the power lines and infrastructure, and perform billing functions.  So far, most customers are choosing this locally run, not for profit, energy provider over the existing utility.  It makes sense to make the clean energy choice and save money too.

Sonoma Clean Power is a game changer for our community.  Currently, PGE collects $12 million dollars in Sonoma County every year to pay for energy efficiency programs, but we have little choice about what programs are implemented – or where in the state those funds are spent.  With our new locally controlled agency, we will have a say in how those dollars are spent to support local energy efficiency retrofit programs or to develop local clean energy projects. 

When can you start with Sonoma Clean Power?  Most residential customers will be eligible to participate over the next two years – as long as you live in the County area or participating cities of Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Cotati, Windsor and Sebastopol.  CleanStart offers 150% more renewable energy than PGE’s energy portfolio and beginning rates at 3% below PGE.  CleanStart will be rolled out to all eligible customers in phases over the next two years.  You will be notified in writing 60 days before service is scheduled to begin. 

Isn’t all electricity the same once it’s in the wires?  How do I know that the power that I’m paying for is clean power?  You’re right – the actual electricity that you use will be from the grid – but the source will be determined by your dollars and Sonoma Clean Power’s contract with the generator.  Sonoma Clean Power will contract for power from sources like the Geysers, increasing their power output, rather than a fossil fuel generator elsewhere.  It’s the generating sources that make the difference in our carbon footprint. 

Don’t want to wait to start supporting local, renewable energy?  EverGreen, Sonoma Clean Power’s 100% local renewable power service is available now!  Anyone in the service area who wants to help create our local clean energy economy can sign up for EverGreen today.  EverGreen costs about 3.5 cents per Kilowatt hour more than PGE, adding about 20% over the CleanStart option.  It’s easy to sign up at the SonomaCleanPower.org website – just have a recent PGE bill handy for account information and you’ll be ready to begin powering up on May 1st.

SonomaCleanPower.org is a great resource for your questions, information about public meetings, and updates as the program rolls out.

Water and the drought should be on everyone’s mind right now.  Wateroff.org has many useful ideas and easy, every day measures to reduce your water use.  The site is fun to read, and really engages you with simple tips that will add up to big water savings. 

A Drought Update Town Hall will be held on April 23rd at Finley Community Center from 6-8pm.  There will be plenty of resources available as well as valuable updates on our water supply situation. 

In addition, the Water Agency is hosting a number of informative tours of our water, energy, and sanitation systems: 

Russian River Water Supply System:  an overview of the facilities, including the fish ladder and water collectors at Wohler Bridge, which supply water to more than 600,000 people locally.  Tours:  9am-noon April 12th and May 17th

Sanitation Treatment Tours: an in-depth look at wastewater treatment – 11am-12:30pm April 19th – Russian River Sanitation District; April 12th – Sonoma Valley Sanitation District

Did you know the Water Agency plans to supply your water, a high energy use activity, carbon free by 2015?  To learn more, join the Carbon Free Water by 2015 tour of energy and sustainability projects including solar panels, ground source and pond loop geoexchange heating and cooling systems, electric vehicle charging stations and hybrid and plug in fleet cars, along with the Airport-Larkfield-Wikiup Sanitation Zone’s wastewater treatment plant – 5:30-7pm – Thursday, April 10th – 404 Aviation Blvd; Santa Rosa.


For more information, or to sign up 

for tours contact Ryan Pedrotti at 

ryanp@scwa.ca.gov or call 707-521-6209.

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